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HYGIENE (permalink) 04.21.2009
shortly before i stopped being a corporate whore, i had an unusual-ish lunch. two things made it odd. first off, i went with five guys, colleagues, i didn't know all that well, only one of which would have even rated as an acquaintance (i usually eat lunch alone or with one or two people i like pretty well). the second curiosity was the conversation itself. it dealt with, of all things, male grooming. when the topic was first floated, and it was not raised by me because such matters aren't even on my radar, i scanned the table thinking in a group of people who push ones and zeros around for a living this subject might have a life-span of 36 seconds. but as i studied the five expressions i didn't see disdain and disinterest but instead mild intrigue and readiness. i almost yelled at the whole lot of them saying they can either like network gaming parties or shaving their genitals but not both.

seeing the subject had legs i turned my attentions to the conversation's sponsor. you groom? down there? unabashedly he said he did. he then asked me. you don't? at all? unabashedly i said i didn't. he asked me why i cut the hair on my head. i said because it would be unprofessional not to. he asked why i shaved my face. i admitted that even though i was still as of yet unable to grow cheek hair if i could i would still shave because i felt face pelts were also unprofessional. he then started asking about marty. and if she shaved and groomed. i said she did but certainly not at my demand. and frankly, i could care less if she did or not. the whole table groaned loudly and recoiled like slugs to salt. what's the big deal i asked. are they afraid of a natural woman? it seems they were afraid of the potential. a few of them had seen movies and were witness to what was in fact possible.

seeing i was getting nowhere with the first guy, i sought support from the rest of the table. one by one i asked them if they owned a male epilady or some such device and one by one they confessed they did, my acquaintance included. i saved my sure bet for last, a contractor straight from the india homeland, arranged marriage country and all. he said to me in the most classic and quintessential accent, "i am sorry troy, but i am unable to help you here." even the indian guy was sitting on the closed-lid toilet, with his knees flayed apart, tweezing groin hairs with his free time. does he know how to tie a slip-knot? has he read the the count of monte christo? can he spin a pencil in crazy ways on his hand? no, but he doesn't have a body hair on the outside of the elastic leg band of his underwear. how admirable is that? as weak as it may appear, that last guy really took the wind out of my sails and in the end, i quit the fight. there were too many of them and they proved immune to any powers of persuasion i thought i may have had. sad to find myself spending time with such a lot, i became morose.

perhaps my despondency drove the guy who started the whole preening debate to share the following story about a friend of his who was uber-manic about his hair removal. it seems this guy's appearance was a real house of cards given his hirsute genes and required more routine care than a fertilized lawn in portland. after he moved in with a girl he'd been dating, he was finding it difficult to find enough private time to keep the hedges at bay. he was having to go to work late or come home for lunch to get his primping time in (sheesh!). one day his girlfriend wasn't feeling well and left work early. after walking in the door and setting her keys and purse down she heard something coming from the bedroom. she moved to the door, listened for a moment and then opened it. she saw her boyfriend lying on the floor, on his back, naked, and with his legs pulled over his head. he had an electronic thing in his hand but she didn't have time to make out what it was or what he was doing with it before he sprang forward into a sitting position, and started yelling at her through bugged-out eyes to get out of the room. she slammed the door shut and stood there with one hand still on the knob and the other covering her mouth. some minutes later he came out of the room fully clothed and aside from a huffiness about him, acting like nothing had happened. seeing that he wasn't going to volunteer an explanation she asked him what he was doing in there. he exploded saying it was none of her business and she should learn to knock on closed doors before entering rooms (her own bedroom included it seems). he never told her he was shaving the hair from between his buttocks and she never recovered from not being told that he was shaving the hair from between his buttocks so they broke up shortly after the incident. if i recall the story correctly, she let him keep the apartment.

i rebounded from the evil outing by imagining the guy in the story was the guy pushing the topic at my lunch table (he was reasonably hirsute). i had to do that because that meal happened four years ago and i still hold an image of a slightly overweight naked guy rolling around on plush carpeting contorting a braun razor in his hand fighting for the last, perfect angle. typically, i'm the stamper of such imagery and not the one having uninvited images pressed into the walls of my brain. call me a sore loser.

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