Eli and Josie offer advice to a guy concerned about his naturalist girlfriend’s body hair.
A note from Eli and Josie: This post is in response to Dear Prudence, an advice column at Slate.com. We were deeply bothered the advice offered by Emily Yoffe (Prudence) to the man asking a very sensitive, vulnerable question about his girlfriend, who prefers to keep her body hair natural. We feel the advice of, “I’ve got one word for your girlfriend: electrolysis” completely fails to address the issue, and worse, disrespects his girlfriend’s identity as a naturalist, and his respect for that identity.
Below, we offer our own response to the following question from Slate.com:
[Dear Sexes:]”I love my girlfriend very much and at the age of 27 feel like I’m finally with somebody who I could spend my life with. I have been supportive of her naturalist attitude regarding hair removal and even find her hairy pits, legs, and other parts sexy. The trouble is that she also has scattered hairs growing across her chest and about a dozen long ones around each nipple.
How can I explain to her that although I support her natural ways and was well aware of her preference going into things, that a little bit of [removal] would go a long way? It’s the nipple hair that really throws me. When I’ve brought it up she’s acted offended and explained to me that it’s natural for women to get hair all over. She says she could pluck them but they will just grow back. I’m really falling for this girl but am fearful that as we age it’s going to become more and more of a turn off until our sex life is dead.”
She Said: Here’s the truth, flat-out: Your girlfriend’s body hair is important to her. By not removing it, she’s saying, “I accept myself fully, exactly as I am” and nothing and no one is going to change that about her.
You’re clearly an open-minded, good-hearted and loving guy and you deserve a lot of credit for going against the tide on this one. There are almost no mainstream examples of women in our society who choose to accept their body hair, and as a woman who spent many years embracing mine, I can tell you that there is a lot of pushback against those of us who resist the deeply-engrained tradition of shaving, waxing, plucking and whatever else.
If you’re turned off by the chest hairs, you’ll have to be honest with her, as it sounds like you have been. But this hair is a part of who she is. And I assume It’s a part of what you love about her—-her fierce independence and commitment to what she believes is right. But if it’s a deal-breaker for you, it’s best to be completely honest about it.
If you’ve done the work to try to get past it (and it sounds like you have) and are still coming up against the same issue, you have to be true to yourself about what turns you on. You deserve a life full of desire, and she deserves a relationship with someone who is desirous of her exactly how she is.
That doesn’t mean you’re creating a false ultimatum of “tweeze your nips or I’m out”, it just means that you’re accepting your own turn-ons and turn-offs just as she accepts her body hair. Discuss the issue with love, lots of love, and perhaps you’ll reach a middle ground together. If not, you’re still a good man if you move on.
He Said: You and your girlfriend are only going to get hairier and weirder looking as you age, so if you’re freaking out about this whole body hair thing now, I’m not sure what the future will look like. Well that’s not completely true. As I look into my crystal ball, I can see a few things. In 20 years, you’ll need your girlfriend’s chest and nipple hair to cover your then balding head. So… you might want to make sure your girlfriend saves all the body hair she has at present. You’ll thank me one day.
Seriously though, even if your girlfriend is a naturalist, that doesn’t mean she’s without insecurity, regarding her own body hair. Maybe she does the natural look, because she’s just trying to accept who she is. That doesn’t mean she’s completely and totally accepted it already. Telling her to shave her hairs (or get rid of them), could really make her feel like crap.
If you must persist, you could coyly try a “let’s shave each other” night. Take a sensual, romantic approach in your quest. Think candles, soothing music, and essential oils (or body lotions). And come prepared with a sharp blade. Also, if you feel you must ask her to shave/wax/etc… some of her hair, then you should step up to the plate and offer to shave/manicure something of yours, just the way she likes.
If that doesn’t work, you could plan a spa day together. Then you’re both being pampered and manicured. Beyond that, you could reassure your girlfriend that you love her for who she is. If you can’t do that sincerely, and still find a way to be turned on (by this woman you love), maybe you should just go find yourself a smoother lady.
Originally appeared at She Said He Said
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