Manscaping 101

I recently read He Said/She Said: Should Your Guy Groom? in the October 2009 issue of Marie Claire. The article, by Lauren Iannotti and Doug Donovan, offered commentary on why men should or shouldn’t groom themselves to the degree that women do. Iannotti was vehemently opposed to metrosexually-bent manscaping, while Donovan was all for manis and pedis of the male persuasion.

After reading Iannotti’s perspective, I had to chime in. My fingers crept to my keyboard almost uncontrollably because I am very passionate about this topic, for two reasons:

  1. I am 100% Greek, first-generation American-born. That statement is self-explanatory if you’ve ever known a Greek, but for the uninitiated: Greek = HAIR, kind of like Asian = HAIRLESS. Read Only Women Bleed (and choose to have their nether regions electrified) for the full spectrum of my dedication to this subject.
  2. I am the female version of the red-blooded male. Innuendos aside, what that means is I like them manly, mostly in their natural state. Love a big, burly beefcake the same way most men like an all T-and-A, come-hither temptress.

That said, Iannotti was so dead-on, I had to include most of her well-written case here:

Let me just say it: Men should have hair. On their heads, if possible, but certainly on their bodies…Chest fur connotes virility, testosterone, bad-boy biker danger. In a rugby match pitting Liev Schreiber and Clive Owen against Matthew McConaughey and Robert Pattinson, I’m backing team one on leg hair alone. And I believe that, pretty-boy teenage vampires notwithstanding, most women are rooting along with me.

Unfortunately, men aren’t hearing us. A recent survey of male college students by Gillette found that 80 percent have done below-the-neck depilation, with an even gay-straight split…The rule of male primping is one of simple relativity: A woman doesn’t want to be with a guy who spends more time on his appearance than she does. He can get away with mousse, a splash of cologne, and the odd blob of moisturizer in winter. But hairspray is off-putting. Bronzer: Hell. No.

…Now we’ve got the ubiquitous emo lover boys…When they’re not trying to score, odds are they’re trolling the Molton Brown counter at Neiman Marcus for an alpha hydroxy moisturizer with SPF…or sitting in the next pedicure chair over because, in the words of a male friend of mine, “Why not?”

I’ll tell you why not: Women want men to be tougher than that. Hairy, burly, sweaty, imperfect, with a hint of natural, dragon-slaying scent under the Right Guard. Besides, Mr. Hairy Toes, the nail salon is ours.

Again, Iannotti’s editorial ran in a women’s fashion magazine, so any man who actually reads Marie Claire is likely an obsessive manscaper, so sadly, Iannotti’s brilliant plea falls on deaf ears. In support of Iannotti, this post is my public service announcement to men.

Let me break this down for you, fellas—I don’t care what that one woman you dated said about hating body hair or that your best-mate’s wife thinks it should all be lasered into extinction—most women like (and don’t mind) your body hair! Unless you have the body of Greek god, hairlessness gives the impression of weakness. If you’re not the owner of seriously sculpted pecs and a rocking six-pack, it just doesn’t go over.

Aside from the reasons Iannotti listed, here’s another in favor of hair: if you shave your chest/arms/legs/whatever, you get stubble. When it grows out, it’s like needles. So spooning with you, my dear, is like spooning with a porcupine. It’s not only like revisiting you pre-puberty, it hurts.

I agree that a little manscaping and self-attention is good, but don’t go overboard. You don’t need hands as soft as ours…and forget clear nail polish…that’s gross. It means you aren’t really doing any physical labor (including lifting weights), which is way more offensive to a woman than body hair. (Remember, we like you because you can lift heavy things and and tear stuff open with your bare hands.) So thin the fleece, but don’t fleece yourself. We’re talking clippers, not razors. If you’re a really hairy guy, by all means, trim chest, armpit, other hair. Just don’t shave it all off.

But…if you’re going bald, SHAVE YOUR HEAD. You’re not fooling anyone, and it takes more cohones to shave than to pouf, spray, part, and pray that no one really notices. Cause honey, we do. Either go G.I. Joe ultra-close, or bald. That’s the one place you have permission to shave to your heart’s content, because it really should be all or none.

Obviously, the same rules don’t apply to women, but the point of our rituals (in the hetero world) is the same: to emphasize the characteristics unique to our gender in order to appear more attractive to the opposite one. If you want to be attractive to women, don’t be one. Be a man, in every sense. If more men were men, we could just be women, and I’m betting there would be a whole lot less confusion in the world.

Again hair…ain’t nothin’ wrong with that:

American tennis player Robby Ginepri, in full chest hair.
American tennis player Robby Ginepri, in full chest hair.


  1. I’m not bothered really what men do. I like a man who looks after himself and thinks about his appearanance a little. How far he chooses to take that is up to him.

    I would no more consider trying to dictate to a man what he should do with his body and grooming routine based on what I consider attractive, than I would listen (or stick around) if a man tried to dictate to me what I should do with mine based on what *he* finds attractive.

    Each to their own, I say.
    .-= Retro Chick´s last blog ..Links à la Mode 15th October 2009 =-.

  2. @RetroChick: I get your point and in a perfect, equal world the independent individuals that we are would fully agree to your statement. But appearance is, was and always will be influenced by those to whom it is presented. You think women shave, groom, diet & spanx just for themselves? Hell no! We do it because it makes us more attractive to men & enhances our natural female features as V rightfully pointed out in her article. These mindsets come naturally; they stem from our deepest instincts & I see no point in fighting them.

    @V: So with you on this one even though my man does groom himself occasionally. But there clearly is such a thing as being over-groomed; one of my biggest turn-offs actually. The only exceptions I’d make would be armpits and back because back hair is just epically disgusting.
    .-= Irina´s last blog ..Real vs. Steal – Chloë Sevigny for Opening Ceremony Buckle Boots =-.

  3. Pingback: Grit and Glamour

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