Is Pubic Hair Passé?

The other day I was reading “Get Naked,” the sex column in Time Out New York, and was surprised by an answer given to a letter from a recently divorced woman wondering if, now that she’s dating again, she should be removing all her pubic hair. She writes:

I was married and faithful for 15 years, and last time I was single, nobody ever mentioned shaving that stuff off. So imagine my confusion when my first new sexual partner after a decade and a half showed thinly disguised displeasure at my very short, clean, well-groomed pubic hair. He insinuated that everyone shaves that off now, and my two single, close girlfriends have told me that they remove it all. I have tried this a few times, and it always resulted in lots of ingrown hairs, a red rash and an uncomfortable, itchy grow-back period. That waxing thing sounds too violent for my taste. I really don’t want to feel like I have to shave it all off, but I don’t want to appear like an out-of-touch, hairy freak, either. So, is it true? Does everyone nowadays go bare down there? And what if I don’t want to?

I expected columnist Jamie Bufalino to assure our fair divorcée that it is, in fact, not necessary to remove all her pubic hair — that short, clean, well-groomed pubes are not only socially acceptable, but happen to be the norm, too. But, no! That wasn’t his answer at all! He said, get this: that everyone is removing pubic hair these days. “Even dudes are big on losing the pubic hair,” he wrote. To his credit, he went on to add that “even more than a shaved cooch, the quality that’s going to get you furthest in the dating world is confidence in who you are and what you believe in. If you don’t want to depilate your crotch, then don’t. Sure some dudes will give you the hairy eyeball about it, but you’ll be being true to yourself rather than trying to be all things to all people.”

But, wow my mind is still boggled. I haven’t been out of the dating world that long. Have things seriously changed so much over the last four years? Is everyone really removing all their pubic hair?! Doesn’t that … itch? And I mean, to each his own or whatever, but hairless genitals seem so prepubescent to me. I get that a lot of people are probably into that look, but is it really the majority now? People, school me! Tell me what you know. Are the only people running around with pubic hair these days old marrieds who are so out of the loop they just don’t know any better? Inquiring minds need to know!