Another Spout Off within a week of the last one? Well, don't get too used to it. Do look forward to more happening with these; I know that JJ has specific things in mind.
Beyond this, I'm looking to expand a touch, and so:
Grooming. We all have our preferences. One woman's sexy stubble that tickles, is another's painful crotch burn and eyesore. One man's hot French chick, is another's way too butch dyke (or one man's pleasant shag rug, is another's Searching for Dr. Livingstone. Women, please share your equivalent to this phrase).
Please allow me to introduce this entry's spouters! In this corner, from Philadelphia, a woman not too afraid to shy away from cute euphemisms for "vagina," the baby attacked
Patrice! And in this corner, from Seattle, a fastidious word fetishist, fuckwad
and closet-gay extraordinaire, Rob!
All right, kids, have fun. Ladies first:
Let me start off by breaking down the societal norms of hair growth for men and women, in this country, based on areas that women and men tend to have hair that needs to be groomed. For women, there's the head, obviously. Moving down, we have the eyebrows, above the lip, the underarms, the "bikini" area, and the legs. For men, there's the head and the face. Just those two.
What's interesting about this is that men, typically, are more hirsute than women. They tend to have more instances of back hair, neck hair, and ass hair. And the hair they have in the same areas that women are supposed to shave tends to be much more thick - think bushy eyebrows,underarms and crazy leg hair.
So while we don't ask men to shave their backs and their necks and their asses, we do ask women to shave their legs and their underarms and their hoohas. (The hooha-shaving will be discussed in depth a few paragraphs from now.)
The debate at hand is what parts of the body SHOULD each gender groom? For most hairy areas, for women, it's all or nothing. Or rather, it's nothing or nothing. Legs are supposed to be hair-free and smooth, as are underarms. If you're unfortunate enough to have a fem-stache, that is either supposed to be waxed away or bleached. The only areas where it's acceptible to leave a faint trace of the hair that NATURALLY grows in that area are the eyebrows (unless you're my mother in law, who has tattooed eyebrows and regularly waxes that area. for reals, yo.) and the crotchetal area.
Meanwhile, men can choose to have a beard or be beardless. And in terms of beards, there's a ton of different styles to be had - the soul patch for the minimalist, the ZZ Top special, the goat...hell, you can even shave zigzags into your beard. Conversely, men are the only folks that can shave their head and not look like a cancer patient. (Of course, they also have to deal with hair loss way more than women do, but since that doesn't support my argument, I don't care.)
So the question, for me, is this: How is it that society has deemed the natural occurence of hair on our bodies as normal for one gender, and unsightly or even disgusting for the other? Clearly, women and men are both repulsed by excess female body hair - even me. In fact, I took a shower while in the throes of early labor expressly to shave my legs, lest I be stubbly for when the entire universe was looking into my birth canal. Why??
Oh, I'm sure it has to do with feminine this or that. Bah. We don't wear bustles or bloomers anymore, so why do we hang onto old social mores that dictate how much hair we can have on our bodies? I just don't get it. And even though I don't get it, I'll still continue to shave my legs and armpits because I will feel like a disgusting hippy if I don't. I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem. So are you.
And now, let's talk about the hooha. When I was a teenager, it was a standard thing to shave your bikini line, because bathing suits were getting tinier and you didn't want anyone to know that you, just like every other human on the planet, have pubic hair. For some reason, we had to keep that a secret. Anyways, the shaving really only had to be done up to where the suit ended.
Nowadays, people are doing landing strips, "brazillians", and going completely hairless. Completely hairless! I can see only one advantage to this practice: no hair stuck in the teeth while performing cunnilingus. And if you find the man or woman who is dining SO OFTEN at the Y that they have to insist that a woman have no hair whatsoever, I need to meet him or her.
I do see about a million disadvantages to the practice, though. First of all, THESE WOMEN LOOK LIKE CHILDREN. Creepy. Real creepy. Second, shaving down there isn't an exact science. I'm talking folds, peaks, valleys...it's not the same as shaving a leg. And you're going at your most sensitive parts with a fucking RAZOR BLADE (or, if you're me, 4 blades, a la Shick Quattro) which, when you think about it, is real, real dumb. Third, there's upkeep. Like major, daily upkeep. And if you skip a day, there's some hard-core itching. So once you go bare, unless you're waxing (and I don't even need to paint THAT mental picture for you) you're pretty much going to have to stay hairless. Or schedule a long weekend at home where no one cares if you're scratching your labia raw.
