What should I be doing instead of this?
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By Erma P. Sanders · June 28th, 2001 · Diva
I'm a little late, but I finally went to see Shrek. Yeah, OK, there was great animation and a cute little love story, but the lasting image for me was the Lord. That was one hairy animated character. Which just goes to show the importance of body hair if the DreamWorks animators felt the need to make their villain a little guy with a carpet full of chest hair that spilled over to his shoulders. Gross! Our hero, though big and green, was hairless.

When it comes to physical attractiveness, hair is a big factor. The good news is, unlike genetic traits like height or body shape, it can be manipulated by dyes, depilatories and scissors. The bad news is there are so many Catch-22s, it's a wonder we leave the house at all.

Men have it the worst. They tend to have hair from head to toe so there is a lot more to deal with. Like the aforementioned movie character, chest hair is the biggest Catch-22 of all. If you have an excessive amount you look like the missing link or a gorilla, especially if it's dark hair. If the hair is blond or red, then you may earn the nickname Dr. Zeus. So what do you do? Shave it off? There's the catch.

In a small survey of women I informally conducted, I found that women think men who shave their chests are pretentious and obsessed with their looks. Indeed, the only truly smooth chests you find are bodybuilders on the cover who magazines who believe that hairlessness accentuates the overdeveloped muscles.

Some men are fortunate enough to have just enough chest hair to look masculine but not enough to be confused with a zoo animal. If you aren't one of those lucky ones, maybe you should keep your shirt on.

Men also have to deal with the hair on the head. Here is society's other little Catch-22: It's cool to have hair and it's cool to be bald, but it is not cool to be balding. Most men have the good sense to know that precise moment to shave the head. Men are lucky to have that option. And before I get many pissed-off letters from balding men, let me say that balding men can and do get women. But take my word for it: There are no sex symbols who are balding. Unless you're Sean Connery. And you ain't no Sean Connery.

Men traditionally don't shave their legs, underarms or pubic hair. That's chick territory. I think most women would consider it an ideal society if we could wear sweats all the time and never shave. Oh, not just shave either. Women have so many options open to them. There are chemical hair removers, wax treatments and for the truly hairy, electrolysis.

'Tis the season for the bikini wax. This is a sticky issue, no pun intended. Unless you have pubs so long you can braid 'em, or you are the next centerfold in a men's magazine, there is no earthly reason to shave your pubic hair. If your man says it turns him on, then I think he is sick. Little girls have no pubic hair; grown women do. Do the math in your own head.

At this time of year I always feel the need to review this hair issue. It's beach season. Time to wear shorts and sleeveless tops. You are exposing yourself. You've been working out all winter, and now it's time to preen and pose to attract a lover. Just don't underestimate the power of the hair follicle, whether it's on your head, your chest or creeping a little lower. Groom yourself in a way that's attractive to you, and you'll attract others who find it attractive. However, a woman with a hairy chest isn't likely to get many men unless his name is Barnum ... or Bailey.



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