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The Beauty Of The Full Bush
I'm reminded of the time that Gregg came over to bring me a drink after Elmore and I had been talking for a while at his Christmas party. "What were you talking about?" he asked. Gregg grew up Catholic, and it was his boss, so I told him I thought he'd rather not know. He still wanted to know. "Oh, the beauty of the full bush," I said. And the style to trim it down to a landing strip/Hitler mustache. Heh heh...typical Elmore.

Turns out modern western women (and gay men) and Christopher Hitchens (who had a hilarious spa-turn in VF in October) aren't the only ones who have a thing for hair pruning. Muslim women are pruners as well. Janice Turner writes for the Times/UK:

Is Islam suggesting that the human form, created by God, must be perfected by Man, assisted by the Gillette Mach 3? Why in the West is the pubic bush, the most luxuriant manifestation of our sexual hormones, now universally condemned as “unsexy”?

According to some Islamic teaching both men and women are obliged to shave their pubic hair. In men it is part of the fitrah, the cleansing rituals, which also include circumcision, cutting nails and armpit hair, and trimming the moustache. And one can only reflect that males of all faiths (and none) would benefit from such a tough toilette to-do list from an early age, particularly those living in hotter climates. But Muslim women too are enjoined to be hairless, particularly preceding their weddings, and often to remain extensively manicured afterwards for reasons of cleanliness and purity.

Yet in the West such hairlessness in women denotes the inverse: in fact, a hot-hot-hot impurity, a 24/7 readiness for all-night dirty bedroom action. Such is the strength of this assumption that, when a website specialising in sick war snaps by US servicemen posted a photograph of an Iraqi woman injured in an explosion, revealing her bare and shaven lower half, American posters commented that she must be a lapdancer or a whore.

...But as Western women are slaves to the diktats of fashion and beauty industries, likewise Islam preoccupies itself with all matters of intimate grooming. In North London, Bushra Noah, a 19-year-old British-born Muslim, is suing a North London hair salon for refusing to employ her because she demanded to wear a headscarf at work. The young owner of Wedge argues it is part of a stylist's job to showcase the salon's creativity in her own funky do.

Would it feel comfortable, I wonder, to have your hair cut by someone who believes that merely sipping coffee in the salon, with your head publicly revealed, is immodest, even obscene? Why anyway would a devout Muslim want to cut women's hair? There are endless scholarly writings interpreting the Koran's position on this: some suggest that women's hair should not be cut at all, or only if it reaches beyond the base of the spine, others that styles favoured by non-believers are banned — but all agree women's hair should never be so short she might be mistaken for a man. So how could Ms Noah square her avowed faith with a client opting for a Britney?

But then she is not fighting to wear the headscarf out of religious faith. Like the West Yorkshire teaching assistant who demanded to obscure her face while teaching infant children, the veil is a cultural weapon. It is a statement of separation from — and declared opposition to — the secular society in which she was raised, which she expects wholly to accommodate her impossible wishes, while she herself will not budge an inch.

In our war of ideas, the body is a key battlefield, and hair, as Samson discovered, is power.

To de-fur or not to de-fur...that is the question.

Posted by aalkon at November 10, 2007 1:32 PM


You'd appreciate this (but may have already read it on theparisblog): Latest Paris slang -- the pubic style we call a 'landing strip' is known as a 'metro ticket'.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at November 10, 2007 8:12 AM

Hilarious. For the uninitiated (to the Métro), here 'tis:

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 10, 2007 8:20 AM

Stu, can you post the TheParisBlog link? Can't find it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 10, 2007 8:24 AM

It makes my cock back away.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at November 10, 2007 9:19 AM

Which, the prepube look or foliage?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 10, 2007 9:26 AM

"now universally condemned as “unsexy”

Who the hell says?

Posted by: Todd Fletcher at November 10, 2007 9:42 AM

Older men, I think, are more bush-positive.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 10, 2007 9:44 AM

I like a soft mound of well trimmed hair down there on a woman. Not the Afro-clam, but not Brazillian either...

Guess I'm officially older.

Posted by: eric at November 10, 2007 9:52 AM

Sorry, it was too long ago and the blog has no searchability. It might have been posted by 'Polly-vous francais'.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at November 10, 2007 9:55 AM

I don't know, you'll have to as Adan Jodorowsky.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at November 10, 2007 10:01 AM

Stu has got it right, the métro ticket indeed. Have any of you seen 2 Days in Paris? There is a funny scene where a Frenchie waxes eloquent in disdaining the métro ticket. Quite right, too.

