The history of the bush still fills me with wonder – from Egyptians who removed every hair on their body to the 70’s ‘fro our grandparents certainly rocked, the bush has disappeared and reappeared throughout history.
Reasons as to why we lean towards bush or bare tend to be centred mainly around religion, hygiene, adult entertainment and swimwear (odd combination I know), and these trends have dictated over the centuries what we do with hair ‘down there’.
History tells how the Greeks saw it as an indication of class as the richer you were the balder your body. Hair was seen as uncouth hence the majority of Roman statues with bald bits.
Prostitutes circa 1450 used to remove the hair to prevent lovely pubic lice and STI’s (but wore a merkin nevertheless to cover ugly scars from diseases). In the 1500’s Catherine De Medici decided that the full bush should reign free and headed up a full bush trend (back then Queens were celebrities) and apparently gave her ladies in waiting a regular pube checks to ensure they were in full growth and forbade them from removing it.
In the 19th Century upper class gentlemen even kept tufts of conquests’ hair as souvenirs in their hats. Could you imagine having a clump of your gf’s pubes sticking out of your beanie? Apparently they used to give pubes as a gift and in St Andrew’s University lays a snuff box of King George IV’s short and curlies, reportedly given by him to a mistress. Beats sniffing the pillow…
Religion has a huge part in what we do down there with Muslim men and women were required to remove all armpit hair and any below the navel according to the Sunnah (based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad). However, I believe nowadays men are only required to take the hair to thumb nail length or less. For Muslim women the end of their monthly period is the time that the pubic hair must be removed, and interestingly their clothes and bed clothes must all be laundered.
Fashion has dictated a lot of hair removal requirements, as more and more flesh was exposed (think Flapper dresses suddenly showing off underarms and lower legs). In 1915 Gilette launched the first ever razor specifically aimed at women called ‘Milady Decolletee’. It was only natural that with the arrival of the bikini after the Second World War we would have to finally rid ourselves of those stragglers poking out the sides of our pantyhose. By the 60’s bikinis were getting smaller and we were mostly shaving as depilatory creams were not fully developed and irritated the skin.
The 1970’s saw the launch of the wax strip – the must have revolutionised hair removal and it last so much longer – usually requiring treatments once a month rather than every other day. Of course our Middle Eastern friends had been using a similar technique with a concoction made out of sugar, lemon juice and water for centuries.
Good old porn was the most recent mainstream trend setter for our growlers. Magazines only printed full bush shots up until Hustler bravely published their first ‘pink shot’(fully shaved) in 1974. I wonder if we lesbians reached as quickly for the razor as our straight girlfriends whose partners eagerly requested they recreate the Porn Star Experience?
The 80’s saw the Brazilian wax (hurray!) introduced by the famous J sisters in New York in ‘87, created for their teeny tiny bikinis in Native Brazil. I’m not sure if it caught on here quite that early but I can’t remember reading anything in Just Seventeen anyway…
2000 saw Sex In The City launch it into stardom with Carrie getting a Brazilian wax. I think that was a pivotal point where most of us grabbed that razor/Immac and went for it. We discovered our skin became more sensitive, we felt cleaner and it soon became something some prospective partners expected. I doubt very much generations before us even cared how trimmed we were years ago. Now it’s the ‘norm’ for sure.
After all now we are in an era where our divorced parents are dating again and probably gazing down at their grey flowing pubes and thinking “omg what am I going to do with THAT!” On that note there is a wonderful pubic dye available called Betty™ which is not just available in brown, blonde and black! You can also show off a pinky minky, a blue floo, or a green love machine! Nice.
Despite the TV push for this relatively unheard of salon treatment it was still seen as a seedy by most salons. I recall one client saying she had asked her local salon for a Brazilian wax and received a rather sharp reply of “We do not!” Even now only 44% of UK salons offer this service.
For the last 10 years we have embraced the Brazilian (landing strip), the Sicilian (triangle) and Hollywood (Barbie doll bare) but now I hear the bush is making a comeback. Hmm for me the jury’s out on that one.