It's a Jungle Down There
My lady's natural bikini line will shock my parents during our beach visit. How do I get her to shave?
Click here to read a transcript of Prudie's live weekly chat with readers at Washingtonpost.com.
Last fall, I met a terrific woman from the Mediterranean who may be "the one." She's beautiful and has a great body that she likes to show off, but she is also very hairy. She never shaved back home, and having now been steeped in years of women's studies in the United States, she has become militant about not conforming to the ideal of hairless womanhood. She can't wait to spend lots of time at my parents' beach house this summer. She has bought a tiny bikini that she plans on wearing, so lots of her pubic hair is guaranteed to be on display. My mom and dad are going to faint. Hair in the armpits? European. Hair on the legs? Granola. But pubic hair all over the place? I've told her she may want to "trim up a bit," but she refuses. What to do, besides hide her from my mom and dad?
If she feels about you the way you feel about her, surely she wants to snatch this opportunity to make a good impression on your parents. Appeal to her vanity: Tell her that if she refuses to trim her undergrowth, your parents' embarrassment will keep them from appreciating her great mind and beautiful figure. Appeal to her sophistication: Since she's lived a cross-cultural life, she knows that making a small gesture can be all that's needed to keep from muffing a sensitive encounter. Appeal to her affection for you: Explain that if her pubic hair is also her public hair, you're going to want to hide in the bushes. Emphasize that you are not asking for permanent defoliation, just for an application of depilatory so that when beach time comes around and your neither European nor granola parents see her itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny bikini, their hair won't stand on end.
I am a college sophomore living in a dormitory. The majority of us engage in small, college-type debauchery (e.g., underage drinking, loud music, minor drug use) that the resident director more or less ignores. The problem is a nosy girl who lives across the hall. She appears to have the entire college rule book memorized and takes a special thrill in reporting people for infractions. Recently, after hearing that a freshman was selling drugs, she went directly to the police. The boy's room was raided, narcotics were found, and he was expelled. He was popular, and now animosity toward her has reached a fever pitch. In response, she has started complaining about individuals in Facebook posts, yelling from her open door about the horrible people in our hall, etc. Her obsession with school code and inability to get along is frightening, and even though I don't smoke or drink, I feel what she's doing is over the line. Do I have justification to complain to the RD, or should I simply try to ignore her and hope that she doesn't decide to watch me too intently?
Dear Utterly Confused,
Some students are pre-med, some are pre-law, and your dorm mate is pre-internal affairs. Although she's wreaking havoc, she also sounds like a sad case with an emotional disorder who may be destined to go through life alienating people—unless she manages to get ahold of power and goes through life destroying people. However, while she may be obsessed with those who violate the rules, surely your campus code has something to say about screaming abuse at people or making ad hominem online attacks. You should go to your resident director to discuss this. You might want to take someone else from the dorm with you so it doesn't sound like a personal vendetta, but don't bring a big group because you don't want to sound like a mob. Describe specific incidents as dispassionately as possible, and explain how this student has created an atmosphere of hostility and fear. You can express sympathy about what an unhappy person she must be, but explain something needs to be done because her unhappiness is making everyone else miserable.
Photograph of Prudie by Teresa Castracane.