Although I find that some grooming can help sexual satisfaction (less of the bad friction, perhaps), extreme epilation so obviously shouts "pre-pubescent" that is is a cause for alarm for me. Perhaps that is why Muslim men are into it. Alas, my French boyfriend is into the métro ticket, but he has to play barber, because a pussy mohawk is just not a priority for me. Turning a chore into something sexy is a good solution, I think.

Have any of you seen the frames from the latest (perhaps not yet released) Sienna Miller movie "Hippy Hippy Shake"? She is playing a hippy of the late 60s, and does a nude scene, and you guessed it...the fucking métro ticket! ABSURD! Makes me wanna go see "Hair"!

Posted by: liz at November 10, 2007 10:22 AM

as(k). Man, pooched two fabulously witty posts in a row. I blame you, BlackBerry.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at November 10, 2007 11:10 AM

An English xgf once visited a hammam in Istanbul. The other girls all started giggling and pointing, and proudly showed off their infantilised pudenda. She remarked "If I'd known enough turkish I'd have yelled 'Fine, if you're so handy with a razor, how about shaving the moustaches off!'"

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at November 10, 2007 12:22 PM

I am a huge shaving/tight trim fetishist. It's not that I don't think pubes are/can be sexy, it's just that I love the smooth feel and hate pubes in my teeth. It's also a great tool for intimacy and trust. My partner and I shave or trim each other, a true testament of faith in each other.

Aesthetically speaking, I have no objections to pubes. My partner however, has definitely developed an aesthetic objection to long pubes - in men or women. She used to restrict that to women, until the first time we had the sex. Since then she has developed a full on anti-pube fetish.

I find the notion of shaving for religious reasons very amusing. It really makes me wonder though. I first shaved my pubes, back in my experimental days. The guy who convinced me to shave, was of middle eastern descent. He had already explained that he is an atheist, but I have to wonder if his early religious background had anything to do with it.

The whole playing with boys thing really didn't take, dick just isn't my thing. However, shortly after shaving, I had the sex with a woman who was also smooth - I have been hooked since.

Posted by: DuWayne at November 10, 2007 12:28 PM

Have to vote for the landing strip, preferably with LED lights on each side for night flights.

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at November 10, 2007 3:11 PM

She remarked "If I'd known enough turkish I'd have yelled 'Fine, if you're so handy with a razor, how about shaving the moustaches off!'"

Stu, that is absolutely hilarious.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 10, 2007 4:11 PM

The current trend to shave is a weird cultural form of pedophilia. Personally, I think that female pubic hair is beautiful, because it signifies that a woman is mature -- certainly *not* a little girl. That visual cue is evolution's way of telling men that a woman is in her childbearing years.

Posted by: Norm at November 11, 2007 12:37 AM

Have to vote for the landing strip


Does one have anything to do with the other?

Posted by: Doobie at November 11, 2007 1:57 AM

I would describe mine as a putting green, or even a lawn bowling green (but it is not actually green, more blondish). That way it is neat and tidy, but without the painful ingrown hairs.

Posted by: Chrissy at November 11, 2007 8:56 AM

Norm, Norm, why is it that every time this discussion comes up, someone has to make pedophile comments? If you want to feel superior to those who shave, fine. Just please do it without accusing us of one of the most disgusting and horrifying crimes imaginable.

My shaving fetish has absolutely nothing whatever to do with a sexual interest in kids. Nor does most people's. There exist a variety of reasons that people are into it, none of which involve lusting after children.

Pedophilia is a very distinct, relatively rare, sexual abnormality. Pedophiles are not into adult's who lack pubic hair, they aren't into adults period. Pedophiles find children sexually stimulating.

So by all means, ride your high horse. Feel as superior as you like. Because obviously you are. Just don't accuse me of being a fucking pervert in the process, you just ain't that superior asshole.

Posted by: DuWayne at November 11, 2007 10:20 AM

Here's a pubic hair fashion show...a bit long in the lead-up, and NSFW:

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 11, 2007 11:01 AM

Now.... here's the QOTD: what do you reckon Condi has? I say tuft.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at November 11, 2007 1:54 PM

Tuft, absolutely!

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at November 11, 2007 1:57 PM

They named a ship after Condi, and a university after tuft. How about that?

Posted by: Doobie at November 11, 2007 3:00 PM

DuWayne, I spoke of the cultural phenomenon of shaving, and meant no disrespect to you personally. You obviously are a free agent who arrived at your preferences indepentently, and are smart enough not to conform to fads that mold the mindless opinions of so many others these days. My apologies.

Posted by: Norm at November 11, 2007 4:27 PM

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