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Skins

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Oh. My. Goodness.

The folks who make the razor I use when I decide to shave in the shower, Gillette, are running internet ads claiming that 51 percent of women prefer men with smooth-shaven chests.

This puzzles me, and I suspect it's a generational thing. Forgive me for another "when I was growing up" post, but:

When I was growing up, chest hair was something to be desired. It was a symbol of approaching manhood. The old saying "that'll put hair on your chest" plays to that idea. We would never, ever think of shaving it off. In fact, we'd be considered downright weird.

It's a different story today. Men with chests as slick as a baby seal's coat are everywhere: print ads, television ads, television programs, movies, videos—you name it. It looks like all of these men have lifted weights to give their torsos definition, which hair would detract from. I guess I understand where they're coming from, but I haven't changed my stance.

It is only fair to point out that just two months ago, I shaved my chest—part of it, anyway. I had shingles, and my nurse practitioner gave me skin patches for the pain. They were held on by adhesive and needed a clean surface to cling to. So out came the razor. I immediately realized I should never, ever shave my chest again because I have virtually no pecs.

It's also worth noting that after I quit using the patches and started regrowing my hair, it chafed and itched and caused all kinds of discomfort. It seems shaving your upper body requires lots and lots of maintenance. Let's not forget that one's back needs to be shaved, too. I'm growing a stubbly beard now, so shaving takes about three minutes. Can't get much better than that.

Some guys, though, are blessed (or cursed) with way more than their share of hair. I recall one time a bunch of us were playing basketball at a school gym we rented every Monday. Because these were just pickup games, one team would keep its shirts on while the others took theirs off: shirts and skins. One week a guy joined us who had the thickest upper body hair I've ever seen. He spent the whole night being razzed—the best wisecrack being, "Take your sweater off."

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
anita_margarita
Aug. 8th, 2013 06:14 am (UTC)
I find the notion of shaving a lot of body parts (other than legs & armpits)... weird. It's making a fetish of prepubescent bodies.
patrick_vecchio
Aug. 8th, 2013 01:46 pm (UTC)
You must be in the 49 percent, then.
tanadariel
Aug. 8th, 2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
There is an interesting and parallel debate among feminists above shaving the female body. Second-waves argue that it does fetishize childlike bodies, while third-waves argue that shaving is a choice unrelated to patriarchal beauty standards.
patrick_vecchio
Aug. 8th, 2013 07:40 pm (UTC)
Given that divide, we must turn to the Isley Brothers for advice: "It's your thing. Do what you wanna do."
thecriz5
Aug. 8th, 2013 06:14 pm (UTC)
I never quite understood the manscaping thing...
patrick_vecchio
Aug. 8th, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
Judging by your beard, if you decided to manscape you'd need a chain saw and a liter of jet fuel.
tanadariel
Aug. 9th, 2013 04:33 am (UTC)
I would be seriously disappointed if Chris manscaped. An impressive man should have an equally impressive beard, no?
patrick_vecchio
Aug. 9th, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, he's got beard, all right. But I suspect he'd have to manscape with gas-powered hedge clippers.
nodressrehersal
Aug. 9th, 2013 01:36 am (UTC)
Having grown up in a household of very hairy men, I've never been a big fan - you could've made miniature schnauzers out of the hair left on the bathroom floor/tub/drain of my childhood. Blech. Hubby's not very hairy, and surly youths are only moderately so; probably inherited from me, the swarthy Greek.
patrick_vecchio
Aug. 9th, 2013 02:16 am (UTC)
I just looked up "Greek dog breeds" on Google and found the Greek Harehound.
nodressrehersal
Aug. 9th, 2013 01:18 pm (UTC)
Aptly named, although the spelling should probably be "hairhound" - unless it chases and kills baby bunnies - in which case I must get me a harehound.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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