Body hair...is it here to stay?

Transferable body hair - it's a factor of age

Transferable body hair - it's a factor of age - Credit: Archant

It looks as if it's going to be all right, after all, writes Lynne Mortimer.

I can relax now, knowing that I am not some sort of hirsute dinosaur. Because, apparently women's body hair is making a comeback... which is just as well because mine never really went away.

Not long ago, I read that young men entering into intimate relationships with the opposite... er... thing had come to expect an absence of body hair... and I'm not talking chest hair, here. I'm talking about the other places: legs, armpits and, yes, down there too. Only head and eyebrows are exempt.

I have tended to dispose of armpit growth. When I was teenager there was a hair removing cream that smelt like rotten eggs and, by the time the smell had worn off, the hair had re-grown. These days, I use a disposable razor. But I genuinely feel that women, as a by-product of the feminist struggle, have fought for the right to brandish hairy armpits and thus should not be ashamed to show 'em off... if that's what they want to do. Equally, I am happy for men to shave their oxters, if they feel so inclined. Most, judging by the sudden, appalling rash of shirtless guys without access to deodorant that broke out in week's lovely sunshine, don't.

Last year, on holiday in Menorca, I found, to my horror that I had forgotten my razors so I borrowed my husband's electric razor. Big mistake. I couldn't put my arms down by my sides. I walked around like a Boeing 737 impersonator for two days.


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'Now you know what men have to endure when they shave their faces,' said an unsympathetic, bearded male friend when I relived this nightmare.

On the basis that I have been shaving my armpits for approximately 47 years, I'm not sure I could cope with attacking any other sensitive little areas. I am in awe, however, of women who keep their nethers deforested. Maybe they are inured to the pain or maybe in some masochistic, 50 shades of pulsating-red-skin way, they rather like it.

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It seems odd that just as men are growing beards and looking very hairy indeed, women are disposing of hair entirely. I infer no symbiotic relationship between these two observations.

But I had become aware that a lot of women have hair-free zones, younger women especially. And before you ask, I do not subscribe to magazines that applaud this sort of behaviour or, indeed, come with a free set of stick-on rhinestones or similar so that you can, as it were, redecorate the area.

Anyway having been resolutely 'with' while so many of the sisterhood my gender are 'without' I am looking to a new phase of celebrating body hair.

'Why body hair shouldn't be taboo,' read the email from Jolen Creme Bleach and went on:

'A growing number of women are rebuffing traditional beauty norms and leaving their body hair to grow naturally. A study... found that almost a quarter of young women between 16-24 are deciding to go au naturel with their armpit hair...'

Without an earlier percentage to go on, I can't confirm this is a 'growing number' of course and it still indicates that more than three-quarters of young women are not going au naturel. They're going 'au... ouch'.

The email continues: 'And more of us are leaving our leg hair long as well, with 6% less of us shaving than three years ago.'

I love hairy legs, though admittedly the two belonging to my husband.

A survey earlier this year revealed 84% of women admit to a little grooming of the frontispiece. I have no problem with this. There was a time when I would remove grey hairs with tweezers. Now? Not enough time in the day, although it is always best to check the summer holiday beachwear.

Swimsuits come with different crotch settings. There are the skimpy ones that cover hardly anything, the 'high rise' that show a bit of hip, and the low rise which covers right to the top of the thigh. For all bar the last type, some amount of trimming might prove sartorially prudent.

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