I originally had another topic I wanted to discuss today, but then something came up that just felt more pressing. By “came up,” I mean this literally just popped into my head last night while I was working on one of my novels. I admit I tend to think strange, twisted thoughts after a certain hour of the night. A lack of sleep and a couple glasses of whiskey will do that to a man, especially if he thinks a lot about romance/erotica.
However it came to me, it’s something that needs further contemplation. It has to do with a very specific trait pertaining to male sexuality and no, it has nothing to do with the size of certain organs. It has to do with something that we, as a society, can’t seem to decide whether is sexy. So for your consideration, here is the burning question I have to ask.
Is chest hair on a man considered sexy?
It may seem like a trivial detail. There are far more relevant traits and behaviors that improve a man’s sex appeal. We can cook, dance, sing, fight, play sports, play instruments, and shave our asses on a dare. Those are all perfectly valid mechanisms for moistening the panties of women and/or gay men, but what about chest hair?
This isn’t just relevant to my work as an erotica/romance writer where I have to be exceedingly graphic about all those sexy attributes that make a male character want to ditch his shirt. It’s also personal. I come from a family where most, if not all, of the men have a modest to abundant amount of chest hair. For the women in my life, present and future, that makes this somewhat pressing for me.
Yes, I do have chest hair. I’ve actually had some amount of chest hair since I was 19-years-old. I’m won’t I was the first guy in high school to get chest hair, but I’m fairy confident that I was in the top ten percentile. Over time, the amount of chest hair has grown. I’ve never shaved it, nor have I felt inclined to do so, but I find myself asking should I?
It’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer. Chest hair on men is one of those oddly neutral features. Men can have chest hair and be sexy. Men can be as waxed as a newly-minted Ferrari and be just as sexy. Women and gay men in general don’t seem to care either way.
Despite this, the issue of male grooming is still an ongoing discussion. There are no shortage of products and tips for men seeking to shave their chest. Sure, the discussions aren’t as heated as those surrounding pubic hair, but it’s one of those discussions that nobody seems to finish.
We can joke all we want about pubic hair. I’m sure I’ll do a post about that at some point and I doubt that post will be SFW, but chest hair should be less taboo because genitals aren’t involved. Even so, it’s still a topic we refuse to take seriously.
In fact, the closest that recent popular culture has come to addressing this issue was in an old episode of Seinfeld. It’s actually one of my favorite episodes of this show, among many, but it’s a nice metaphor for the issue at hand.
Jerry finds that some women do appreciate a clean-shaven chest, but as he so often does, he finds a way to complicate things. Kramer offers insight, albeit the eccentric type. It’s not entirely relevant, but it is funny.
As a rule of thumb, I think that when a topic finds its way into an episode of a sitcom, then it’s gotten to a point where we, as a society, are stuck on this issue. We can’t figure it out so we make a few jokes about it. It’s immature and goofy, but it can still be funny and that’s better than nothing.
This is also one of those issues where applying caveman logic just doesn’t seem to work. Body hair isn’t so much an integral part of our biological wiring as it is a holdover from our hairy ancestors. For a time, hair had its uses. It provided insulation from cold nights on the savanna. As conditions changed and evolution responded, this just wasn’t necessary anymore.
As a result, evolution basically stopped giving a shit about body hair. It didn’t do a way with it. Evolution is not that efficient. It can be downright eccentric though. Humans are unique in that they’re one of the few primates that lost most of their body hair and science isn’t quite sure why, but there are a few theories.
Whichever theory proves correct, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re still stuck with body hair to some extent. Evolution is basically taking the stance of a dismissive teenager going, “Sure. You want to keep it? You want to ditch it? Do whatever the hell you want.”
That makes for some frustration, but at least it leaves men a bit of flexibility. Hair isn’t like a limb. Cut it off and it grows back. If one lover hates chest hair, you can shave it off and not worry about missing out on lovers who prefer it. As a man, I appreciate and value flexibility in my personal grooming, but I’m still somewhat torn here.
So for the ladies and gay men out there, what say you? Is chest hair sexy? Is a lack of it sexier? Under what circumstances is it sexy? At what point does it cease being sexy? As an erotica/romance writer, I really need to know these things. Any help that anyone could offer on this issue would be greatly appreciated.