I Waxed My Pubic Hair Because the New York Times Told Me It Was Trendy

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Nov. 14 2012 5:00 AM

The Trendiest Guy in New York City

I slept with 30 pillows, wore my hair in a “man bun,” and waxed my pubic hair, all thanks to New York Times trend stories.

(Continued from Page 2)

I can honestly say it was the best, and only, dance party I’ve ever attended. The trendy trappings helped camouflage what was otherwise a fairly rigorous workout, involving 30 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes of rhythmic dumbbell work, with a break in the middle for energy drink "shots" served from a tray. "So trendy, so trendy," I told myself, breathing heavily, as I struggled to run a mile without fainting. The session concluded with ab work and some light stretching. As Barry praised our collective efforts, I collapsed on a mat and listened to the sound of my own heartbeat. It sounded trendier than ever.

Generation Gap: Look Who’s Smiling Now” and “Spare a Hair Band? A Man Bun to Go”: In seventh grade, my parents sent me to the orthodontist and paid for braces, which, as it turns out, is yet another way they ruined my life. The Style section reports that the year's trendiest fashion accessory is gap teeth: “These days gap-toothed smiles are regarded not just as a mark of fortune or, as they have been since Chaucer’s day, a sign of sexual rapacity, but also as a positively enviable fashion calling card.” And as everyone knows, nothing goes better with gap teeth than a stupid hairdo: “In certain arty neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Bushwick, some men are twisting their long hair into a form more famously worn by librarians, schoolmarms and Katharine Hepburn. But don’t call the male version an up-do or a chignon. Call it a man bun.”

The man-bun.
The man-bun.

Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo for Slate.

Coincidentally, one of my recurring fantasies involves a gap-toothed schoolmarm inviting me to her Bushwick apartment to watch On Golden Pond. I bunned my longish hair, bought a tube of tooth black, and went to the Agenda: NYC streetwear trade show to mingle with designers and purveyors of trendy fashion accessories. I strolled the aisles baring my blackened teeth at everyone I met. A vendor exhibiting crocheted hats went on and on about how each hat was inscribed with the name of the Ugandan woman who made it. “What do you think of my teeth?” I asked when he finally finished. “Do you think they’re trendy?” At another stall, where a barber was giving free haircuts, I scoffed when I was offered a trim. "My hair is trendy as-is," I said. "It's in a bun, you see."

But they didn’t see, and after several similarly frustrating encounters, I realized that my outfit was unconvincing. I had bought cheap tooth black that smeared when it got wet, and it got wet often, thanks to my untrendy salivary glands. At a stall displaying winter hats that were also earphones, the exhibitor appeared nervous when I asked him to assess my teeth. I knew immediately what was wrong. “Don’t worry, I can fix it,” I said, unsheathing the tooth black and smearing it all over my mouth, such that I looked like a fashion-forward railroad hobo. “What do you think? Is it trendy now?" I asked. The exhibitor didn’t immediately respond, but he didn’t need to. The New York Times had told me everything I need to know.

Check out the teeth!
Check out the teeth!

Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo for Slate.

A He-Wax for Him”: As I understand it, sexual promiscuity is very trendy these days. But the only woman I've been able to seduce lately is my wife. I blame this on my pubic hair. As the New York Times explains, more and more trendy men are taking the time to clean up their crotches. “The below-the-belt treatment—which, just like the women’s version, removes either some or all pubic hair—is becoming increasingly popular, and not just among competitive swimmers or underwear models.”

Though the headline confused me—is there such a thing as a “she-wax for him” or a “he-wax for her”?—I pressed on in the knowledge that my groin area would soon resemble that of famed Olympic douche Ryan Lochte. Several New York day spas offer male bikini waxes, with services ranging from basic touch-up services to full Brazilian front-to-back depilatory treatments. You can even go in for "pejazzling," which gives new meaning to the term "rhinestone cowboy."

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I made an appointment at a downtown location of the Bliss day spa and signed up for the basic brief bikini wax, which would tame the edges of my pubic thatch and leave an inverted triangle of hair pointing directly at my junk. The process was quick and surprisingly painless. The technician covered my genitals with a hand towel, spread hot wax on my crotch with a popsicle stick, and kept up a soothing conversation throughout to stop me from squirming, flinching, or thinking better of it and attempting to flee. "Any particular reason why you're getting a bikini wax?" she asked. "Just heard it was trendy," I told her.

About 30 minutes later, I left with attractively sculpted crotch hedging and a warning to avoid scratching or violent rubbing, lest I invite whiteheads or ingrown pubes (so not trendy). I kept my hands to myself and went to sleep proud as could be. But I found it difficult to share the news. As it turns out, it's hard to work the phrase "I waxed my pubes" into casual conversation. I tried parading around pelvis-first, as if to subliminally encourage people to ask me about my crotch, but I think it just looked like I had a spinal disorder. When I disrobed in front of my wife, she was horrified. "It's trendy," I assured her. "It's weird," she replied. We were both right.

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

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