Tag Archives: chest hair

Where Have All the Chest Hairs Gone?

The Chief in a moment of self-adulation, c. 2006.

The Chief in a moment of self-adulation, c. 2006.

While taking classes at a community college several years ago, I met a guy who – when asked why he had such a smooth chest – would respond that “hair doesn’t grow on steel.”  In their youth, every male can hardly wait for at least two things: facial hair and chest hair.  It’s a man thing, so you ladies just have to shrug and roll your eyes.  But, in looking at shirtless men on television, in the movies and on fitness magazine covers, you’d think a chest made of steel is the norm.  It’s as if that part of the Y chromosome didn’t quite take hold when they reached puberty.  I mean, seriously!  What’s that all about?

Admittedly, not all men are hirsute.  But, it’s just one of the many attributes of the human male species – along with a unibrow, a fetish for cars and constantly reaching for a ruler when he gets an erection.  (This latter fact is something no man would confess to publicly.)  So, this trend of men with clean-slate torsos is confounding.

I know that most male bodybuilders shave or wax their physiques to enhance the lines in their muscles, especially their chests and stomachs.  I suppose the hair wouldn’t mix well with the baby oil and spray-on tan mist.  But, even some male strippers wipe their torsos clean.  Check out the latest Matthew McConaughey movie, Magic Mike, and you’ll see.

Matthew McConaughey

It wasn’t always that way.  Even as recently as the 1980’s, men on TV and in the movies still had chest hair.  But then, came the 1990’s and a growing antagonism towards anything and everything male.  We can thank the likes of Geraldo Rivera and Bill “Puff Daddy” Clinton for that.  Suddenly actors and male models were shoved through the pre-pubescent car wash where their bodies were rendered as close to looking female without being castrated.  If it wasn’t for their deep voices, you’d think these guys still ride bikes with training wheels.  The American male has been feminized to the point of androgynous stupidity.

From the Spring 1977 JC Penney Catalogue

I recall reading an Ann Landers column where a woman stated that she made her husband shave his body because she didn’t find it attractive – and the poor sap apparently felt desperate enough to do it!  The letter writer was now worried that he’d start letting it grow back because their young son might ask him questions about it.  Landers – an older version of Gloria Allred, but not as bitchy – told her just to explain gently to her son that his father shaved his body because he loved her.  I thought the man should just tell his wife to fuck off, grow the chest hair back, grab his son and leave her ass.  It’s interesting that women don’t like men telling them what to do with their bodies, yet somehow, many feel they have that prerogative when things are turned around.

1970’s Winston Cigarette Ad

I find it equally curious to note that, among gay men, body hair is not just appreciated, it’s celebrated.  Here, political correctness is tossed into the trash like a used Trojan, and Gloria Allred’s face forms the backdrop of a dart board.  I think it’s this crowd that made shaved heads and goatees fashionable.  Just don’t tell that to the NFL!  But for once, I’d still like to see a hairy-chested male on TV who isn’t a child molester or a serial killer.  In other words, I’d like to see an adult male who looks a little like me and not a store mannequin – steel-plated chest and all!


Filed under Essays