For some reason it has become very unattractive for men to have any sign of chest hair or back hair in today’s society. Now mind you there are women out there who do like a hairy chest and there are those who are impartial but from advertisements and the way men are being portrayed in the media it appears as if the “ideal man” today is almost completely hairless when it comes to their chests and their backs. Chest and back hair are actually signs of higher testosterone levels, with this chemical acting as the lifeblood of all masculinity. Then how is it possible that in today’s age this sign of masculinity is often frowned upon by both men and women? As with many different ideals of what beauty is, there are certain factors which are socialized into people’s psyche that help them conclude what “attractive” is. No matter how it came to be, the truth of the matter is that back hair, in this day in age, is considered unattractive and disgusting. For millions and millions of men and even some women out there it is real problem that they must deal with.
I used to love to tease my dad about three things. His hairy graying chest hair, his hairy graying back hair, and his little beer gut. I still continue to do so to this day. However, now I am developing 2 out of these 3 traits, which he has passed on to me and, for which he can fire back comments at me about. From teasing my dad about these traits I also moved on to my older brother (by almost 3 years), who has progressed through the stages of life a little faster than me and actually has provided me with a little view of my physical future (a point which I did not really think about at the time), as he began to develop certain qualities of my father such as “chest hair”. I would make fun of him so much as he attempted to groom this hair he disliked…“What you are shaving your chest?” or “What? You are going to maybe wax your chest?” I would ask him questions like this in a poking manner and I would also laugh at him. At first, in response to my actions and words, he would get really angry at me. Then he realized something. I recall one time when I was teasing him that he stopped and looked at me and said “Well, it will happen to you one day too.” I stopped chirping him and I paused. ‘He was right, it would hit me one day too’ and surely enough a couple of years later I was trying the same things he was to rid myself of a hairy chest; trimming it, shaving it once and a while, and even trying some “Nair” hair removal cream. However, I am not really that hairy so it was not too bad. But I did notice that every time I tried to do something to rid myself of it, the chest hair would grow back a little thicker and darker. ‘The roomers were true that it comes back like this.’ I thought no big deal though, chest hair is not that bad, some girls even like it and if I want to I can just shave it off. Then one day the worst possible thing happened…my brother and I were shooting hoops one day outside with our shirts off and I noticed something…I noticed a long, black hair spurting out of his back. I thought, “Oh no!” Then I noticed two or three more. I told him about the hair and he was like “Yeah, I know, it sucks doesn’t it.” He paused and then looked at me and said “Thanks a lot Dad!” as he shook his fist in the air. Good old genetics. (We owed it all to our father: our bowed legs, our muscular physics, our speed, our athleticism, our modesty (ha, ha), our chest hair, and now, the crème de la crème, our back hair.) We both laughed. But neither of us were really laughing on the inside. This time I did not make fun of him because I knew that surely these little devils would soon be in my future. Sure enough a couple of years later I said something about my brothers back hair to my girlfriend and she was like “Well, you have it to.” I was shocked, “I do?” Nobody had told me before that I had back hair, not even her. How would I have known, it is not that often that you examine your own back. I ran to the bathroom and tried to check it out. It was true I had two little patches of hair with a couple of longer, black, thick ones growing in random spots on the body. The same patches and random hairs still sprout up today, a couple of years later. I thought “No!!!!!” and I wondered why she or no one else had pointed them out to me before. That was it, the beginning of my life with back hair; “So now what?” I thought.
If you are one of us, the hundred’s of millions of men out there who suffer from this affliction know that you are not alone. And if you ask why do I have back hair? Realize that your ancestors welcomed it when living in a cave and hunting dinosaurs. Mind you some men suffer from much hairier backs than others and this can cause more problems depending on how hairy you are. But know that even those of us who sprout small occasional patches of hair know your pain and support you in your acceptance and embracement of it or your attempt to kill it!
The truth also involves the fact that women are not going to find back hair attractive! Also it can end up smelling, as hair traps odours, especially during and after you exercise. You might ask yourself “Why can’t people just accept me for who I am and stop being so superficial?” Well, then you would be the biggest hypocrite in the world. Would you date a woman with extremely hairy legs or would you like to look at a magazine full of extremely obese women. You probably answered “NO” to this. It does not make you a bad person; it is just a part of the reality that we as humans are programmed to be attracted to healthy, fit, groomed members of the opposite sex. And in today’s world a ton of back hair does not fit into this mould.
When it comes to your back hair you should be aware that there are a couple of pretty solid options.
- Accept it and live with it. Maybe you are not the self conscious type or maybe you even like the idea of having some extra coverage on your back during the winter months. If you are secure enough with yourself to simply leave and live with your back hair than I salute you. My father shares a similar sentiment as this. He is a “true man” in my eyes. Not caring what anyone thinks of his hairy chest or back. He has actually never touched his chest hair or his back hair. He did grow up in a different generation but I cannot help but respect his lack of caring. Every summer he is outside cutting the grass with his shirt off, chest hair and back hair and all. Mind you he works out and keeps in good shape but if I was so hairy I do not think that I would feel as comfortable.
- For those out there who are more self-conscious and want to rid themselves of their nasty back hair here are some treatment options…
- Shave it off! This sounds easier said than done. By using a traditional razor or an electric razor you can easily remove this body hair from your back; that is as long as there is someone to do it for you or if you are very flexible. There are also products out there which can assist you in shaving this hair off such as the “Razorba”. This product acts as a long handle that holds your razor and allows you to shave your back hair while you look into the mirror. It acts in a similar way to a back-scratcher. You simply place your razor into a slot at one end of this handle shaped device and then you reach it behind you to shave your back (www.razorba.com). Shaving is a fairly painless, quick, inexpensive, do it yourself, non-permanent way to remove the hair.
- Tweeze it out! You could also use the old technique that is often used for removing eyebrow hair, called tweezing, where you use tweezers to remove your back hair. Again like shaving this would be very difficult to accomplish yourself. So you would need to find a very good friend, spouse, or family member (in my case my older brother, who has “got my back” so to speak) to remove your hairs for you this way. It can be a little painful as this method done correctly will actually remove the root. It will not prevent re-growth but it will slow the process. Tweezing has the same benefits as shaving, minus the painless aspect.
- Wax that back! Another option for removing any kind of hair is of course waxing. If you are not familiar with what this involves rent “The Forty-Year Old Virgin” for a great scene involving waxing. It is a painful, sometimes expensive and/or perhaps embarrassing experience. But it also works and it is not permanent. You could get a do-it yourself waxing kit or you could contact your local spa to do it for you. This second option is the best suggestion. It will cost more but it will be done right and by a professional.
- Try a cream? This option is fairly inexpensive and again non-permanent. It involves covering the hair on your back with a cream that dissolves the hair and causes it to “fall off”. It is a painless event but the creams can leave scars. Popular creams include “Nair.”
- Electrolysis. This is the most costly method of hair removal (Could cost thousands of dollars). It will cause the most amount of permanent hair removal. It is painless but the long terms effects are unknown. Consult your doctor and then a professional if considering this option.