“These shorts need shrinking,” I complained to James the other day, with a pair of pre-weight loss size 12 denim cut-offs hanging from my hips, not helped by the button being undone so I could get a better tan.

That thing needs shrinking,” he said, coffee in hand and pointing to the top of my muff creeping out over the top, “…by about three decades!”

Three decades was a bit harsh, I’m sure I can remember a full bush having been in fashion since the 80s. Didn’t Gwyneth Paltrow say that she was growing hers out?

As I showered later that evening, I tended to my unruly pubes and wondered why women are required to go to the effort they are, in order to please a man. I’m no hardcore feminist, in fact the sight of women with bushy armpits makes me feel a bit nauseous. But somewhere along the line, women have made a rod for their own backs and saddled themselves with a life of tedious grooming and preening, if they’re to have any hope of first snaring a man and second keeping him sexually interested for the duration of their relationship.

I thought about this some more and began to realise that when it comes to humans, the responsibility lies firmly with the female of the species to make an effort. Unlike Peacocks or any member of the bird species for that matter, human males get to do fuck all and it’s women who take it upon themselves to tart up for the mating ritual. There’s body shaving, moisturising, makeup applying, hair styling, tanning, breast enhancing (uplifting bra, surgical or both), toe and finger nail painting and finally the presenting of this painstaking work of art, in clothes and shoes that are both uncomfortable, impractical and in some cases, death defying.

I know that men do more now than they ever did, but when you add it all up, it still only amounts to showering, shaving or rubbing in some beard oil, applying a bit of hair product and maybe some personal manscaping if he’s particularly considerate.

“Whenever you’re feeling powerless, just remember… a single one of your pubic hairs can shut down an entire restaurant.”


It’s our choice to preen as women and it can be fun, but when grooming affects our ability to enjoy a sexual encounter, you know it’s affected the female psyche on a deeper level than just the enjoyment of self-pampering. It comes into play in a big way before sex and I doubt there’s a red-blooded woman alive who hasn’t at some point in her life gone through this ceremonious act of ‘getting ready’, so she can parade herself in front of her man like the most elaborately packaged Christmas present you’ve ever seen, and lure him into having sex.

I know I have, many times!

And it can be a turn on. The very act of getting ready for sex and beautifying oneself (even if he’s unaware that he’s about to be pounced on) can be so erotic, that I’m often wetter than an otter’s pocket before he’s even touched me.

But in a way it’s also grossly unfair, when you consider that a man’s idea of getting ready for sex is flopping his knob out and giving you ‘a look’. Or spooning you in bed just as you’re falling asleep and poking you in the back with his semi.

When did James (I wondered, as I de-fuzzed in the shower) last think to himself – “I’m going to sweep that woman off her feet tonight and give her time time of her fucking life! And in order to do that, it’s only right that I spend an hour in the bathroom making sure I’ve never looked more attractive. I will create a perfect balance of body hair – enough to make me look like I’ve reached puberty, but not so much as to present a choking hazard; I’ll scrub my teeth and tongue until you could serve Michelin starred food from my mouth; smother myself in bergamot and oud scented body cream to make myself smell gorgeous all over and dig out my best designer boxers. All before dimming the lights to a flattering level, filling the room with tea lights and digging out the Marvin Gaye CD” ?

Never. Men do not do this. Straight ones, at least.

Should we assume therefore, that they don’t care enough about what we think to go to these lengths? Or are we so insecure and obsessed with what men think of us, that we need to make unnecessary effort in order to feel better about ourselves?

I think it’s the latter. And a bit of the former. But mostly the latter.

We’re neurotic. We’ve been so programmed to think that we have to attain a certain level of perfection and approval, that we feel inferior and unworthy if we don’t at least try to achieve it. It’s incredibly sad when you think about it – that we women can never feel our sexiest in nothing but our own skin and all the body hair that the Good Lord naturally bestowed upon us.

I’ll admit – we don’t always take this much trouble to prepare for sex. Women can approach a man for a lazy shag too, I’m good at this on a Friday morning when our son has slept over at his grandma’s and we have the bed to ourselves. I get him to spoon me and I thread my legs between his, reaching behind me to play with his morning wood.

