Shaving one’s pubic hair – and expecting others to follow suit – is currently fashionable. The trend, of course, has political overtones. This is an excerpt from my book, PROMISED LANDS Growing Up Absurd in the 1950s and ’60s (available on AMAZON).
The reader may recall that the 1960s was an era that revered hair, not just facial hair in men and longish hair for both sexes, but unregulated pubic hair as well. We all had lots of it. Shaving one’s pubic hair never occurred to anyone unless they had crabs or were having a really bad trip. Shaved skin was a grim harbinger of hair loss in old age, or possibly an alienated fashion statement made by bipolar Zen assassins (which may explain its current widespread popularity). Consequently, I’m perplexed by the ubiquity of pubic shaving in today’s porn videos and apparently among the young. Beholding a woman’s hairless vulva is fascinating, to be sure, but its partial veiling has greater merit: sustained exploration of the pubic forest, its flora concealing – then revealing – the mysterious pool at its centre, ranks as value added by any measure. Not that I’m against shaving, exactly. But like lingerie, shaving’s chief virtue is that it signifies a woman’s interest in erotic activity, and thus is a turn-on. However, my research clearly shows that women are nearly always interested in erotic activity anyway – they’re simply choosey about whom they tell. The successful continuance of the race since pre-historic times, unencumbered by vinyl corsets, ball gags, high heels, epidermal piercing, shaving and branding, puts these arcane practices in proper perspective. In contrast, we revered the “natural” in all its forms – hair especially. There’s feral charm in a sweet and feminine woman with whom familiarity reveals to be hairy in areas of special interest – an animal excitement that’s devalued, even lost, by shaving. A hairy woman is both wild and tender, an exciting contradiction sadly tamed and subdued by application of clipper, soap and blade. After all, from Delilah’s barberous intentions with Samson, to the shaved heads of Vichy collaborators, to the military’s custom of buzz cuts for cannon fodder, hair removal has overtones of disempowerment no matter how you cut it.