The term "manscaping" is one that I thought had fully entered our cultural lexicon. But the other day, as I was helping Mckenzie with labeling, packing, stamping, sealing and shipping (think sweatshop, not assembly line) a bunch of our products for the big holiday rush, we got to talking.
Even she wasn't exactly sure what it meant, so I thought we'd better explore the term, and more importantly the practice, right here on the Grooming Blog.
We landscape to beautify natural environments, shaping and rearranging with our human hands that which occurs naturally. The result is manicured lawns, symmetrical gardens and otherwise ordered expanses that had previously grown, unchecked, in chaos. How very civilized.
It's the same story for manscaping. Today's man can be viewed through the same lens. Is it order or chaos that reigns over your corporeal aesthetic?
Back hair grows in a variety of different patterns. The man pictured below displays what I like to call a God-Given Fur Vest or The Cape of No Hope. This is a look that most will agree is not in keeping with modern tastes.
You know I never give arbitrary Do's and Don't's like some grooming sites feel they should. Instead I prefer to discuss matters, allowing you to reach your own decisions and form your own opinions. But I ask you, beyond bearish fetishism what purpose could this serve him in today's near over-groomed landscape?
There are devices that aid in the removal of unwanted back hair, if you regard this as a private experience you'd like to do alone. Personally, every time I have removed my own back hair, I have employed the help of a trusted friend.
Now, I do not have The Vest on my back. My back hair grows in more Geographic Patterns. There are two lung-shaped islands of hair on my back that I like to think of as Superficial Dorsal Lung-Warmers. I would show you a picture, but I've recently used a chemical depilatory cream (with the help of a friend) to remove the unwanted fuzz. Sometimes I have a friend shave them off. Sometimes I let them grow in. They're on my back after all: out of sight, out of mind.
Here's where things can get a little hairy. Friend to the blog and New York City Appearance Enhancement Expert Aiyani Mersai recalls her early days as an aesthetician in California where many men (masochists both gay & straight) would seek her out to have their junk waxed. You heard me. A good old-fashioned, rip'em-out-by-the-roots job.
"I did lots of guys in those days. We use a thicker wax for sensitive areas that does not adhere to the skin. I would have the men help me by pulling the skin taut themselves while I applied the wax. When they would 'get excited,' which is an inevitable physiological response to the prodding wax stick, I would turn around and walk away until things...uh, returned to normal"
She also recommends trimming with scissors around the twig & berries and relegating the waxing strictly to the appendages.
"If you're relatively hairy you'd want to avoid waxing around the pubic area unless you're waxing the legs as well, since there often is no distinction between the leg hair and pubic hair. And no one wants some weird blank triangle on an otherwise hairy body."
Waxing is an extreme way of removing hair that comes down to the truly dedicated. As for scissor-trimming the pubes, I never go further than that, besides occasionally (carefully) shaving the scrotum for a fresh perspective and to allow a gentle breeze in during the hot summer months.
((And by the way, some say that shorter pubic hair that is uniform in length creates a visual illusion known as The Optical Extra Inch. Just sayin'.))
Speaking of extreme manscaping, NYC-area life coach and author Trent Blanchard took shaving to a new level when he decided to have the line of his beard drawn in permanently via laser hair removal.
"It was one of the best investments I've made as I always have some degree of facial hair and I would always have to clean up the neck line to look professional for work. I always hated shaving with a razor blade because I constantly got ingrown hairs and also cause I am lazy---I only use a clipper to groom now."
Deciding to permanently remove hair is a big decision for some people, and depending on your body hair, can be a long, expensive process. Trent's took about year and a half and 15 laser sessions.But as for its benefits?
"I don't have to shave my neck anymore---Hallelujah!---except for once or twice a month for the random grey hairs that pop up, as the lasers did not kill them. Apparently the laser doesn't work on gray hair. So if you are going to do this, do it before you turn gray because it won't work."
The choices you make to groom your face and body can help you communicate without ever saying a word. Make sure your sending the right messages.
Do yourself justice.
Till next week...