There must be no kissing during morning sex at any cost, because it is puke inducing – especially for people with a sensitive nose like me. (Film directors need to understand that kissing during morning sex, even between sexy people, is not a normal function of any relationship and depicting it only serves to make themselves look inexperienced in life!) And there, like a couple of beached dolphins trying to writhe back into the sea, we have a quickie on our sides.

This is what being in a relationship is like. There are times when it’s planned and times when it’s not. Times when it’s theatrical and rehearsed (on her part); and times when all you want to do is put something in a hole before you get up for work.

But it’s the times when it’s planned and I consider how long I spend beautifying myself in order to feel ‘ready’, that it seems unfair – when he doesn’t even bother to rinse his penis before coming onto me after a long day at work. Or find a wet wipe. Just a wet wipe!

And yet he still has the nerve to criticise a week’s worth of pubic regrowth.


One day in my capacity as sex columnist for GQ, I was asked by a reader for my opinion on the practice of male personal hair removal.

Since I could never do justice to this guy’s genius phrasing, I am going to quote him directly along with my answers:

“Is it gay or too vain? Does it grow back less coarse? Will it be ‘fluffy bum’ with regrowth, after a year of waxing? I don’t want to be on that slab one day and a fit coroner go eeewwwwhhh!! And would it be cost effective with toilet roll against 27 wipes as opposed to max 2 wipes?”

A complicated and sticky subject with many concerns and I must say, it’s nice for a man to be thinking about it in this much detail for a change. I will attempt to address these issues one by one…

Is it gay or too vain?

Well, that depends on your motivation for going hair free. If it’s easy access you’re after and good aim for your chocolate starfish, then yes it’s gay. If it’s because you don’t like the thought of your partner staring into your hair infested crack as you’re engaged in a soixante neuf, then yes, it’s vain. One other possibility is that you might be showing some consideration for your partner’s aversion to hairballs, particularly if your waxing extends to the scrotal area and you’re partial to a bit of tea-bagging.

Does it grow back less coarse? Will it be ‘fluffy bum’ with regrowth, after a year of waxing?

No, it does not grow back less coarse. As anyone who has ever tweezed their eyebrows or shaved their legs will know, it grows back with a wiry vengeance. Unless you’re one of the unlucky few for whom it barely grows back at all, because each hair is trapped under the skin and can only make an appearance in the guise of an angry spot. Don’t be surprised if the itching is so bad, you get accused of having crabs.

I don’t want to be on that slab one day and have a fit coroner go eeewwwwhhh!!!

I’m not that clued up on post-mortem code of practice, but I’m going to assume that unless they suspect sexual foul play (ie – that you’ve been bummed to death) they won’t turn you on your side and have a gawp at your crack. But if they do, it’s true, they might prefer the sight of a neatly groomed crevice. That said, we are talking corpses here. And if the coroner is even remotely attracted to you in your, erm, stiff state… the last thing I’d be worrying about if I were your ghost staring down from the ceiling, would be the state of my bum hole. Furthermore, is there such a thing as a fit coroner?

Would it be cost effective against 27 wipes, as opposed to max 2 wipes?

It’s no secret that hair harbours all manner of particles. Remember Roald Dahl’s story, The Twits? Mr Twit’s beard was a haven of food, clinging mercilessly to the hairs surrounding the hole in his face. If stuff on the way in gets caught up, it’s got to work the other way around. I can validate this claim further. My dog, a wire-haired miniature sausage dog, has the ‘scruffy rear end = caught up poo crumbs’ problem and I have to sort it out with nail scissors on a regular basis. I’m not sure toilet paper would resolve this problem, rather than make it a whole lot worse and spread it about! With this in mind, toilet paper can do its job a whole lot better if it’s wiping against a smooth surface. You may be able to economise right down to one sheet if you invest in a quality 3 ply quilted and some veet.

In conclusion, I am all for male hair removal in any region where oral activity may be a possibility. May this be your guide. It’s not gay, it’s not vain, it’s just polite. If you don’t want your Mrs to be hiding a shag pile between her legs for you to cough up after a few seconds of lapping, then you’re going to have to set an example.

This is the 21st century, we reserve the right to go on strike.