While many things about the promos for “Starter Wife” bother me (the plot and the cast, for starters), I find myself simply confused by a scene in which Debra Messing’s husband opens his robe and she reacts with disgust. All we can see is his hairy chest, though it’s possible she’s reacting to something off-screen.

I fail to understand how a certain amount of hair on a man’s body is supposed to be a bad thing. Everything from The 40-Year-Old Virgin to Queer Eye suggests that men ought to be hairless. Can anyone think of another prominent secondary sexual characteristic which people voluntarily suppress?


  1. #1 Elf Eye
    April 29, 2007

    Men shave their faces; women shave their armpits and their legs.

  2. #2 kristi
    April 29, 2007

    Women remove hair from their underarms, and increasingly remove pubic hair as well. I think hairiness in men is still much more accepted than hairiness in women.

  3. #3 Scott Belyea
    April 29, 2007

    I share your puzzlement. I find the whole “hairless” thing very strange.

    I shifted from growing hair on the top of my head to growing it on my face instead some years back, and have never regretted it. This is called Making the Best of a Bad Thing.

    And as for my preferences for my wife … well, let’s just say that hair is, after all, a sexual characteristic.

  4. #4 Josh Rosenau
    April 29, 2007

    Some men shave their faces. A beard is understood to be an acceptable choice. A hairy chest or back is not.

  5. #5 Scott Belyea
    April 29, 2007

    A hairy chest or back is not.

    According to who? And for what reason??

  6. #6 tourettist
    April 29, 2007

    By the tastemakers of the fashion, cosmetic and entertainment industries. Especially fashion and cosmetics because they stand to make money.

    Hirsutism is a “primitive” trait, y’know like those Geico cavemen. I.e. evilution is to blame.

  7. #7 Keith Sader
    April 29, 2007

    Our fashion industry and marketing has geared our ideals of women and men to 12-year old boys with boobs and 16 year old boys w/o indications of puberty, respectively. This beauty ideal seems unattainable by the vast majority of the breeding population.


  8. #8 John Wilkins
    April 29, 2007

    Silverbacks like me have a rather different view of things. How can anyone find hairless people sexually attractive? How do they groom?

  9. #9 Spyder
    April 29, 2007

    I really don’t mind hair on my husband’s body. But he feels self-conscious about it. So come bathing suit time he has me man-scape his back.

  10. #10 Mousie Cat
    April 29, 2007

    Frankly, I find a lack of hair on any feline disgusting. But then, I am extremely hirsute. Oh, are you talking about human beings? Who cares, as long as they feed me?

  11. #11 happy wife
    April 30, 2007

    Why waste perfectly good testosterone to grow hair when there are much more enjoyable pasttimes . . .

  12. #12 M
    April 30, 2007

    Women: shaved everywhere. Idealization of the prepubescent form encompasses suppression of hips (how rare are genuinely childbearing hips in media representations?). Labioplasty is more primary than secondary, but still.

  13. #13 Nightmare
    April 30, 2007

    “Can anyone think of another prominent secondary sexual characteristic which people voluntarily suppress?”

    I thought I would find more people giving answers to ANOTHER characteristic, but it seems everyone got stuck on hair, and or the removal of it. One other secondary sexual characteristic that I think many people voluntarily suppress is the need for sexual exploration at any age. Personally I blame the religious people that think sex is only good to make mini me’s.

  14. #14 Josh Rosenau
    April 30, 2007

    Wilkins, are there albino gorillas that aren’t silverbacks?

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