I’ve gone over this before, but from the moment we grow our first short hairs until it starts growing out of ridiculous places, the question is: Grow it, groom it, or scrape it?
If I was a hermit, would I let my chest hair run wild and my nose grow a mustache out from within? Perhaps, and I don’t think there’s a guy out there who wishes he didn’t have to deal with body hair (or hasn’t already said “screw it”). But I’m not planning to be living in a mountain cave anytime soon. I like people, and I prefer that they don’t run away when I approach them. I especially like women, and…well, as it turns out, they prefer a well-trimmed hedge.
On the other hand, the razor manufacturers would have you believe that a complete clear-cut is the answer. But in addition to itchy, painful stubble and ingrown hairs, it turns out women like that even less than they like a full, unmanicured growth. I don’t put a lot of stock in surveys from commercial interests, but this one from Remington (who makes trimmers) pretty much matches what I’ve seen and heard from women.
Plus I’ve got charts.
First there’s the issue of chest hair. Interestingly, the largest percentage of women don’t mind if you don’t touch it at all. And that’s good, because not many of us do. (More on that later.) But only about 1 in 6 prefer a smooth chest, which coincidentally used to be your odds of winning a free RC Cola.
Moving on to the naughty bits, Gillette would have you believe that every girl crazy ’bout a hairless man. It turns out the same ones who like a smooth chest also like smooth testicles. Again, women are mostly deadlocked on whether to trim or let the garden grow free. However, 56 percent of women under 40 prefer you trim it a tad, and a whopping 60 percent of women who are actually dating say they want to see neatness down there, so unless you’re hoping to target elderly shut-ins, get some clippers.
All that’s left to say is that if you choose au naturel and you’re hoping for a lady to head down south, you had better be cleaner than Howie Mandel down there.
Finally we have what I call the Body Grooming Gap: the difference between what guys trim and what is actually visually unappealing to women. As you can see, some of the differences are enormous.
And the major surprise here is not really that almost all women really want you to do something about that butt hair, but that so few guys with back hair do anything about it. I mean, a man is more likely to shave his arse than make sure he isn’t wearing a sweater to the pool? It may be a problem with the survey, but if you’re one of these men, after you’ve waxed your tush you might consider continuing above the waist.
And I’m surprised at the large number of men who say they groom their faces. While Remington defines this as ear, eyebrow and nose hair, from the sheer number of women who wonder why guys don’t trim their nostril gardens I have to believe guys misunderstood and answered “yes” if they shave. But you seem to be getting the groin thing about right — there’s a groomed man for almost every woman who wants one (considering, like I mentioned before, most of the women who don’t want one don’t get out of the house much).
There are all kinds of adjustments to be made to this survey: younger guys generally groom more, younger women generally like it that way, and we don’t know if the survey only polled men who actually had hair in those places. But the point is that according to women it doesn’t hurt to do at least a little trimming.
Ideas on best grooming methods? Let me hear ‘em!