Feature: Leave It To My Beaver
I’ve always been a late bloomer, so it wasn’t until my late ’20s that it occurred to me to groom my somewhat pronounced Black Irish eyebrows. And it was only natural that my carpet was mostly natural; I did minimal trimming to reign in my coordinating pronounced downtown region. I believe SNL’s Amy Poehler on “Weekend Update” compared this old school size of pubic-hair real estate to a slice of New York City pizza, which would not be altogether off the mark in describing my zone’s unaltered state. My reasons were numerous, though I’d never had to give them.
Thanks to today’s young starlets, everyone from Tibetan monks to old New Englanders sitting around the cracker barrel knows that it is in vogue for women to wax off all their pubes. But to me, a bald bush on a grown woman is ridiculous and unattractive, a cultural byproduct of an increasingly pornified America. Its implication is disturbing—why is it supposed to be desirable for a woman’s privates to look like a prepubescent child’s?
I’m a vintage-loving gal who doesn’t share the modern (and to me, cheesy) aesthetic of women who have year-round tans and stripey highlights in their flat-ironed hair, so I don’t think our vaginas need to match, either. I don’t want my man to be manscaped, so I don’t think that I should be so artificially hairless, either. And so on.
During a boozy discussion about this with some lady friends, they were all pondering what style of pubic maintenance guys preferred: landing strip, Hitler ’stache, etc. Finally I came out with, “You know what men like? VAGINAS,” which was met with a chorus of appreciative cackles. Yes: we all had vaginas. We at least had that dude preference taken care of. End of story, until more recently.
Against my better judgment, and already knowing he was trouble from past experience, I became involved with a very flirty friend who had a decidedly different definition of friendship than I had. His version involved him whipping out his schlong at the first sign of make out. But mind you—we weren’t anything other than friends, “hanging out,” according to him, because he’d been hiding behind an “I’m so damaged from that one terrible relationship” excuse for years rather than facing his issues and moving on.
He once referred to the Beav as “That 70’s Show,” which, I had to hand it to him, was very funny, and for that, I forgave him what may have been a slight to my lady parts. But I didn’t yet realize the sentiment behind that remark. Finally after another not-very-satisfying hookup session led by him, I asked why he didn’t do…everything. He got mad, told me that he didn’t like the amount of hair I had going on downstairs, and that he’s just not attracted to that. (But you know, “that” was suitable for him to use in ways that pleased him.) I was aghast that he’d say this outright, in such an indignant manner, and right after we’d had sex, no less. Imagine if I’d said something equivalent about his johnson—he’d have to tack on years of therapy to those sessions he was already avoiding.
Whereas my younger self would have taken it personally, I knew that I was still awesome, that I didn’t need to deal with his damage anymore, and that I was going to be OK. As I drove away from the scene of the crime, I had to put on Sinatra’s “That’s Life.” When it was over, I rewound the cassette and listened to the song again. I could almost physically feel myself rising above the drama and learning from my mistakes, in real time. It felt like a reward of age and experience, after years of dating up the wrong trees. My attitude was good, considering I’d just departed from the biggest sexual insult I’d ever received. Maybe some part of me already sensed I was about to meet the guy I’d been looking for.
The next day, while blasting some good old cathartic Bikini Kill, I filled my BFF in on the hairy situation. “Ew! Nice attitude for someone who is supposedly so progressive,” she said. She wanted to post a comment to his MySpace profile asking him why a vegan guy hated beavers so much, and I still kinda wish I’d let her.
Shortly thereafter, I met my boyfriend, and we enjoyed those intoxicating first weeks together. At some naked point, he tactfully requested what about maybe getting a new ’do for my pubes, so he could see more of me? I absolutely would not go bald…but said I’d consider some other configuration. Not a token landing strip, either, because: gross. Not my style. I happen to like That ’70s Show, but we are in love, so I would consider a compromise. My boyfriend, a onetime landscaper and future landscape architect, sketched out an updated design by positioning his hands.
I decided to surprise him when we went away on our first weekend trip. I went to a salon to get waxed, not knowing what to expect. I tried to remember what my friends had told me about the process, and was under the impression there’d at least be some sort of little paper thong for modesty’s sake. No such luck! Nothing came between me and my waxer, who was from Argentina, and was thankfully quite chipper, considering her task.
I was left with a mini bush, so flat and trim and the rest so bald, that it felt alien. But my surprise went over extremely well, and I was richly rewarded that weekend. Totally worth it! And though my hairdid took some adjusting to, it actually fit quite neatly beneath my smallest undies, with no need for maintenance between sessions.
In my short career of waxing my special lady area, I have already learned one valuable lesson: when you are from a family that is pretty well hung up about sexual matters (see the “Irish American” part above), don’t get waxed by an Indian, i.e., someone from a non-Western culture that may be somewhat uncool with extramarital sexuality (though they’re still way more sexually evolved than your own ancestors). The Argentinan gal was all like, hell, do it all—where the sun don’t shine, and behind where the sun don’t shine! I was lucky I escaped with any hair left on my body. With the Indian gal, who clearly did not relish her duty and went through the steps as quickly as possible, the best I could do was not to make eye contact on my way out, and hope I could one day return to that salon for eyebrow threading without us recognizing each other.
Super flirty “friend” guy eventually broke the silence some weeks after our fallout, saying he felt terrible about the whole thing. I’d been living in love-land myself, so I wasn’t feeling terrible, and I decided to be big about it. He and I are buds again, although definitely not the genitalia-touching kind, and no longer the MySpace-top-24 kind. I almost wanted to tell him what I had done for the right person who approached the topic in the right way. But that’s none of his beav-wax.