• Wed, Oct 24 2012

Beauty Trends From History: How To Shave Without A Razor

Don’t let your boyfriend read this column. Especially not if your boyfriend looks at pornography and makes puppy dog eyes while pleading with you to remove every single hair down there. How do you deal with this? I have frequently pointed out that untold generations managed to lead satisfying sex lives before the mass deforestation started by late ‘80’s porn.

But it turns out that smoothness down below is not just an invention of late stage capitalism. Nope. Turns out that the ancient Greeks, alongside being masters of art, literature, philosophy, and toga parties, were also quite skilled at getting their women to engage in pubic hair depilation.

Really, Aphrodite had nothing to hide

And boy howdy, do scholars love to write about it. Did you know there are professors who specialize in tracking public hair styles across history?  If I’d had one in college I can just imagine the awesome dioramas I would have made.

Anyway, these professors have scrutinized images of ancient Greek women to figure out the hair situation. Also blowing my mind is the fact that the ancient Greeks produced so many images of women in situations allowing for the scrutinizing of their naughty bits. But apparently, the Greeks, just like your grandpa in the ‘50’s, liked to decorate their booze cups with pictures of naked girls.

Like this one – drink a cupful of wine, and once you get to the bottom of the cup, you’ll see a picture of a woman peeing into a bucket. Haha, it’s like she was peeing into your wine cup!

This is what class looks like

Scholars have concluded that the ancient Greek ladies preferred “partial depilation” – not a full Brazilian, but more of a landing strip approach.

But. BUT. Razors? Waxing? Depilatory creams? Guess who didn’t use these? The Greeks. The ancient Egyptians figured out waxing, the Romans invented proto-Nair, but the Greeks couldn’t even get it together to hammer out a piece of sharp metal. Instead, we know from ancient images and literature that Greek women rendered themselves pubic-hair free by one of three methods. In order of horrible to most horrible, they were:

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  • Stella L.

    I remember reading a book once on the (famously lewd) graffiti from Pompeii, and one of them was a dude comparing shaved and unshaven lady parts. Don’t remember which one he liked better, but, still – there is nothing new under the sun.

  • Tara

    I find it at least annoying and at worst offensive that you assume all boyfriends are anti-pubic hair.

    • Cee

      I don’t think she means all boyfriends and it seems to be in jest. Save the offense for other things, like your second poptart not having enough frosting as the first one (WHY?!). I’m sure your boyfriend loves that you don’t shave. Good for you, he’s a grown up. But, there are many men children out there that think its a-ok to unblinkingly ask their significant other to shave their pubic area or because that’s what they’re used to or they wont got down on them or they wont get as excited about seeing them naked..and so on. Go to any female ran blog and you will read the stories, better yet, ask your friends, surely one of them has had such an experience. At the very least all ladies can do is trade stories and make a joke out of it.

  • Amanda

    Does anyone else find the want for hair-less private parts a little bit disturbing? I mean, it has an odd pedophile-y vibe. And I’m not calling men who like it pedophiles, I’m just saying that it just seems odd to me that men would want us to make our privates hairless like a child.

    • http://twitter.com/danielucha1310 Danielucha.

      I don’t find it that disturbing. I’m a gal, and I *hate* having hair in my naughty bits, not to please a man, but for myself…I walk and jog, and sweat a lot – so…. it could get hairy (yeah, pun intended). It’s a matter of hygiene.

  • Sarah

    My husband and I discuss this constantly-but the other way around. I hate having pubic hair and I don’t mind it on him one bit. He on the other hand, can’t stand that I shave at all.

  • It’s a subset of OCD.

    I have trichotillomania, and I pluck my underarms and pubic hair. If I’m really stressed out (read: have run OUT of underarms and pubic hair I wish to pluck) I go after my legs.

    For me this is a great compromise. I like not having hair on certain parts of my lady bits, and I like not having underarm hair, and plucking is really comforting for me. Before I began plucking hair in places that baldness is socially acceptable, I ripped out my eyebrows, eyelashes and tore skin from my feet. The feet thing was really painful. Hair plucking with tweezers? Not so bad. I do ten to fifteen minutes before bed, stretching the skin tight – it’s not so horrible for me. Ripping it all out with hot wax? THAT seems horrible.