The bald truth about shaving off pubic hair | Eva Wiseman


More people than ever are opting to go without pubic hair. But what you dont know is how many are injuring themselves in the process, says Eva Wiseman

The revelations in a new American report on pubic grooming just keep on coming. Perhaps its no surprise to you that 76% of people get rid of their pubic hair. Evict it, extract it, uproot it, remove it. Perhaps you too keep a pube-free home, and pride yourself on a paved front lawn, so to speak.

So to speak. Im sorry for the so to speak, which is something one says instead of a winky emoji, isnt it? Or in case the person youre talking to might have missed your half-joke about the lawn. Why did I write that? It must have been to distance myself from the subject which, even in 2017, makes me feel slightly uncomfortable, the idea of all these people spending all this time removing all this hair. And all the dandruff-like flakes of titillation that come with a headline that is genital-adjacent, and all that hair, drifting down toilets to clothe a fatberg, all that hair, matting itself into a jolly throw, for a winter in the sewer. I will keep it in quotation marks so that I can have it all, the discomfort, the distance, and the semi-joke.

Anyway thats not even one of the revelations. Most Americans get rid of their pubes almost 67% of men and just over 85% of women. Fine. If they prefer a pubis that could be mistaken for Stanley Tucci kneeling down to plug his phone in, then who am I to judge? Also, Bros are back! The revelation that stunned me was one hidden in the depths of the data, where few dared to dig. And it revealed that, rather than the thriving industry reality shows would have us believe, waxing salons cater only to a tiny proportion of pube-removers, with only 4% visiting professionals. Whats far more common, at 9%, is for them to get their partners to do it.

Again, my face right now, a sort of Munchian scream, probably reveals me to be the kind of prudish matron that carries doilies with which to cover up seductive table legs. But mates, what, you call him from the bathroom? Jonathan? JONATHAN. My question is, who is that trimmed baldness for, if the only person intended to see it is also the person responsible for monitoring the stubble and extracting the ingrown hairs? For the wearer alone? Sure, but what magical messaging must have been ingrained at 13 years old for 76% of people to feel uncomfortable unless their bum-hairs been stripped away with a roar?

There was a fascinating detail in a YouGov study last year, finding that a relatively small 56% of women believed they should remove their pubic hair, but 72% of them got rid of it anyway. Which was another drip into the water-butt of depression that irrigates my communal garden of feminine shame.

But wait, the main revelation, and indeed the point of the research itself, is that 26% of those who groomed reported that they had sustained at least one injury while doing so. Three per cent of the time [adults] are coming into the emergency department with a genitourinary injury, its with a grooming injury, said Benjamin Breyer, a urologist, and co-author of the study. The state of us. Far be it from me to attempt a John Oliver-style monologue swiftly summing up the problem with x through witty use of facts and swear words in a way that means you will never think muddily again, but BURNS? Of the groomers, 1.4% experienced injuries so severe that they had to seek medical attention. Again, JONATHAN! The injuries varied from cuts, which accounted for 61% of accidents, to burns from hair-removal creams, which took up 23% of the reported injuries; 2.5% said they needed surgical intervention to drain abscesses or close sutures, for example. A pause, to get used to your new life, where you know this, this that you can never unknow.

Because its difficult, after learning the truth, not to look around at our fellow man, the waiter walking gingerly towards the table, the teacher sitting down with care, and imagine the carnival of destruction behind their flies. These burned-out wrecks of once-fast cars, these sites of special scientific interest, now littered with picnic remains and patches of weeping fuchsia. I used to do awful things to my sisters Barbies, but never this. Never this.

Email Eva at or follow her on Twitter @EvaWiseman

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