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Sex and the SafeRide

Pubic Relations

By Alexia Summers
COLUMNIST

I have this horrible fear of pubic hair, also known as chaetophobia. The stringy, coarse hairs induce my gag reflex every instance I see a characteristic unidentified specimen lying on the edge of the toilet bowl. After coming to MIT, these “sightings” have become much more frequent. It’s probably due to the fact that I’m forced to use a public bathroom everyday. I’ve never come across any interesting colors, like red for example, but I’ve surely seen more than my fair share of the common variety.

Ever since I was a child, even before I had pubic hair, I knew I didn’t want it. I couldn’t understand why that region down there would inevitably sprout those curlicues. I dreaded the idea of them just appearing one day. But of course, I knew I would eventually have to face the consequences of human development. And I didn’t like the idea.

As I grew older, pubic hair became more of a nuisance. Attempting to hide it in a skimpy bikini led me to try every type of hair removal: shaving, depilatories, plucking (this was a slow and painful process), waxing, etc.

All of these were irritating -- some painful -- and yet they only solved the problem temporarily. I desired a permanent solution, but how much did I want to remove and for how long?

Once I had my first serious boyfriend, the pubic hair issue became more of an embarrassment. What should I do about it? If I shaved it all off, would he like it or would he think I was really easy or that I got around? I didn’t know what to do.

After thinking about the “situation” for a while, I realized I couldn’t make this decision on my own. Instead, I spoke with many girlfriends about the matter. I was 16 years old at that time, but I guess most of us were going through the same dilemma. In the end, we came to the general consensus that pubic hair was annoying and it had to go.

This philosophy satisfied me for a while. As I got older, I realized there was another side to the equation. Guys have pubic hair too -- I just preferred not to think about it until I really had to interact with it. Then, my primary concern was that none of it became dental floss.

Until recently, I did not know that guys too think about removing the nuisance hair, but today I definitely could suggest some reasons why they should. I learned that some trim, while a select few shave everything completely bare. The funny thing is that it causes them a great deal more irritation.

A male friend of mine will provide an example to us all (or at least to those of us with a penis -- the rest of us will just laugh). One day, this guy decided to try shaving -- everything. At first, he described it as a “pretty good feeling.” He liked his new look and decided his little experiment had been a good idea after all.

A few days later, as expected, the hair began to grow back. The stubble caused him major itching and irritation, especially in the testicular area. Although he had a girlfriend at the time, he did this “just for the hell of it” without even knowing whether she would like it.

I laughed at him, saying, “serves your right for shaving for no reason.” He quickly regretted his decision, but it was too late. He walked around for a few days like he had a pole stuck up his ass in an attempt to avoid any unintentional rubbing.

The lesson to be learned from all this pubic mischief is that the hair down there is a very personal matter. If you don’t like the hair on your body, you can easily change it in a temporary and harmless way. If you’re in a sexual relationship, why not discuss the pubic hair status quo with your significant other? In the end, you’ll feel happier and more comfortable.