An Inconsolable Truth
Fact: Every year over 2 million hectares of pubic hair are clear cut or torn out by the roots, much of it in virgin and "old growth" stands. In Brazil, most of this is now being planted with soybeans.
Fact: As recently as 650,000 years ago, 97% of the human "landmass" was a rich pampa of gently swaying pubic hair, with magnificent herds of grazing buffalo, bongos and bushpigs as far as the eye could see.
Fact: In modern times, pubic forestlands have shrunk to a few out-of-the-way musky cracks, crevices, and wetlands. Now, these precious areas too are under attack.
Fact: Pubic hair generates 53% of the libidinal oxygen we need to breathe heavily, and provides the subconscious Darwinian motivation for 49% of all social, economic and aesthetic endeavor.
Conclusion: The human race is toying with ecological and sexuological Ur-Megiddo!
(For the less educated among us, let me explain that in ancient Aramaic, “Ur” means “Ar,” and “Megiddo” means “mageddon”.)
Hello and welcome! I'm Doctor Henry E. Panky. Tonight, we take an epic voyage to a sublime, terrifying and mysterious isle. Fabled garden of genesis, fertile crescent of concupiscence, happy valley of love, Bermuda Triangle of human desire: called by pilgrims "Eleusis", "Xanadu", and "the land of milk and honey." That which philosophers proclaim the bonum onum (the "good onum" or "#1 bonum") of life. I speak, of course, of ... "HIRSUTEM PUBIS." Now, by the tomfoolery of feckless mankind, threatened with total extinction!
Boom, boom, boom!
Okay, let's take it down a notch, and start at the beginning. Jimmy, please roll the slideshow and the first exploding pie-chart.
Now I have studied the "Glorious Oeuvre" as an earnest scientist for several decades, yet my breakthrough moment, my Newtonian Eureka!--"Watson, get your fat ass in here!"--"Hey, you got chocolate (peanut butter) on my peanut butter (chocolate)!" moment arrived quite early in the process. Indeed, I was only 13, a callow pubescent, when I stumbled upon the astounding epiphany that....WOMEN HAVE PUBIC HAIR. (italics are mine)
You see, growing up in a repressed, high-security Protestant family, I never actually saw a naked being of the female persuasion until the fateful discovery of a tattered Arizona Nudist magazine underneath my bus seat on a class trip to the llama farm. ("No!" I gasped, before clasping it possessively to my bony chest.) This providential "Howdy stranger!" to the joyous, but terrifying inscrutability that would come to obsess my personal and professional life left me wheezing, dizzy, giddy almost to the point of hysteria. And I asked myself, "Is this for real, or is this a freak magazine, like, you know, MAD or Ripley's or National Review?"
Ambushed by Love
I knew I was on the trail of something dangerously big. I had stumbled on a dark, ancient secret that the Church, Big Government and Mrs. Tubb (our principal) didn’t want me to know. Every schoolteacher, every anchorwoman, every Avon Lady was rigorously eyeballed with a new esoteric recognition -- but I could no longer look my mother or grandmother in the face. To further my research, I began to conduct a furtive slinking to and from the squalid newsstand on a regular basis. I'd scuttle home, sweaty and heart-poundy as any crack addict, with the latest glossy editions of Lesbians without Panties and From Behind All the Time. I pored over those abstruse texts like a mumbling, medieval kabbalist. And I felt an overwhelming urgency to mount and rub my naughty bit (then about the size of my ring toe, when angry) against the old lambskin car-seat cover, yet soft and curly, discarded in the basement.
Thus I tasted both besotted rapture and the first bitter mouthfuls of the guilt, self-hatred and existential angst that accompany this greatest of onanistic intimacies with the inanimate. No one has ever explained why this should be so, but Dr. Friedman, my psychiatrist, says it's exactly the same for him. I'm not proud of the way I treated that lonely seat cover: promises, caresses, a passion to light this sad old universe on fire! Followed swiftly by release, lassitude, peevishness and the inevitable don't-tie-me-down, free-bird/rambling-man speech. Before she'd even stopped crying, it seemed, I'd be back with a handful of dandelions and liquor on my breath. A story as old as Tom Bombadil.
