Pubic Peer PressurePosted: July 16, 2013
At the risk of shocking any delicate or prudish regular readers of this blog, or just anyone who is ‘normal’ and not a stinking hairy hippie like me, let me warn you – I am going to write about pubic hair – I know, how repulsive! And it is something to be terrified of I have just discovered. So please, don’t go any further, don’t freak yourself out with the reality of those short curlies, stop reading now…
I am with a friend and we are about to embark on a well deserved day off from the kids. This has been a long time coming, that’s why it’s so deserved. I actually received a homemade voucher from P for Christmas for a day at the spa. It’s taken me 7 months to actually use it and now I’m here. I book the day price, with lunch. It appears that having your feet tickled and chewed on by a shoal of fish is part of the deal. My friend is a little concerned about the fish, from an animal welfare point of view, but it’s a freebie, we can’t refuse! And quite frankly a day off from childcare, no shit to clean up, no wailing, no one shouting ‘mummy’ 100,000 times is a huge break in itself. I’d happily take a bath with a trout if it was part of the deal.
It is a naked spa, as most are in Holland. I’ve brought a towel, but first I’m told I have to pay extra for a dressing gown. This is so that I can sit in the restaurant ‘decently’, apparently.
Now we’re in and we start to look around at the various saunas on offer. Wow, I haven’t been to a sauna in years, not since the old squatty days when I first moved to Amsterdam. This is like another world. It is a vast complex of luxurious tiled opulence. It’s like something out of a movie. There are so many variants of the sauna/steam room to choose from, log burning, Finish, colour therapy, Himalayan, etc, all around a lavish central swimming pool and there are even more baths and saunas outside.
At first I am so distracted by my decadent surroundings and the mountain of salt scrub in the shower that I don’t notice, but now as I wander from sauna to plunge pool to sauna, I can’t help but see what’s going on around me. I am out of date, I know that, but now I realise how out of date. Everyone seems to be hairless.
“Are we the only ones in here with pubes?” I whisper to my friend
I have a good look around, and confirm, no, I’m not having a paranoia attack. This is real. Women, men, all of them, whether they’re in their 20’s or 60’s. All the same, just at slightly different stages of the bald to stubble ratio. Doesn’t it itch like hell when it starts to grow back?
I have no problem with nakedness in general. I’m a child of the 70’s with those ‘radical’ types for parents. I have been indoctrinated early on. My mother thought nothing of stripping off in front of me and running up mountains with groups of her friends on spiritual quests to celebrate the goddess of the moon. Luckily for me she didn’t go as far as my step-mum, who made the crazy decision to take my brother and sister on holiday to a naturist camp – when they were teenagers!
Nakedness was a pretty every day thing for me, which is why I’m probably better at handling the whole ‘going Dutch’ thing in the sauna. Well I thought I was ok with it, until now, but I’m starting to have a rethink. I am feeling the pressure. The peer pressure. Why the obsession? I’m wondering, peering down at my own slightly overgrown bush. I trim a bit round the edges, but that’s it. My friend and I are most definitely the odd ones out here and as soon as I can between steamings I grab that dressing gown and cover up.
The dutch word for pubic hair is schaamhaar, very closely related to the verb schaam zich which means to be ashamed. Is it just a Dutch thing, or has this trend for the full on wax job gone global without me noticing?
I’m still worrying about it when we eat lunch on the terrace. Luckily we don’t look like freaks anymore, safely wrapped in our luxury dressing gowns. I’m glad I was forced to pay the extra 8 euros now. The woman on the reception was right. I could never have faced the cheese-board without it. How indecent!
“So how was the spa?” asks P when I get home that evening
“No one has any pubes, nowadays” I reply
“Yeah, I know” says P
“What, how do you know?”
“Well, I’ve been told…That’s what people do now.”
So it’s true. The general population has been tricked into living in a make-believe prepubescent world. I’m starting to feel glad that I am so out of touch.
“From now on” I say “I’m going to let it all hang out!”
The 70’s live on! Power to the pubes! We’re adults. Let’s not let a few stray hairs scare us.
Are you with me?