A whole lot of history repeating itself!The history of pubic hair removal is an interesting one for me as it’s my full time job to to wax and pluck the nether regions of of both men and women. If like me you thought the trend for hairless Vagina’s started around 2000 we are both way off the mark. Around Christmas time someone mentioned seeing a comedy ‘Merkin’ gift. ‘Ay?’ ‘A what?’ I was discombobulated and immediately got onto Google. I ended up sat agog reading not only about pubic wigs but also about Ancient Egyptian bush removal; the depiction of pubes in art; the cultural and religious reasons for pubic hair removal and a whole load of other weirdly interesting information. Now I don’t want to be here all day as I’ve got a whole load of ironing to get through but I wanted to share a little run down of what they did back then down there.
Walk like an EgyptianBeginning with ancient Egyptians seems sensible as that was ages ago! Ancient Egyptians thought pubic hair uncivilized. Not only did ancient Egyptian women remove pubic hair but ALL their hair, from head to toe! They may have used various methods such as pumice stones, tweezers fashioned from seashells (can you imagine the time that would take??) or the technique of sugaring which is still used today.
Status SymbolsFor Greeks a hairless crotch was a status symbol for the upper classes. The Romans had such contempt for pubes young girls would be plucked with ancient tweezers called volsella from the moment they began puberty. An early version of ‘Veet’ or ‘Immac’ was made from bat’s blood, powdered viper and goats gall and called philotrum ordropax. It sounds like something cooked up in a witches cauldron to me.
Merkins are in!
Catherine de Medici, the Italian Queen of France during the 1500’s is said to have forbade her ladies in waiting from removing their pubic hair. Never mind a uniform check or a root through your bag for any stolen silver, just imagine starting your shift with a Bush inspection! Around this time women were removing the hair down there to combat crabs and here is where the Merkin comes in. Prostitutes would shave off their pubic hair then pop on a merkin to disguise sexually transmitted diseases. More recently a merkin came in handy for Kate Winslet in ‘The Reader’ after years of waxing she was unable to produce enough Bush for the period the film was set in.
Its all for the art, darlingEuropean artists have also favoured the smooth look, female pubic hair was considered immodest. When painting a famous prostitute, with her confrontational staring eyes fixed on the viewer, the artist Manet paints the hand of Olympia laid discreetly across her crotch. On one hand the boundaries are pushed, on the other he plays it safe. Michelangelo depicts both women and men as hairless. The males on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel have no pubic hair. However his masterpiece David looks like he’s had a ‘Boyzilian’ Wax to me. Then Francisco de Goya shook things up when he painted two versions of one woman. One clothed, one completely naked with pubic hair on show. The painting La Maja Desnuda was taken by the Spanish inquisition after being deemed obscene.
Tokens of affectionPubes took on a strangely titillating form during the 19th century. Upper class men would collect a souvenir or token of affection from lovers in the form of a cutting of pubic hair. They would then proudly display in their hats. Nowadays the details are posted on Facebook or shared through film taken on mobile’s.
Thoroughly Modern Minnie
Bringing us to the last fifty years with the invention of the Bikini came the Bikini line. Over time the Line got more and more narrow. In the 1970’s the porn mags Playboy and Penthouse bared bush. As we moved through the eighties the Lawns of playmates got tidier, shorter and neater, until they did not exist. This style is known as ‘The Hollywood’. It has dominated the Wax menu along with its more demure sister ‘The Brazilian’ for the last fifteen years.In the last couple of years plenty of articles have called for women to stop removing and start growing. It’s a very personal choice and ultimately down to the individual. It’s interesting to find that it’s all been done before but we’re still on the topic and will be forever more. Now where’s that bloody iron?
Get your groom on
Men’s grooming is the fastest growing area of within the beauty industry and it has been for a while now. It’s not just the metro-sexual new man getting in on the act either. From cut throat shaves, whole lines of products geared towards men’s skincare to Intimate Waxing (Back sac and crack) men of all ages are getting in on the act.
We will continue to see the trend for facial hair such as moustaches, which are set to become bigger and wilder! However I’m relieved to hear that beards are uncool according to the New York Times. How long it will take to filter down to Uber trendy Chorlton in Manchester I don’t know!
Tattoos are here to stay for a while yet. As long as they are original and artistically executed I’m all for them. If you are tattooed try getting the area waxed as any hair dulls the tattoo.
Wax, wax baby
No more monobrow!
Happy Waxing Boys!
Read all about it!
The Brazilian wax continues to raise eyebrows and create headlines. Most recently Cameron Diaz penned a section called ‘In Praise of Pubes’ in her self help/health manual ‘The Body Book’. Cameron describes Pubic hair as ‘Pretty Draping’. In an interview about the book she told You magazine that there is a biological reason for being “fully dressed”. She states “I am really concerned that young girls are making choices to get rid of something that is there for a purpose. It’s like saying, ‘I don’t need my nose’.” Okay…..So I get that Cameron doesn’t want to wax. No problem. Each to their own and all that but comparing pubes to a nose? Really? So where does it end? Cause I can’t see women walking round in Summer 2014 with hairy legs and that hair is also there for a purpose.
Dr Emily Gibson chips in, claiming that a Hollywood or Brazilian wax increases the risks of infection and sexually transmitted diseases. Gibson says, removing hair “irritates and inflames” the follicles. (This has some truth in it hence the after care instructions we give clients as well as the products we use to soothe and sanitise your post wax skin). It’s then suggested that staphylococcus aureus and MRSA prefer a hairless vulva. Whether there has actually been any research on this or if any statistics are available is not mentioned but the words ‘believed to’ are.
I’m not a doctor but a few of my clients are (1 a GP, 1 a gynecologist) so I’ve asked them. Both have seen DIY waxing or shaving injuries, nothing life threatening mind. But while we are on the DIY subject for Goodness sake don’t take a blade to your Vulva! Shredded labia minora anyone? No, didn’t think so. Also DIY Waxing is not a good idea for more reasons than I can be bothered writing but bruising and burning a delicate area is not fun!