Our reader is jumping back into the dating pool and is worried about her down-there hair. Should she whip it all off or stay natural? Hattie Sloggett weighs in

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"I'm in a right pickle. I’m in my forties and newly single after 26 years of marriage. I’ve joined some dating sites and am revamping my wardrobe, my hair and my nails and one friend asked whether I had planned to get a ‘proper wax’. It’s not something I’d thought about. When I met my husband we were at uni in the 90s when you trimmed a bit and that was it. My friends tell me that everyone’s hairless these days for a date. What are the expectations? I don’t want to put a guy off but at the same time, I want to feel like me. What should I do?"

Well, I am thrilled that you have asked me, it’s what I am here for. First of all, I want to give you a massive round of applause for getting back on the metaphorical horse. You should be very proud of yourself and the way you are going about dating again, it all sounds incredibly exciting.

In regard to your lady garden and the ‘to have or not to have’ pubic hair debate, the simple answer is that it is up to you and you alone. However, I totally understand that it can be a little overwhelming, especially when there’s the perceived idea that porn-star hairless is the only way to go.

Just as with fashion, makeup, and interior décor (think pampas grass), everything goes in circles. Egyptian women used to remove not only their pubic hair but all their hair, as they thought it was uncivilized. The Romans and the Greeks were much the same and viewed a hairless lady garden as something of a status symbol. In fact, the Greeks were so against pubic hair that young girls were plucked with ancient tweezers from puberty. Ouch! In the 15th-century, the Italian Queen of France Catherine de Medici banned the removal of fuzz for all ladies of the court, submitting them to checks, just in case they sneakily got hold of the garden shears. Sure enough in the 19th century, the bush was back, and with it came the strange upper-class male obsession of collecting ‘love tokens’ – snippets of pubic hair from a lover that were then proudly displayed in their hats. Now though in the age of porn, the trimming of female lawn has become ever shorter and neater until it no longer exists.

For me personally, as a 90s baby, I grew up being told that the ideal was to be freshly plucked and although I am fond of keeping it trimmed I’m not too fussed either way. In my experience, the length of my undergrowth is very much dictated to by who I am courting at the time, whether it’s cold outside, or whether I can be arsed to faff about down there. Also, as the proud owner of vibrant red pubes if I was to be shamed for anything it wouldn’t be the quantity but the colour. Few have tried, none have succeeded – I love my curly wurlies!

Happily though, more women are now choosing to embrace their body hair with sales of shaving and hair removal product dropping since 2015 (although that could be due to the rise of in-salon waxing). And what with the self-love campaign Januhairy picking up traction, here’s hoping we will all start to feel more comfortable doing what feels right for us individually, hair or no hair.

MORE GLOSS: How to do an at-home wax

In a bid to find an answer for you, I reached out to my followers for their opinions and surprisingly (I’m learning something new too), 60 per cent (both men and women) were in favour of pubic hair over none. One guy told me, 'I’m an adult and I’d like them to be too!' with another adding that he finds it provides 'more stimulation' – huh, who would have thought?

One chap was pro-hair removal, claiming that it showed that the lady ‘had made the effort’ but in reality according to a dear male friend of mine ‘whatever it looks like, it still feels great. I’m just happy that I have one to play with.’ I mean, granted, it’s not the most romantic wording, but I think you get the picture. They don’t really care.

As for the ladies, one woman said that she 'used to go Hollywood, but went off it,' proudly adding 'I’m a woman and want to look like it (neatly, of course)', however, another woman contributed 'it’s all about comfort. I feel more comfortable the neater it is.' Which I think is really the nuts and bolts of the decision.

There are so many options, from a neat trim in the form of a bikini wax, to the almost all gone Brazilian, to the famous bare-naked lady Hollywood. And each of us reacts completely differently to hair removal in such a sensitive area. One friend told me 'It’s all well and good until you look down and realise you look like a freshly plucked chicken', which wouldn’t make anyone feel more confident.

MORE GLOSS: The best hair removal options for sensitive skin

Baby Steps  –  DIY Trim

Grab the razor, tidy up the edges, use nail scissors to trim any overzealous runaways, run a hot bath, add tons of oils, salts and essential oils and look at the whole process as an evening of self-care. Finish off, wrapped in your snuggliest robe, face mask on, glass of wine in hand and watching your favourite episode of Sex And The City.

MORE GLOSS: The best at-home hair removal tools, creams and strips

Head On – Take it off, take it all off

They say you should try everything once, so book in at your nearest waxing salon; a good one will take care of everything from trimming, to lotion afterwards - make sure to check they use hot wax not strips, (it is much nicer on your prized possession). Just like dating, you won’t know you like them till you try and if you hate it - it’s only hair, it will grow back. Prepare to feel the breeze in places you didn’t know existed and be sure to exfoliate afterwards to prevent any ingrown hairs .

Full Nuclear – Sod societal conventions

Embrace your flowing lady mane. Who cares what others think? You’ve managed to get to where you are in life without taking any drastic hair removing action, so why start now? You were gifted with a beautiful body, so love the skin you’re in.

Presuming you will be dating men similar in age, I would say that you have nothing to worry about, they have probably seen it all and honestly, they will most likely have their own body hang-ups that they will be far more focused on and be delighted that you want to get intimate with them.  So you really must do what you want – it’s your body, after all.

Got some shame you want to change? Message Hattie at shamechanger@getthegloss.com. Hattie is a confidence and emotional intelligence coach, Master NLP Practitioner and True-Self Advocate. She is so grateful for your emails and reads all of them but cannot reply individually. Names will be withheld if requested and letters may be edited for the wider audience. For a private chat or in-depth consultation find her at www.hattiesloggett.com