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A Close Shave?

It wasn’t that long ago that Magnum PI was the hottest man on telly. There was nothing sexier than seeing a heavily mustached dude in a pair of stubby shorts with a rug of manly chest hair poking through a mesh singlet. Beards, moustaches, hairy chests - all were seen as defining features of the hot and sexy. Gay porn in the 70’s and early 80’s was choc full of guys happily wearing their own fur; it was a sign of being a ‘real man’. 

However, with the gym-culture that grew out of the 80’s and 90’s came an obsessive need to pluck, trim, shave and wax your body hair to within an inch of its life – hair was out. Of course, if you spend hours and hours getting the perfect six-pack and killer pecs, then you want to show them off, and hair just got in the way of that. Laser hair removal became the norm almost overnight, and you started to hear stories about guys getting their balls lasered to keep them permanently smooth. There is a whole industry that has grown up around it too - look in just about any gay paper or magazine around the world and you'll see ads for hair removal. And we’ve all heard the jokes, like not wanting to floss when you’re giving a guy a blowjob.

But what does this mean for the terminally hairy? Young, furry guys emerging onto today’s gay scene often find themselves wishing they were as smooth as that guy with his shirt off on the dance floor. Most have probably experimented at some point with clippers or a tube of depilatory cream, but the results are always horrifyingly temporary. That’s the thing about hair, it grows back.

How we look, and how we show ourselves to others is a big topic. There is real pressure to look ‘right’ in the gay world, and it can be really hard if you don't feel like you've got ‘the look’. But you know, that’s the funny thing about the gay scene; we tend to want to become something that isn’t us. We’re all so damn busy trying to become the smooth hottie on the dance floor when we could just as easily be the sexy swarthy dude at the bar.

We seem to forget too easily that guys are turned on by different things. Of course some guys are simply not attracted to men with body hair just the way some guys aren’t attracted to blonds , and that's ok. But there are an equal number of guys that find the treasure trail from the tummy button down a thing of beauty, and some that go nuts at the sight of a set of hairy pecs. Enter the Bear culture.

The gay Bear scene has been a bit of a revolution really. It’s provided the opportunity for that sexy swarthy dude at the bar to feel totally comfortable in his own skin and to show off what comes natural to him – his fur. This is one of the reasons that Bears tend to be pretty inclusive – whether your nipples sprout a modest blond wisp or can’t be seen at all, hair is trivial. Go to a Bear’s night and you'll see beards, moustaches, goatees and hairy stomachs and chests all worn with pride.

To a lot of gay guys there does seem to be a bit of a contradiction to it all. More and more people talk about wanting things to be ‘natural’; no GE in their food, organic coffee, healthy diets. Certainly the way your body grows hair is 100% natural, so why the push to remove so much of it? For some, waxing and shaving seems to be about trying to stay young - we do get hairier as we get older, no doubt; and often in places we'd rather not have it. It’s also true that the search for perfection never ends. A lot of guys with killer bodies will still complain about what's wrong with them if you ask.

We all want to fit in and be accepted to some extent, and we want to feel good about how we look, it's good to feel sexy and desirable, no doubt about it. But don't worry too much if you don't feel like you tick all the boxes. Remember, one of the gay world’s biggest faults is that it focuses way too much on appearance. Smooth is sexy for some, hairy is hot as hell for others. Either way you can be assured there is a massive following of people who like what’s going on under your shirt.

If you’re hairy, go with it - you're riding the crest of a trend back to body hair. It's sexy, it's hot, and it’s all man – just like Magnum.

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