I guess if I had to be an activist for anything it would be for the return of pubic hair. That would of course require me to live in a kind of moral vacuum where it would be okay for me to proclaim that I care about my pubes as much, or more than, I purport to care about, I don’t know, clubbing baby seals or child soldiers of the Sudan. In private, however, I will continue to give my bush more attention than such international causes.
I mean, have you ever seen Debbie Does Dallas? Have you ever read The Witches of Eastwick? What on earth could have caused such a swift change in the culture of crotch hair over the last twenty years? Back when I was kid everyone had lots of pubic hair. But then something happened in the 90s. This change coincided with my first forays into heavy petting and I distinctly remember the first time I was getting ready to go out and suddenly feeling like, if I wanted to be ready to get some ass, I should probably not only shave my legs but also most of my bush. Just as I and my peers were reaching sexual maturity (and legal adulthood I like totally pinky-swear) we had the rug pulled out from under us, pun 110% intended. But where did I get the idea that this was something I needed to do? Of course, I’d always maintained my bikini line, you know, for those times when I was ACTUALLY WEARING A BIKINI. Wherefore the sudden compulsion to reduce my glossy woman’s hedgerow to a mere wisp of decorative edging? (Don’t even get me started on the term “landing strip”. Okay you got me started. It’s so Peter-Griffin-in-that-episode-Family-Guy-where-he-drives-the-dick-shaped-sports-car-in-and-out-of-the-tunnel-repeatedly. Ooh, Sheldon, land your big man plane on my runway. Do me, I’m a receptacle. You want to call it a landing strip? Fine. Fine. And we’ll call your dick “Delta Flight 182” and sex “a game of airplane”. WHO’S ON TOP AND WHO’S ON BOTTOM NOW.) Anyway. It’s not as if my girlfriends were saying to me, Oh, you know you’re supposed to look like a Chinese Crested Hairless down there now, right? That’s not how these things work. It’s also not like my girlfriends in high school said, Oh, you know you’re supposed to be wearing Mudd Jeans now, right? and in college, Oh, you know you’re supposed to be wearing 7 For All Mankind jeans now, right? No. We just knew. But how?
I’m assuming it must have started with some weird cultural shift in the Magical Land of Pornography. Someone needs to do a survey of early 90s porn and time-line the general decline in the appearance of pubic hair on women “actresses”. I’m sure it will be difficult to find a volunteer male anthropologist for the job. I suspect it also had something to do with Baywatch and the red swimsuits, the cut of which I like to call “Front Thong”, and I feel strongly that Pamela Anderson is to bare vagina as Gaetan Dugas is to AIDS. I think you can also claim that going bare didn’t catch on among the laity until the late 90s, and I say this as someone who has watched every, yes every, episode of Sex and the City, and it’s not until season three that Carrie gets a Brazilian and that’s only accidentally and she’s totally shocked by it. And finally I suspect that it was such cultural cattle prods as Sex and the City (which we watched religiously), and Cosmo magazine (which we read religiously), that made us subliminally convinced that we all needed to make our vaginas look like foreheads. Sexy foreheads. My mom is also convinced that Sex and the City made me and all my friends smokers but I don’t know what she’s talking about. Just because I’m a single twentysomething writing about vaginas on my laptop at my desk in front of my window JESUS GOD I WANT A CIGARETTE.
In any case, someone, somewhere, at some point– and, not to sound like Jesse Spano, it was undoubtedly a man– decided that on film the vagina looks sexier with less and less, and ultimately without, hair. I think the important part of that sentence is “on film”; it’s absolutely mystifying how a representation of reality can bend reality toward itself. And not only was this innovator a man, he was probably also a pederast. It is very strange that women who are sexually active in America are basically culturally required, in some twisted version of the coming-of-age-tribal ritual, to restore their vaginas to their childhood appearance.
Of course, for most women not of my generation (excluding the cast members of the various Real Housewives franchises), this is not an issue. And I probably have lots of friends who don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about and feel no obligation whatsoever to do any kind of landscaping down there. Ladies, I laud you for your imperviousness, your chastity, or your simply not giving a fuck, whatever it is that allows you to live a life unencumbered by $60 hot waxes that last two weeks, tops. And now that I’ve spent all this time writing about the cultural implications of my pubes and their continual holocaust, I realize I want to bring back the full bush for one reason and one reason only. Not because I want to fight back against misogynistic oppression, or champion feminism, or bankrupt local businessladies and their eucalyptus-smelling day spas. No. It’s because pubic hair maintenance is a huge, huge pain in my crotch. And if men across America are putting down their razors and growing out their hipster beards, then dammit, so am I.