I’ve got pubes on the brain recently (though hopefully not literally; they’d probably name the condition after me), due to a disheartening recent trip to buy razors. Have you ever compared the price of razors/waxing to actual food or amenities, because damn. Venus has got us by the collective lady balls here, people! If my attitude towards the subject isn’t readily apparently from my hearty endorsement of hippie shit like period sex, et al, then let me hype the comfort and soothing texture of an intact muff. If we could all walk around pantless with our giant bush hanging out for all the world to see, well, it would be a sight for sore eyes as far as I’m concerned. Also, we would be very, very cold.
When I was in college, however, I was like many women frequently filled with pube-related terror. Like Jamie Peck pointed out in her essay “I Actually Like My Pubes” last year, I was perfectly fine with mine…but was convinced that everyone else would have an Exorcist-type bodily reaction if they ever saw such ungroomed pubes. The truth is, it turns out, that some fools of the highest order will actually critique this (and other!) aspects of a women’s body.
The idea that someone could point out something they don’t like on a naked woman without immediately hitting themselves in the face with a hammer is beyond me. As a result of feeling the push, I became pretty militantly pro-pubes, turning up my nose at the idea of removing anything The Man found unsightly or unfeminine. I mean it’s around a vagina; how unfeminine could it conceivably be?
However, the saloon door of bush-related embarrassment swings both ways. A couple years later, I had a different gentleman caller actually laugh out loud at my lack of a carpet (which I’d removed after an attempt at trimming had gone horribly, yet hilariously, wrong). “Did you just do that today?” he said, shaking his head. “Man, what humans do to themselves.” YES, THAT SEEMS LIKE A REASONABLE THING TO SAY TO SOMEONE ABOUT THEIR BODY. EVER. IN ANY SITUATION. Jeez, can’t a woman just be undressed without comments from the peanut gallery? Like, write a your senior gender studies thesis on it; it’ll last longer. In this situation as with the first, if I hadn’t been so filled with self-doubt, I would have drop-kicked said guy like a soccer ball into orbit around Planet Douche, where he would rotate for a million shining years in space as billions of muff grow or disappear in peace.
I know what some people might be thinking: “It’s not as simple as personal preference if naked vaginas are hoisted on the population as the “normal” way to look.” The problem with pubes, like almost all aspects of a women’s body, is that people just aren’t willing to let them, or their owners, be. People, who tend toward the young and obnoxious, associate a bountiful bush with some kind of mythical mannish he-woman, rather than with the millions — nay — billions of women in every culture for the entirety of human history who rocked them non-stop. Other people assert that any women sporting a Brazilian should just turn in her feminist card now and not even bother to show up for the Planned Parenthood rally in NYC on February 26 (see you there!).
Both groups who would make this assertion need to check in with our dear friend Reality. In case you’re worried, yes, the vast majority of men I’ve known have been pro-bush, either adamantly or with the casual supportiveness of the equally unconcerned. Which definitely counts! But the truth is, girls often have to take a firm stand in favor of muff, or defend their right to be bare, rather than just being allowed to do whatever they want with their bidness. The same can be said about a women’s weight, how often she has sex and with whom, if she has sex at all, and a million other aspects of female life that in a perfect world should depend exclusively on a lady’s ever-changing and evolving preference.
I support pubes as the default, but the moral of this story is, a girl can’t screw this up. For example, if you find that your partner prefers your vajeene coiffed one way or the other, you individually can think really hard about indulging his or her preference, then make your own decision. There is no correct moral to glean from this pube-tale, and no incorrect one either.
At the end of the day, women should feel that they have the right to not decide, or care, or worry, or think about the density or absence of their bush at all until one day they look down the shower one day and think, “Hmmm, maybe it’s time to try something different.” As I get older, the issue of nothing vs. something vs. everything fades into the background of great dates and supportive partners. With age comes the beautiful gift of ability to care so, so little about people’s opinion; it will eventually embolden a girl to listen thoughtfully to people’s criticism of her personal grooming habits, then kindly and politely not give a rat’s ass. So until then, whether we are slipping in the dorm showers trying to twist into human pretzels, switching to an all-Ramen diet in order to drop change on waxing, or frantically tucking our pubes into the side of our bathing suit, know that we are just trying to get through this thing called life without going crazy. And that’s a glorious feeling.
(Photo: Black Crowes, Amorica)