Have you ever stood in front of your bathroom mirror and wondered what in the world you were going to do about your chest hair? If you are male, over the age of 15, and suffered through a particularly virulent bout of puberty, there is a good chance you have.
The media grossly pressures you into adopting certain standards of beauty that are unattainable, save for a few lucky souls who have won the genetic lottery. They, the chosen ones, are as naturally hairless at 20, 35, or 47 as the day they first emerged from the womb, bald and ready to embrace the world with chubby arms.
Most of you are not quite so fortunate, but the sad reality is that society has begun to judge your attractiveness depending on the amount of hair on your chest.
You need to know that you are more than just your chest hair.
I’m going to place full blame on the media for causing some of you to think otherwise. As we all know, the media is evil (except for journalists like Nicholas Kristof, who I can state with certainty is a saint amongst us).
The models and actors it flaunts in our faces are airbrushed and PhotoShopped to perfection — including those who grace the covers of magazines or romp around in their boxer briefs for underwear commercials. Actually, their chests may not be as smooth as we are led to believe — thanks to cunning photographers and art directors who are adept at misrepresenting reality. In fact, their chests may be covered with hair as thick as a South American rainforest or a three-day-old bowl of Grandma’s broccoli cheddar soup. You should not think of them as accurate measures of masculine beauty. These men are only carefully groomed to look the way we think men should look.
Now, you and I both know that these media sweethearts don’t really represent the average American man. Yet, they cause some of you to remain ashamed of what you ought to consider a gift from nature.
You convince yourselves that no one could find you desirable so long as your chest is covered in sometimes patchy, sometimes knotted hair. What if you rip open your shirt in front of a new romantic partner during a moment of passion? He or she would surely shirk at the mere, wretched sight of your furry chest! The horror!
David Beckham has a pristine, hairless chest! So does Justin Bieber! And that guy in the new Calvin Klein ad! How are you even supposed to compare?
So, you might try all sorts of inane methods to rid yourselves of what should be a source of pride.
For example, one close male friend recently waxed his chest. Bulbous, pus-filled boils began to appear up and down his torso and sides a few days later. He discovered that he was allergic to the wax that the aesthetician had used to remove his chest hair. No beauty without pain, right? As I watched him apply aloe to the irritated parts of his skin, I shook my head sorrowfully. Have hairless chests become the new status quo thanks to photo-editing and clever lighting — the tools that a money-and-flesh driven media culture uses to represent masculine beauty?
I am worried that it has. My heart breaks for the generations of young men growing up in this current environment — where a hairless chest is the only kind of acceptable masculine aesthetic. If society values them for the state of their chest, that is how they will learn to value themselves. And if their chests are not up to par by society’s standards, they will develop a deep sense of self-loathing.
I can’t take that!
Men, I beg of you: don’t pay attention to how the media tells you your body should look. They’re wrong. No one is that hairless. Okay, some men are, but most aren’t! I don’t want you to hold yourselves to the unreasonable standards the media creates!
Do you. Do no one else.
If you want, flaunt your man fur! It is prime for cold winter months — during which it could serve as an additional layer underneath your clothing. It could buffer you against bitter winds or sloshy snowfalls — which will prove useful as global warming progresses in its current direction. That is, if global warming isn’t a lie made up by Al Gore and hippie liberals in an attempt to plot world domination!
During more temperate seasons, you could even leave the top few buttons undone on your shirt — so that those around you can catch an occasional glimpse at the tangled treasure within.
Whether it is curly, thick, and matted or it is so thin that is it barely visible, love your chest hair. Embrace it as it is. Give it — and your bodies — all the care that it deserves.
Hair or no hair, you are all handsome.