Addicted to novelty since 2001

Does each generation face more grooming requirements?

I haven’t asked, but I doubt that any of my male ancestors paid attention to their eyebrows. Yet the woman who cuts my hair–I’ll go ahead and call her my ‘stylist’–always gives them my eyebrows a little trim. And that makes me more aware of them, so I may tame them occasionally between haircuts as well. After all, who wants to look like Andy Rooney?

Is it fair to say that, with each new generation, we face more grooming requirements? Admittedly, grooming has gotten faster–we have fewer powdered wigs to don. However, it seems that over the last hundred years, we’re tweezing, waxing and coiffing more than ever before.

Another example is pubic hair maintenance. In our parents and grandparents generation, any form of pubic hair topiary was the realm of harlots and porn stars. Among today’s young people, it’s apparently more or less a standard practice. I think, for women at least, it’s joined under-arm hair as Something That Needs to Be Dealt With. Once that bell has been rung, you can’t unring it.

This notion occurred to me when I walked past a nail salon in Yaletown and saw two men receiving manicures. That’s a bridge too far for me, but it started me thinking about grooming.

What’s the next frontier in personal grooming?

7 Responses to “Does each generation face more grooming requirements?”

  1. Don

    I also saw a salon in Yaletown offering “Manzillions”. Not sure what that is but it sounds painful.

  2. filmgoerjuan

    Personally, I feel that waxing one’s taint is a reasonable social obligation. It’s just good manners.

  3. Adriana

    It’s a cultural thing. In parts of Latin America, it has been common for men to have manicures, get unibrows waxed, etc for a looong time.

    Especially common among the business crowd.

    Goes along with the plastic surgery-culture – ie image is uber important.

  4. Derek K. Miller

    It should be “manzilian,” being a Brazilian wax for the male.

    Anyway, my short answer is yes — as long as you’re talking about men.

    As a wider variety of personal grooming products is developed, marketing has to make sure that there are problems for them to solve. Did anyone 100 years ago worry about “ring around the collar,” or even body odour? Probably not much. And when hairy chests were generally sexy for men 30 years ago, that wasn’t an area men did much with except wash with soap.

    For women, however, I think there has long been a pretty heavy level of expectation for personal grooming. Some things change with fashion, but while a woman of the mid-’60s might have spent time on her beehive hairdo, her current equivalent might do less with the hair on her head, and more with the hair elsewhere. Plus makeup, nails, skin creams, etc. The all-natural times are rare and far between for women.

  5. Joe Drumgoole

    I got my hair cut in Spain a few years ago and the woman waxed off my ear hair in a final shocking flourish that caught me quite off guard.

  6. Roshan

    In a few years they’ll create a cleansing liquid that you bath in, covering just your eyebrows and head, and which will permanently remove all body hair from you. That would be so cool.

    Until that time, I’ll have to trim my pubic hair.

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