We all now know what men really think, but would women present a more balanced view? We asked 10 willing volunteers to share their honest opinions on the hairy subject of manscaping
So we’ve asked men to share their honest thoughts about women’s body hair - now it’s the women’s turn.
While we’re strong advocates of making your grooming/beauty choices based on what makes YOU feel good, not a prospective date, following our previous survey we couldn’t help but be a little bit curious as to whether a group of 10 women might provide a more, well, balanced viewpoint of men’s body hair compared to our male volunteers. Throw into the mix the fact that it's National Beard Week too and there couldn't be a better time than now to find out.
From topiary turn-ons to manscaping gone wrong, here’s what our willing group of ladies had to say when asked about their male hair removal dos and don’ts.
“I've noticed a lot more of a ‘let it all hang out’ trend in male facial and body hair lately - gone are the perfectly manicured Craig David beards of old as well as fewer Ken doll shiny chests on the beach. In my mind this is a good thing as there's a lot to be said for not trying too hard - I don't shave my legs everyday but try to maintain a ‘groomed’ body hair situation for the most part depending on holidays I have coming up or leg baring situations. I think the same should go for the men in our lives.
“A bit of a clean-up before an important date or occasion is always appreciated, but equally if a hipster beard is a man's thing, he should rock that too. I think that if a guy expects a girl to be ‘trimmed’ downstairs, he should be too. If he's not bothered though, that's cool, but it's the double standards aspect that bothers me about super hairy men. If they let it all grow wild and free, but expect women to spend time and money, not to mention endure pain, to stay smooth, then that's not okay. A bit of mutual effort, respect, understanding and give and take should solve the debate.”
“I’m going to start this with the disclaimer that I am very weird about hair, generally. I just don’t like lots of it near me, to the point that when a girl with long flowing locks sits or stands next to me on the tube and her hair grazes my bare arm I flinch and have to work out a way to move. Weird, right?
“So, it won’t be a surprise that I don’t like my men too hairy. Long hair on a man is a no-no for me (man buns included) and when it comes to body hair, I tend to be more attracted to those with either naturally less, or fairer hair. For me though, a beard is the biggest turn-off; I once heard a hairdresser explain that it’s harder to dye a beard than a head of hair because it is, in essence, pubic hair. I hadn’t liked beards before but suffice to say I’ve hated if not feared them ever since, and would much rather a clean-shaven (stubbly at most) man any day. If it helps, though, I don’t know anyone with the same opinion - the world’s gone beard mad!
“That said, I also don’t expect men to groom themselves obsessively - my preference is just for naturally less hairy men, not for the overly slick and smooth. And when it comes to, er, down there? Well, seeing as I’m expected to wax, I think the least he could do is have a little tidy. I guess as an obsessively neat person I associate it with hygiene - everything seems a bit cleaner when there’s less fuzz!”
“When it comes to male body hair I have been known to be partial to the odd man bun. I love a beard (provided it’s allowed to roam free as nature intended and not too ‘done’), and chests that have been plucked, waxed or preened in any way is a major turn off for me.
“That being said though, I wouldn’t say it’s a determining factor when it comes to deciding whether I would date someone or not - ultimately if a guy can make me laugh, has a glint in his eye and a somewhat mischievous grin, it doesn’t really matter. Manners are what maketh the man, not his body hair. Oh, and banter.”
“Personally I think it really depends where we're talking about - I love a guy with facial hair, particularly rugged stubble and I can be partial to a hipster beard too. However, I'm really not into chest hair, especially when it pokes over the top of shirts a la Austin Powers.
“The same goes for arms - when they're too fluffy it can start to look a bit monkey-esque. Having said that though, I'd probably find it a bit weird if a guy spent a lot of time grooming/waxing - for example no leg hair is an absolute no-no. I guess in general keep it natural but contained…”
“If I’m being honest, I must say that I love a decent magic carpet and to let my fingers run through a man’s chest. It makes me feel like I'm his Jane and he my Tarzan. Completely hairless men make me feel uneasy, it means they spend more time preening than I do and to me they wind up looking like skinless chickens with goose-pimples left where their feathers should be. A trim down there is always appreciated and back hair is a different ball game - who knows when they might transform into a woolly mammoth.”
“Despite getting up on my feminist high horse when it comes to societies’ ridiculous expectation for the female body to be as naked, hairless and infantilised as a literal baby, I'm a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to the male of the species. I'm a complete sucker for hyper-masculine facial and hair chest; any threat of beard-removal from my boyfriend is met with much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Gender stereotypes all round, please.
“However, after some, ahem, extensive research I have concluded that the Scandinavian approach to grooming is deeply sexy. Brit men just don't seem to realise when the line between rugged and hairy-bear has been crossed. Manscaping is only polite if you expect someone to get up close and personal, and besides, it really highlights the ‘main attraction.’ Also, there is nothing worse than nestling into someone’s arms only to wake up with your hair smelling like literal armpit. Let's ditch the double standards and force British men to get in touch with their metrosexual side. I'm only going to wax when you do...”
“The long and short of is it that I will always prefer men that are au naturel. The only real exception to this is that an unkempt beard is always a no-no in my book (neat and tidy stubble being ideal) but other than that I see no reason why everything else shouldn't be left well alone. While threaded/waxed brows are my ultimate grooming faux pas for men (seriously, what are you thinking fellas?!) I can't for the life of me understand what would possess any man to wax or shave to the point of looking pre-pubescent. Beyond baffling.”
“For facial hair, it's a fine balance between too much and not enough to look manly. There’s always the risk of stubble rash, but I would always prefer a bit - and less is more!
“It’s again a yes from me for chest hair - but not too dense! I’m definitely not a fan of a thick back rug too. I feel men should share women's pain and invest in a good wax! As for ‘other’ areas - yes - but just no forests for me.”
“I wouldn’t say that I’m the biggest fan of beards or moustaches - I think mostly because I’ve been put off in the past when bits of food have gotten caught in them...it seems slightly unhygienic.
“As for ‘other’ hair - as nature intended! Apart from ear hair...”
“I have to say I was a little shocked to read some of the men's takes on body hair. Since when has everyone become so hair-ist?! Especially ‘no-hair-below-the-eyebrows-Chris’ (sorry Chris, my eyelashes are staying...). To be honest, I find waxing such a pain in the ass, and I'm fair skinned! I can't even imagine what it must be like for girls who have more hair than me.
“At the end of a waxing appointment my beautician often asks - ‘Would you like to book a course of 5 sessions for £260.00?’ I recoil and edge slowly towards the door, then forget to book another session for at least a few months (recovery period). So, needless to say my personal upkeep could be improved, but I neither have the time nor inclination to make it a regular thing in my life. I live my life more in the emergency chord of, ‘get this fuzz off me after prolonged periods’ existence.
“So, as for the men: I am absolutely not into guys who wax. Full stop. Back, sack and crack. Yuk. To me, it all feels incredibly vain. I do feel slightly sorry for men who have really hairy backs (i.e. hair which looks like it’s trying to leap for freedom from underneath their shirt collars), so I would probably be more sympathetic if that were the case, but anything else is a no-go. I think stick to your natural fuzz and wear it with confidence you hairy monkeys.”