When my husband and I lived in Byron Bay, Australia, our closest beach was a nude beach. It was too convenient and beautiful to forsake, so, yes, now I have seen many grown men naked- especially those in their golden years who like to fish nude with their buddies. After a few visits, we became so comfortable with the unclothed human form, we even stopped snickering at the group of nude yogis who practiced on the beach, although naked Down Dog was a little tough to get used to.
So, after a few months of living there, it should not have been weird when a nude man came up to me and my friends and handed us a flier for a party- but it was. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but as I watched his naked body saunter down the beach, I kept thinking that there was something peculiar about him. Finally, it hit me: he was completely shaved- everywhere.
That was my first and only experience with such an extreme form of “manscaping.” Why did he do it? Did he want to be smooth? Did he want to draw more attention to his penis? Would men also soon adopt landing strips and bedazzle their penises?
Why not? The gender gap is decreasing, and we women have been using tricks to either accentuate or minimize certain assets for ages. There are make-up tricks to make our noses look smaller and our eyes look bigger. We wear high heels to make our legs appear longer. And we are obsessed with manipulating the size of our breasts: In the 1920s women detracted attention away from their breasts by binding them. In the 1950s boobs were big and cone-shaped. And in the 1990s, the Wonderbra did for cleavage what Grunge did for flannels.
In that way, bras are like punctuation marks. Depending on which punctuation marks we use to “cup” certain phrases, we either attract or detract attention from them.
Parentheses around the phrase minimize its importance:
The naked guy at the beach (the hairless one) invited us to a party.
Commas neither accentuate nor minimize. They imply that the phrase is equally as important as the rest of the sentence:
The naked guy at the beach, the hairless one, invited us to a party.
Dashes totally accentuate it:
The naked guy at the beach- the hairless one- invited us to a party.
You know what we should do? Before anyone else thinks of it, we should contact the Fruit of the Loom guys and pitch them the idea of padded underwear for men. What should we call them? I’m thinking something with banana. Or maybe even papaya. It's too bad butternut squash isn't a fruit.