Of course, I realize now that drooling, grunting priapism is a chronic, genetic disease -- "Adam's Bane" some call it (others, "Adam's Boon") -- an insatiable monkey-itch hardwired by our mischievous Engineer. Which I like to believe does not lessen our grandeur and nobility. But back then, only Licky, my cocker spaniel, seemed to be on the same page as me. He also liked to drag his butt across the carpet in a weird sitting, scoot-like motion that I personally found uncomfortable, but which brought a thick, fixed glaze of ecstasy to his sad, brown eyes.
The Airbrush, The Razor & The Damage Done
"You don't need no wax job, you're smooth enough for me.
And if you need an oil change, I'll do it for you...free!"
The Traveling Wilburys, "Dirty World"
(I remain quizzical over the reference to the oil job)
In the innocent years of my adolescence, one never saw any details of the feminine "mystery of mysteries" in printed media, only a soft, fuzzy and comforting, puberulent blur of airbrushed hair -- it called to one like a small, warm haystack in the afternoon sun. (It makes me smile with golden nostalgia.) I'm certain this was done with the best of intentions, and I certainly didn't question it. "I love you just the way you are!" I sang. But this misconception led inevitably to a terrible shock when I came face to face with "the real thing." Aiyee! Whoa! Very real! "Jeez, I'll be damned, never would have guessed at anything like that!" It was all so visceral. But I did get beyond it: I dove right in, kept my eyes open, pushed my snout forward and said "Hi, howya doing!" I'm proud that I did, and wouldn't have it any other way. Certainly, at least, the great majority of the time.
But now, the pendulum has swung the other way -- too far, too far -- and I worry about our little ones, the children...
If you were a healthy, curious, testosterone-inflamed 12-year-old today, feeding at any of the multitudinous media troughs of explicit smut, you might reasonably conclude that a penchant for pubic hair reflected one of the more archaic, oddball and unseemly of peccadilloes -- ranking well below toon sex, artificial genitalia, tea-bagging and consensual quadruped bestiality. I don't mean to disparage these invigorating perversions, but only to reestablish the rightful hierarchy of felicities.
I worry about the shock my delightfully wide-eyed and heartbreakingly defenseless son, if such a child indeed existed, is in for when he first sees a naked woman in "real time." After years of earnest pornography study -- which yet constitutes the greater part of our society's sex education curriculum -- little blinking Danny might very well recoil in fear and horror from the sweetest blessing of the Great Mother herself (italics mine).
It might well conjure up that old movie about Atlantis where humans were turned into pigs, goats and donkeys, before everyone got burned up by the giant crystal ray gun, except those lucky few who escaped back to Mykonos on the submarine. This saddens me immensely -- the shaved pudendum conundrum, not the submarine, though turning humans into burros was kind of creepy, and has now been soundly condemned by U.N. resolution. (The Bush administration, however, refused to limit our "tool bag" of options in protecting legitimate national interests.)
The Middle Way
"The milkweed bloomed, the worms have turned
The bison graze no more
And now we crop love's curlicues
Adorning Heaven's door!"
Henry E. Panky, "Paradise Shaved"
Who could have dreamed that a small corner of curly follicles would become the sine qua non ("the good onum") of life, the slightest shadowy suggestion of which drives men, and I assume Lesbians, to woofing, tongue-wagging, bacchanalian frenzy? And how can one compare the depilated loin, something so clearly an aberration -- unnaturally bald (and, cringe, usually razor-burned), un-garnished by the delicate, enchanting curling tendrils of human parsley -- to Guinevere's Perilous Forest, Sappho's shrubbery-hidden Cave, or Sharon Stone's gloriously downy muffaletta in "Basic Instinct"? I hear the soaring, aching adoration of Pavarotti's Avé Maria when I remember that scene! These are veiled, holy places where men go MAD from passion, kneeling before a sacred, impenetrable mystery -- that is yet, with God's grace, some pluck and a little bit o' luck, astonishingly penetrable!
