My almost 50-year-old friend recently told me that "hers" isn't as pretty as it used to be -- she's growing back the hair. That brave declaration led me to an awkward hour later that evening which involved a mirror and the many different positions I might've found myself in if I happened to be having porn sex.
I was grateful to live alone.
My now-grown daughters always felt my bedroom was a mere extension of theirs and had they barged in that night, there wouldn't be enough therapy in the world.
I started getting a monthly Brazilian wax in my 30s. My first from the famous J. Sisters, during a trip to New York City. Nearly two decades later, widowed, and a few months past 50, I was questioning all sorts of things. Lofty ponderings such as the meaning of life, my own journey of reinvention, and could I find love again? Why not add another that only the most enlightened woman on her own spiritual pilgrimage might ask: Bald or bush?
At the end of the 60-minute self-exploration I confidently declared, "Well, mine is still pretty," and then had a flashback to my summer beach vacation. The same wise friend had transitioned to one-piece swimwear. I had not. I'm rockin' this bikini, I thought as I strutted from my beach chair to the sea. The photos that others took and then posted on Facebook told a different story. I struggled to identify the blonde with the muffin-top and then horror hit as I recognized the backside of my own teal swimsuit.
Was a bit of hair down there the equivalent of the sarong I should've wrapped around my former six-pack? What is the age limit for taking it all off, and how does one decide? What about laser hair removal? Would that permanent option become the Mötley Crüe tattoo or oversized breast implants of future awkward conversations? Something one might explain to a gynecologist or new lover with a chagrined, "I did that when I was much younger."
What I once deemed superfluous might rapidly have transitioned into valuable camouflage.
I needed an age-appropriate male perspective. When questioned, a friend told me that he'd quit dating a woman because she was too old. I clarified that she was 15 years younger yet he insisted her age was the issue. "She has hair down there. Lots of it, and doesn't even trim. Younger women know better."
This critique came from a man who qualifies for Social Security and whose back hair could be braided.
His opposing view only added to my indecision, so I conducted my own investigation. While in the locker room, I sat on a bench and pretended to text as I discretely checked out the ladies. There was an absolute correlation between age and pubic hair. The younger the woman, the less hair she had. I didn't see anyone my age who was bare.
Perhaps I had become That Woman. You know her. She's the one we shake our heads about. She's dressed as her former self -- low-cut shirt, crepey cleavage exposed, or a micro mini and six-inch platform shoes that only accentuate the droopy skin around her knees and perfectly pedicured hammertoes. The woman who thinks she can still pull it off but can't and is the last one to know. Always comfortable with my own nudity in the gym locker room, I now imagined the younger women around me catching a glimpse of my hair-free zone and thinking, now that is just so wrong.
I've decided it's time to call on the professionals. It's my view that intervention training should be a requirement of the licensing process for aestheticians. I believe we need the unbiased guidance from the experts who could calmly state as we lie on the table, naked from the waist down as they evaluate the situation, "Listen, sister, this is looking a bit tired. Happens to the best of 'em. It's time for some ground cover."
What do you think? I'd love to hear from both men and women on this "critical" subject. For those of you that feel this is distasteful or trite, please don't check out my blog. You'll be completely appalled at the ridiculous things I write about as I document one year of my foray into the jungle of online dating at 50 years old.