The Manscape Debate - Where Do You Stand?
Editor's Note: When we started our Cutting Edge Style section we ran an article called "Manscape Like a Pro," where we offered tips on properly clipping and shaving body hair. This stirred up a debate among readers. Some thought it was a "must do" while others insisted that clipping body hair made you "less manly." To sort out the discussion, we turned to Gay.net's resident advice columnist for help.
A distressed young reader once wrote me to discuss his body hair. He was furry. The guys he liked were not. Some of those smooth studs were taken aback by his curlicued chest and it made him wonder if trimming, shaving or waxing was a prerequisite for dating the dudes he liked.
It's true that gay men have a long history with grooming body hair. Back when AIDS was ravaging the gay community there was a backlash toward anything that resembled aging. The ideal image was to look young and fresh, and for many guys that meant working out and having as little body hair as possible. This trend was eventually adopted by our straight brothers, and manscaping became the norm. While many young straight guys now go for clipping close (and sometimes shaving bare), the manscaping evolution for gay men saw fur soaring in popularity once again. Now we seem to be in a new phase, where young bucks are keeping it trim but sculpting their facial hair into sexy, fun styles. And —though this is the sad truth about our people— where the young go there are always batches of older gays who follow suit.
Some men clip their crotch hair because they think it makes their parts look larger, while others want their hard-earned abs to stand out so they trim the belly and chest. My thought on the subject? Forget what guys say regarding any absolutes, like that "must have" Lady Gaga song, the latest "must wear" tank top, or the current "must do" hair style. At the end of the day you have to rock that look, so if you're not feeling it then you'll never look good sporting it.
That said, I do think that good grooming is always a must. If things down south start going out of bounds, invest in clippers and trim it down. No one likes to get lost in the jungle. And while I'm not personally a fan of shaving everything completely off, I once dated a body builder whose confidence with that look was a complete turn-on; but again, that was because he loved his look, and that was what mattered.
So what should you do? Consider what you think will look good on your body and give it a try. You can even base that decision on what you think looks great on other men. Then if you like the end result—great! If not, the hair will grow back within a week or two and no one will know or care.
Ultimately, your body and facial hair doesn't matter as much as your attitude. Find your look and change it up however often you want. But whatever you do, own it. That will make any guy—from an Abercrombie stud to burly bear—come knocking down your door.