Whoa! I've got to calm down, splash some cold water on my face, and slip into a pair of loose, fleecy sweat pants. You may want to do the same.
Okeydokey. Now, let me be clear: I am not glorifying body foliage of Cousin-It-like dimensions. Buddha taught the Middle Way: neither too much, nor too little. Something tasteful and appetizing, but without being overwhelming or scary. The doyennes of social etiquette pronounce a tidy, neatly hedged, pie-shaped wedge to be appropriate -- something that looks pretty in, or out of, a bikini is a handy rule of thumb.
And please, people, no shaven lightning bolts, arrows, exclamation points, X-marks-the-spot, 666's or team logos. That's like towing Chartres Cathedral to Yabba Dabba Doo Land. Furthermore, rings, studs, crucifixes and chin-up bars on the privy parts should be outlawed and rigorously prosecuted -- our airport security professionals are working hard enough in these troubled times.
God's Inscrutable Will? We Survey a Variety of Opinions
Somebody's got to ask, "What's behind this lemming-like race to the so-called 'Brazilian' pelvis?" If we can identify the twisted putzes behind it, we can try to help them understand the error of their ways. Or conversely, we can have a witch-hunt!
Certain Christian fundamentalists believe that Adam and Eve didn't have any genital hair, or genitals, or anuses for that matter, until after the Fall. This reminds me of those nightmarish "Outer Limits" episodes, which scared me so shitless as a child, where horrible mutants wandered and bumped around the streets with no mouths, nostrils or eyes, just skin covered declivities. The Deity may be mischievous, not to mention indecipherable, but I'm still hoarding a small sliver of hope that He isn't totally insane.
Then I read an article in the Times about a Pakistani teacher who suggested to his class that the Prophet might NOT have shaven his pubic and armpit hair. Presumably, he was just trying to get a lively discussion going among the sullen brats, an intention I thoroughly applaud--but one of them squealed to Mr. Grumpy Imam, head of the local faith-based initiatives program. Personally, I think the teacher's subsequent execution by public stoning is a crying shame, besides delivering exactly the wrong message regarding groin shaving to the kids.
"Hmmm, I'll be jiggered," I mused to myself. According to the article, "Pious Muslim men often shave their pubic and armpit hair, while allowing the beard to flourish." Krikey, who would have imagined -- that under their jallabiyas and shalwar kameezes and bandoliers and grenade launchers, these big hairy jihadists are as smooth as six-year-olds? This apparently is pleasing to Allah.
Before proceeding further, I want to express my utmost respect for all the world's great religions, including Islamism, Mormonism, Southern Baptismism, the worship of aliens, and Ba'haiism. I'm totally against offending the devout or pissing off the crazies, except anonymously and at an exceedingly safe distance. Furthermore, I love Cat "Yusuf Islam" Stevens, and often tootle his "Peace Train" to myself as I go about the glorious mundanities of daily life. Frankly, if more of us climbed on board that well-intentioned railroad, the world would be a nicer place.
The bottom line is...I don't really give a shit what men do with their pubic hair, much less their armpits. Anyway, no death fatwas please; it's not a good time for me.
Moving on briskly and getting back to the subject at hand, in "Shogun", James Clavell's groundbreaking study of Japanese life, a group of toothless, simpering lackwits gathered round the rice pot to gurgle about the supposed penetration advantages of the "hairless yoni, neh?" This quite roiled the Women's Studies academic community for some months after publication. But in his epochal follow-up study, "Zuviel Bologna uber die Yohni" ("Much Baloney About Yoni"), Professor Harry Mahns effectively demolished this and other Shogunistic theories for everyone except a handful of obdurate Hairless-Yoni cultists now living in Tokyo's subway tunnels.
