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Thoughts on Body Grooming and Manscaping

Keeping It Trimmed and Neat

By

Young man sitting on beach (mid section)
Ian Logan/Taxi/Getty Images
The Uber Masculine guys among us may ask, "You want me to trim WHAT?" The answer is, of course, everything from the top of the head down. Trimming the hair on the chest, back, and nether regions is known today as "manscaping" or "body grooming." Why bother?

There are several good reasons for keeping your manly thatch neatly trimmed.

  • Keeping a neatly trimmed chest, back, shoulders, and more will make you appear cleaner and send the message that you care about grooming.

  • Your body's musculature and shape are enhanced when the body hair is well groomed.

  • Trimmed body hair will keep you cooler in warm weather. Trust me, summer is not "sweater weather."

  • According to Steve Nesle, who spearheaded the Philips Body Groom campaign for marketing agency Tribal DDB, "Trimming the hedges makes the house look bigger." 'Nuff said.

It is my opinion that regular body grooming is a good thing. Women have been doing it for centuries and shaving everything they can find. I don't, however, believe that men should go to that extreme. I'm not a big fan of the shaved chest -- or shaved anything for that matter -- on men. Men are hairy and should stay that way. It's one of the things that makes us, well, men. That doesn't mean we can't be well groomed men.

Of course, most women (or men) don't prefer their guys shaved down like a hairless cat, but encourage their guys to do a little routine maintenance. Yes, that means you. Don't worry, you're not alone. According to Philips Norelco, maker of the Philips Body Groom trimmer, half of all men between the ages of 20 and 49 groom their bodies.

Before you decide to pick up the trimmers and start mowing, please consider my 5 rules for body grooming.

  1. The back should be smooth, the front should not. Nobody likes a hairy back and shoulders, so keep them shaved or waxed smooth. Conversely, the chest should be neatly trimmed, but not shaved or waxed. To determne if the chest needs trimming, do the "finger wrap" test. If you can wrap the hair around your finger, it needs to be trimmed. Keeping the hair about finger length is, in my opinion, the best option. Stay away from razors or waxes on the chest. Did you learn nothing from The 40 Year Old Virgin? No need to start invoking the good name of Kelly Clarkson.

  2. Eyebrows should look natural. Keeping the eyebrows neatly trimmed of stray hairs is a good thing. Trust me, walking around looking like you've got two Arkansas Ditch Caterpillars sleeping on your face is not attractive. Are you listening, Andy Rooney? Conversely, having eyebrows so neatly sculpted that you look like you've drawn them on will make you look like a drag queen in men's clothes. Zac Efron? Trim the brows neatly and have your stylist wax around the edges just to remove the strays, but make sure they don't look sculpted. And another thing -- you should have two eyebrows. If not, run to your stylist and have them separated.

  3. Giving "Frank and The Boys" a little haircut now and then is required, too. Shaving this area can be very difficult and is really not necessary -- not to mention it can be quite itchy after a day or so. Keep the area around your private parts neatly trimmed to maintain order and give the illusion that there is a larger tree in the forest, so to speak. Philips created a special website for their Philips Body Groom trimmer that discusses this subject further. Be warned, it's loaded with innuendo.

  4. Ears should always be hair free. Have your barber or stylist trim them throughly for you and keep a good ear and nose hair trimmer at home for touch-ups between visits. The same rule applies for the nose.

  5. Leave everything else alone. A little light trimming of the hair on the ams, legs, and other places is fine, just make sure you leave them natural looking. Unless you're a competitive swimmer or cyclist, arms and legs can be left a little hairy. Think of how a woman's legs feel a few days after shaving. Do you want your arms or legs to feel like that? Didn't think so.

For the purpose of body grooming, most any clipper or trimmer with attachments will do, but I do like the Philips Body Groom for this purpose. This trimmer has three attachments for different hair lengths, but can be used without the attachment comb for a close shave.

In addition to good body grooming, looking great also requires maintaining a great looking head of hair, so don't forget to pay close attention to the hair up there, too.

Happy trimming!

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