And conversely, I see only male porn stars shaving their pubes, and that is supposed to be only to make their wangs look longer. (And ps, doesn't fool anyone, dude.) And when I do see a shorn male, it looks...freakish. I mean hell, dongs are freakish already, and we shouldn't advocate making them appear even freakisher.
So where does that leave me, specifically, on the whole gender grooming issue? Men have it easier. Social convention forces women to continue to shave. I hate shaving. I will continue to shave. I am part of the problem. I suck. But then, so do you.
Thank you. Good night.
I believe it was Cary Grant who once said, "If I am forced to look at a fellow and talk to him, the least he could do is comb his hair and brush his teeth." I believe it was also Cary Grant who was addicted to LSD, but that's beside the point. When he wasn't beating off purple tigers that were landing on his face and imagining "a world of healthy, chubby little babies' legs and diapers, and smeared blood, a sort of general menstrual activity taking place," Mr. Leach was waxing spot on about a plague that has racked humanity since the advent of the shower: Grooming standards and some people's failure to adhere to them.
It never ceases to astonish me how many people refuse to take pride in their personal appearance. Yes, I know not everybody was born with voluminous hair and perfectly straight teeth, but that doesn't mean we, as a whole, can't daily run a brush across either. Even if your genes have saddled you with some pendulous facial protuberance or other frailty that society deems less than beautiful, why wouldn't you put a little effort into mitigating or drawing attention away from your plight? Grooming practices are relative to the individual; personal taste, style and genetics are all factors in how we take care of ourselves and the way we look. Being as such, your personal appearance is an aspect of self expression. As terrible as it may be, humanity is one big prejudiced, reactionary, judgmental high school clique. How you look speaks volumes: Who you are, for what you stand, how much money you make, what you do for a living, sexual proclivity, dietary habit and even religious belief is information available to the world at a glance, all because of your personal appearance. Regardless of whether this is right or wrong it's the way things are and it's ridiculous that anyone would present themselves in any way other than their relative best. Yet we see it everyday…
…and we see it mostly in men. Beige asked for us to be fair; not to go too easy on our own gender. As far as men's grooming standards go, I'ma get fucking fierce. It pains me to see other gentlemen walking about either completely clueless as to how absurd they look or delusional to the point that they think they look good. Starting with the easiest: Hair. There is no reason why men's hair should be anything less than orderly. With the bevy of products, implants, shit…even surgery available, a man with a full head of hair has no excuse not to have decent looking coiffeur on any given day. Men's hair should reflect them personally and…for the love of god…be topical and/or current. Mullets and bowl cuts are never acceptable. Ever. For men with hair that is thinning or balding, you can still look good. Take a leaf out of Stewart or Willis's tome: Keep it short and sexy. Comb-over = youwillbemasturbatingtoscrambledcablepornin yourmother'sbasementfortherestofyourlife. Please have some self respect. I grow weary of laughing at you.
Speaking of tired, will someone please put the mustache to sleep? There are approximately 4 men on whom a mustache is palatable and they were all in Tombstone. Facial hair is another excellent way for most men to express themselves. I've attracted the attention of many a lady-type with my facial hair (I am not kidding). Why would anyone wield this foil so poorly, nay, fall on it by wearing ridiculous facial hair? A mustache and it's bizzarro opposite, The " Lincoln", are examples of fashions that should not even be options. There should be some sort of gene that causes men's faces burn horrifically if they have a mustache or Lincoln for more than 3 minutes. Once again, it depends on the individual. On some people, these things work. For most, however, a full beard (kept neat according to taste) or sideburns (up to and including chops) are as far as you should go. Goatees are pretty post, but still acceptable.
Gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine. She's little, highly squeezable but can still take a goodly amount of abuse…which is great because I've taken her places so ugly it would leave hardened criminals pissing themselves in the corner of their cells. Her name is tweezers. Use her. In your nose. Fucking PLEASE. I know it's not a place we normally look when we're giving ourselves the once over before stepping out the door, but if I can see tufts of hair sprouting from your nostril like amber waves of grain, it's time to harvest, motherfuckers. Don't leave them for me to watch flapping in the wind as you talk because, trust me, that's all I'm focusing on. I fear them as the animated Japanese school girl fears the tentacocks of cephalopodaic manga demons. While you're at it, Thufir Hawat, don't be afraid to use that bitch to hedge your flocculent brow. You don't need to go sculpty or nothin' but if you got a coupla caterpillars up there, you might want to think about morphing them into beautiful butterflies.