Last but not least, here's an alternative view from Mr. Charlton Heston, "The Clintonian Trilateral Council on Foreign Relations wants to crush our will to live and make us zombie U.N. slaves with hairless balls and without our guns (Mr. Heston's italics)."
Mr. Peanut Comes to Me, Speaking Words of Wisdom
I began to despair of solving the question of the "grassy-less knoll" before it was too late. Religious utopianism, jihadism, hairless yoni-ism, pre-emptive Darwinism, childhood irredentism, Brazilianism, Bill Clintonism, or maybe even conspiracy? (I don't know whose italics these are).
Then I had a luminous dream where Mr. Peanut came tap dancing out of Gillette Headquarters clutching a fistful of greasy dollars, and as he went gaily by, he whispered, "Follow the money, Bubbalouey!" [You may recall that Bubbalouey was Quick-Draw McGraw's trusty sidekick, though I remain unsure why Peanut called me that.]
The scene shifted and someone looking much like Donald Rumsfeld stood chest high amid an immense undulating thatch, waving a huge, fluttering flag, and speaking of "America's great renewable resource." I saw granite-jawed, tool-belted developers before the Statue of Liberty pointing to surging boatloads of immigrants, "People need someplace to live." I beheld hardworking capitalists bagging the rich curly silk of impoverished, education-hungry Pac 10 cheerleaders, of desperate, hollow-eyed junkies, and exploited Third World womanhood eager to join the global economy. Victoria's Secrets would weave their crinkly ringlets into an extraordinarily popular line of fine merkins,* and its "You Don't Know What You've Got Til It's Gone" campaign would go on to sweep the Obie Awards.
In the dream's final segment, I saw a yappy wiener dog chasing a shaggy wildebeest across the wide Serengeti.
I woke up re-energized and tumescent. Was it that simple? Was all the psycho-socio-political mumbo jumbo just a smokescreen? Are we selling our precious birthright for a mess of pottage? What is pottage anyway? And why is it always served in a "mess?" That doesn't sound very appealing, but somebody must like it to command such barter value since biblical times.
Un Cri de Coeur
"Give to me the life I love ...
Bed in the bush with stars to see ...
That's the life for a man like me"
Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Vagabond"
I don't know the answers to these questions about pottage, and probably shouldn't have allowed myself to be distracted. But I do know that if we concede our short n' curlies without a donnybrook, next they'll come for our freckles, toenails and nipples. How long before the belly's lint-gathering button is sewn up and spackled? Already the soft and jiggling breast, enthralling in its shifting shapes, its wondrous reactions to gravity, has been sacrificed to the rigid silicon teat that suckles neither baby nor swain. Inevitably it seems, all our dangly parts shall be deemed as uncouth and déclassé as spam canapés; suitable only for the rude, neolithic underclasses. It won't end til we're all as sleek and slippery as Flipper, as seductive as chicken tenders, defeated in our lovemaking by a lack of handholds.
Is all lost to us then, reactionary Luddites of the deliciously louche and lubriciously gnarly human physiognomy?
Damn your eyes, No! We lay shaven, plucked, waxed, zapped and spray-on tanned only by our craven acquiescence. We must stand as one, ebony and ivory, and even those unfortunates without much pubic hair to begin with, and with a single voice cry, "Here we draw the line!"
Are ye with me, lads? I bellow, a modern day Leonidas defending the Hot Gates.*
* Footnote: The English translation of the Greek "Thermopylae" is "the Hot Gates," a particularly apt location name for our own seminal battle. Personally, I can think of no better place to expire fighting for what we believe in.
From off in the distance comes the cadenced march of thousands, millions, billions of fervent, like-minded muff lovers, roused from their heedless slumber, and from their throats comes an ancient song of hope and determination: "It's a long, long way to Tipperary, but we'll get there somehow!"
This is Dr. Henry E. Panky saying, thank you and good night.
We welcome your opinions, comments and donations, but please, no photos from big, hairy men in Catholic-school blazers, tartan skirts and knee high socks.
Henry E. Panky
"Nobody knows me like the Lord...and He don't like me."
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