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Is Manscaping Manly?

Shirtless male model rippedBack in 1972, Cosmopolitan magazine published a centerfold of Burt Reynolds in his birthday suit stretched out on a bearskin rug. The photo was no less than a media sensation and was considered groundbreaking for the female sexual revolution. After all, ladies have been strutting their naked selves for the entertainment of men for years. At last we gals had the favor returned (although, to be honest, Burt’s strategically draped arm hid the essential bit). That one photo skyrocketed Burt Reynolds’ career from actor to sex star. In fact, the picture was so popular that it spurred the launch of Playgirl. But isn’t it interesting how tastes change? If that photo were published today, instead of feeling euphoric over the progress in gender equality, I’d take one look at Burt’s gorilla chest and think: that dude’s in need of some serious manscaping.

If you do a Google images search on “sexy men” (go ahead, I’ll wait), you’re not going to get much in the way of body hair. What you are going to get are pictures similar to Mr. Ripped Abs above. When it comes to today’s hotties, the ladies like ’em smooth. We can deal with a bit of facial hair – five o’clock shadow’s pretty sexy – but plush mats of chest fur resembling a chia pet are a total turn-off. As writer Ryan McKee states on the website Ask Men, “chest hair should never be so thick that it appears a guy’s T-shirt is levitating off his chest.” Right on, Ryan.

The same rule-of-thumb holds true for excessive leg hair. Some, sure, unless you’re dating a swimmer in which case you can expect his thighs to be smoother than yours. What we don’t want is for men’s legs to look like they’re covered in carpet. As for other hirsute habits, under arm hair should be nicely trimmed. No visible tufts, please. Back hair, nose hair, ear hair let’s not even think about. But what about . . . down there? Should the lawn be trimmed around the tree?

In the porn industry men are always shaved to the nines. Not a stitch to be found below the face. But here’s the thing: for a guy to be that hairless requires a lot of upkeep. Is all that manscaping manly? Do we want our guys to be higher maintenance than we are?

Consider this scenario. You’re getting ready for a night on the town. You’ve spent the better part of the past hour making sure your make-up looks great and your hair behaves. You’ve got your outfit picked out and are nearly finished. Suddenly your guy scoots you aside and says he’s gotta jump in the shower because he needs to shave his balls. Say what?! Talk about being doused with a cold bucket of reality. Is this information that we really wanted?

People have said about sausage that they love to eat it but don’t want to know how it’s made. Perhaps we can equate manscaping to sausage. We like the results, but have no interest in knowing how they were achieved. I mean, seriously, would it be cool for your guy to cancel a date because he’s got an appointment for a back wax?

What do you think? How much is too much when it comes to men’s maintenance? Sound off in the comments below. Oh, and don’t forget to follow me. I’ll keep you properly maintained.

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with my webmaster, Alla. {photo credits: Alessandro Bologna}