Now, before everyone gets all, "Damn, Rob…I thought you were a guy. Why you getting' all Queer Eye on us?" you should know that there are some grooming habits for men that I abhor. For instance: Waxing, for men, should be reserved for the back only. Guys who wax their bodies and go completely hairless are fucking pussies and should have their testosterone card revoked tut de suite. Furthermore, men's hands and bodies should be, at least, a little calloused. Lotions, balms and salves that soften your skin also soften your masculinity. While I'm a big fan of bathing in general, the length of a man's shower, minus however long it takes to rub one out, should never exceed 7 minutes. As George Carlin once put it so adroitly, " Let me tell you something, my well-scrubbed friends. You don't always need to shower every day. It's overkill. All you really need to do is wash the four key areas: armpits, asshole, crotch and mouth. That's all. And you can save yourself a lot of time by simply using the same brush on all four areas."
Obviously, the above statement on bathing is something of a simplification. I stand firm on how long a man's shower should take, however I disagree with Carlin on the frequency of bathing. If you go out in public every day, you should clean your body… every day. The only thing more offensive than having to look at your unkempt and ugly ass, and this goes for the women, too, is having to smell your unkempt and ugly ass. Olfactory presence is key. It's true that scent is keenly tied into memory. Do you want to be mistaken for the smelly person? Men: Use underarm deodorant and, if necessary, an aftershave or cologne that compliments you and your body chemistry. Nothing more. It's not a sin to put some thought into this either, guys. Find a good scent and it will last you for years. Ladies: Do the same but feel free to go further with it. For you, complimentary scents that also work with your body chemistry is the sexy twist of the knife that adds insult to injury. I've encountered women whom I normally wouldn't think about sexually but because they smelled so god damned good, my mind wouldn't let me go anywhere else. Smell good. It's crucial.
Speaking of the ladies, I find it much more difficult to harsh on you and your grooming practices. What with societal standards telling the average woman that she must work her ass off to be beautiful as a rule, it kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth to be authoritative about how you must groom to putt par with me. But, fuck it. I'm not here to pussyfoot about the issues. I'm here to tell you how things should be.
Basic rule of thumb*: If it's going to be exposed, it should be hairless. Of course I'm talking about legs, underarms, face or any other visible part of the body where unseemly hair might sprout. If you're going to be wearing feminine clothing such as a skirt, crop or halter top or a strappy dress, your body should look feminine to compliment the statement that you're making with your clothes. Body hair is not feminine.
Hair on the head, however, in usually always feminine, no matter what the style. (The exceptions, of course, are once again, mullets and bowl cuts…er, sorry…Dorothy Hamiltons.) Short hair, long hair, no hair: Usually all good to me. I ask that women put some thought into how the hair frames their face when they go to get it styled/cut. At the time of this writing I can't stop thinking of this girl I know who has hair shorter than most men but how it frames her face and compliments her personality freaking kills me it's so stunning. I also ask that women not be afraid to be adventurous with their hair when they style it in the morning or before they go out. If you can pull it off, don't be afraid of the braids or the pig-tails or the braided pig-tails. If it works on you…it works on you. Nobody's gonna think you're some little hussy with an Electra complex looking for a spanking from daddy…but does it really hurt if secretly they do?
You know, I can take or leave finger nails aesthetically. I do like the look of a set of well manicured nails, and I love the feel of fingernails on skin/scalp, but I don't need them. If you're gonna grow them out, keep them at a relatively uniform length. If you want to get yourself a nice manicure, go for it. It can only help. You don't need to have spectacularly painted nails, but you should keep them looking good with at least a bit of clear lacquer, if just to keep them strong.
That all said…pedicured toes with a little french tip equals hhhhhhhhHHHOT!
Finally, ladies: Make up. I'll be honest, you don't need it. I'll be doubly honest, you look better with it. When you want to look tasty, a little base or powder will do. When you want to look hot, add some eyeliner. When you want to look positively stunning cum fuckable; lipstick and mascara. That's all. Don't go nuts. That's our job.
I hate to belabor, but how we look is who we are. Yes…we are all beautiful on the inside but if we don't take care of what's on the outside, who's going to want to get close enough to find out? Personal appearance is also a form of expressing yourself. Without it, you may as well be a formless voice…a stream of ones and zeros…a series of…posts… on…the we…
Wait…can I take back some of the shit I've been saying?*Apropos that I should begin what could easily be a sexist tirade with a sexist cliché.