Tales from Down Below: Tending your Lady Garden

Image via worak's Flickr photostreamJanice Turner wrote an article for The Times a few years ago entitled “When the Bikini Line Turned to a Battleline” where she pondered, “why in the West is the pubic bush, the most luxuriant manifestation of our sexual hormones, now universally condemned as ‘unsexy’?” Indeed. Who started this rumour and can we please ask them to stop now? Enough is enough.

I’ve always had a bit of a hate-hate relationship with my pubes. When I had my first period I seem to remember it actually sickened me the way they exacerbated the mess. Even after discovering the tidiness of tampons, I still wasn’t especially happy about my pubic fuzz, which is odd really as I’ve never felt the same level of hatred for the rest of my body hair. When I realised that many people trimmed their pubic hair, I was actually relieved.

Years later, I tried shaving for the first time. The joy at the gentle smoothness was swiftly overshadowed the following day by the most uncomfortable itching I have ever experienced. Turns out that, in these sensitive areas, wet shaving is most definitely not for me! It takes a while to find what works best, but I got there… eventually. However, I have since wondered if I am not actually doing this for myself but subconsciously buying in to a trend.

One thing that now fascinates me is the fashion – muff trends, if you will. Women’s lady gardens have not always been as well trimmed as they are today. As James Hundleby, editor of Britain’s best-selling top shelf magazine Escort, once told The Observer, the 20th century obsession with pubic topiary started with the issue of censorship:

When porn got going in the 70s, you weren’t allowed open-leg shots. If the woman wasn’t trimmed there wasn’t much of a signifier of what was rude beneath it. But as the magazines got ruder in the late ’80s, that hairstyle got more and more trimmed away. If you’ve got a lot of hair round there it obscures what the readers are after.

This, combined with a fashion for increasingly skimpy bathing suits meant that women increasingly felt pressured into tidying up, and often by other women too. I remember when the Absolutely Fabulous gang went to Morocco in 1994 and Edina told her daughter before they left, “it’s bikini wax darling, it’s for you. Unless you’re happy with those sideburns on your inner thigh”. Er, thanks mum.

Whether it’s for fashion, religion, sensation, appearance, or just in the hope that you’ll get more oral sex, there really is no sign of the mainstream trend heading back to the full bush. Even men are getting in on the act now. Or not, if Charlie Brooker’s rant on male grooming is to be believed:

If the majority of other men genuinely spend hours hoisting their scrotum over the bathroom sink with one hand, nail scissors in the other, meticulously snipping and pruning their man-bush into a tiny ornamental hedge, until their entire pubic region resembles a tranquil arboretum in miniature, albeit one with a cheerful bit of dick poking out of it, then maybe all my ex-girlfriends have been secretly revolted by my comparatively slovenly lower appearance.

Girls may not actually be revolted by the sight of a man’s pubes but I reckon there are an awful lot of guys who would be, at the very least, taken aback at the sight of some fuzz. However, if you do want to explore the options a more hirsute pussy can provide, products like Betty, colour for the hair down there, allow you to match your “collar and cuffs” or simply do something a bit different by going bright pink or green. Surely this must be better than the awful labia dye that BitchBuzz Editor Cate brought to our attention? Dying your hair can be fun, but dying your skin? Euw!

The main trend I would like to see over the next few years is actually a non-trend. An acceptance of all women’s pubic regions no matter how much or little hair they have down there. Everyone has a different comfort zone and no one should have to feel pressurised into doing anything simply to fit in. If you want to trim the sides but leave the rest long, then good for you. Confidence is the sexiest thing about a woman and anyone who doesn’t think you’re hot the way you are simply doesn’t deserve you.

This article was first published on BitchBuzz in 2010. Image via worak‘s Flickr photostream

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