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.
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!
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:
– Hair-by-hair plucking
– Singeing with hot ashes
– Singeing with a burning lamp
Have you ever tried hair-by-hair plucking of any meaningfully large area? Shudder. Plus trying to do this with some wooden thingies instead of a Tweezerman would just take forever. So no wonder they thought that a good alternative would be, you know, holding up something hot to their poor naughty bits and burning off all their hair.
Oh, wait, that is not a good idea even to escape tweezing. Can you imagine what it would be like if your preparation for a date involving potentially burning your genitals off? I would never leave the house.
And it’s not like the Greeks had some secret fire-proof ladybits. They thought that the process was so unpleasant that in comic plays, like those of Aristophanes, male characters are frequently punished with forced depilation. (Actually, this is giving me ideas for dealing with my boyfriend’s demands).
Lest you think that the Greeks were impossibly, uniquely weird, let me direct your attention to a product currently ubiquitous in late-night infomercial land: the No! No! Hair Removal system. Besides having the most annoying name ever, this device is “thermodynamic,” which means that it uses a wire to burn away hair at the same time as shaving it. They even tell you that the process is “characterized by odor” (i.e., the stench of burning hair).
This woman is basically an ancient Greek prostitute, only her lamp has an extension cord
So, were the Greeks really all that weird? To that question, I give a hearty “No! No!”