What’s the funniest thing in the world? The Pope doing the ice-bucket challenge? A dog skateboarding in the middle of the freeway? England’s latest football performance? Nope – it’s none of those. It is, of course, a man wearing a wig and thinking nobody has noticed. When we see him walking along with his false hair-piece, we all hope a big gust of wind will come and blow it up in the air. Wigs on women are sad, but wigs on men are hilarious. So why do I want one? To cover my bald spot, of course. Getting old is a drag.
I asked my Brazilian barber the other day for advice about having my hair dyed to cover up all the grey areas. He asked me if I wanted to look ridiculous. I sheepishly said no. He told me EVERYBODY knows when a man colours his hair, so he instantly becomes a figure of fun. And yet 99% of women colour their hair but that’s not funny at all. In fact, it’s like the world’s best kept secret. Men – around 50% of the world’s population – are not supposed to notice, and many don’t. Well done girls! I used to think most of my female colleagues were blonde until one day my boss pointed out that every one of them had been bleached. I have never truly recovered from the shock.
You see, hair is important. Often it is the only thing you can change to try and make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex. For men in particular, who don’t normally wear make-up, having a “rug rethink” or getting a “new barnet” is the only make-over option. Maybe I should try a pink-rinse and perm one of these days to see if I get a reaction. It couldn’t be any worse than having a “bad hair day” that goes on for years. But there is something else about hair that has been obsessing me just lately. I speak of the unspeakable – bodily hair.
Here we have another gender split. Most men wouldn’t dream of having any bodily hair removed, whereas EVERY woman seems to remove hers. Women have become like marble statues made of skin, with hardly a hair in sight. Imagine a supermodel posing for photographers on the catwalk, then suddenly lifting her arm skyward to reveal a hairy armpit! My goodness gracious! It would be front-page news across the globe; the whole world would be talking about it. Daft but true. So, we have to ask ourselves, why does armpit hair make a man sexy but turn a woman into a scary monster?
Then, of course, there is the far more delicate issue of (dare I say it?) pubic hair. Now I cannot claim to be an expert, but I gather from superior intelligence that most women these days take pains to remove most, if not all of it. In fact, as I understand it, Brazil – my adopted country – has played a crucial role in this cultural phenomenon. I am told by the most reliable sources that “getting a Brazilian” means to have the area of one’s modesty deliberately “waxed”. According to my urban dictionary, a ‘Brazilian’ is defined as: a depilatory technique derived in Brazil whereby pubic hair is removed, aside from a small inverted triangle superior to the genital area.
Golly gosh, how it makes a man blush to even write those words! Whatever would my great-aunt Dolly say? I expect the shock would kill her. Thankfully she was laid to rest in 1957. Certainly there seems to have been a sea-change since the hairy, hippy let-it-all-hang-out 1960s. We appear to have entered a new era when young women in particular make themselves into dolls, stripped of any anthropological evidence that human beings are derived from our ape cousins.
But maybe, just maybe, we have gone too far with this. Our precious bodies have been caught up in this homogenized, over-hygienic, anodyne commodity culture. Bodies must be smooth, perfumed, and non-natural: empty spaces where fantasies begin and nature ends. Hair on a woman’s body is a grotesque reminder that she is an upright mammal, not very different from a man.
It is much better for everybody in big business to keep women in their new role of denaturalised, sexualised objects. Not only would the beauty industry lose billions if women suddenly decided to go “natural”:
men, the poor things, would have to face the fact that women are hairy animals with bodily functions, and not sweet-smelling manikins fabricated solely for their sexual predilections. Commodities. That’s the word. Women are prettified, nicely-packaged products to be exchanged on the open-market.
True, hairy women would take a bit of getting used to again, I admit. But at least we wouldn’t be fooling ourselves. We are homo-sapiens who, relatively speaking, have only just come down from the trees. Let’s celebrate our naturalness, not hide it! With one exception, of course – hairy legs. Women with hairy legs, unfortunately, look like footballers, communists or camp commandants who order you to remove your clothes before performing a gruesome experiment. Come to think of it, women with moustaches are rather comical, too. Hmm…perhaps I haven’t quite thought this through…