Ask JT! How Much Manscaping is Too Much?

As always, your friendly neighborhood bartender is taking a break from his wild dating life to tackle your questions with his patented blend of advice and adult beverages. So belly up to the bar my friends. Now, what can I get you?

Hey JT,

I’d like to begin by saying I love SGM and I really hope you get back to writing it soon!! I’ve been having a debate with myself recently and I wondered if you could shed some of your wisdom on it. The other day I bought myself a body hair trimming device and, as I stared vacantly at it in the bathroom, I was at a loss as to exactly what the appropriate amount of body hair was for a gay man. I don’t want to be viewed as like a ‘bear’ (or whatever) but equally I don’t think being completely hairless is the best option (besides I hear the regrowth is a bitch.)

Can you help?

Unsure in Australia

What’s this? An Australian? That’s weird, I suddenly feel the need to primp and preen myself a little bit. Hmm.

Well, anyhoo, UIA, let’s chat. Hair is one thing that we humans love to mess around with, shape, and contort to fit whatever the current fads indicate. For example, no one my age has a mustache unless it’s for irony or to raise awareness for, I don’t know, balls or something. But people my dad’s age, him included, are a veritable mustache army, and the people that age whom I’ve spoken with who are into men tell me that a mustache really grills their cheese.

Why the discrepancy? No real reason. It’s fashion, so by nature its totally arbitrary. And it’s almost a guarantee that what looks cool one day will be laughed at a decade later.

But you were specifically referring to body hair. Some time around the mid 90s, men’s bodies started to become objectified in a matter similar to their female counterparts in advertisements and entertainment, and a funny thing happened — average Joes started shaving their torsos in record numbers to look more like the guys in advertisements.

Then, with the advent of the Internet and the mainstreaming of porn, people started getting a little creative with the hair down there, and eventually this trend reached its natural conclusion where many people just got rid of every last strand of pubic hair.

Everyone has their own preferences, and there is no way in hell, UIA, that you’re going to get me to commit publicly to one side or the other, mostly because I value my life and I know gay men take manscaping very seriously.

So to answer your question–what’s the appropriate amount of body hair for a gay man?

The answer is simple. It’s whatever makes you (yes, you) feel the hottest. Try out the clippers on a few different settings, or don’t use them at all, and see which reflection in the mirror you like the most. And if you feel like it, try getting rid of it all just once, to see what it looks like. What’ll help you out the most here is good old fashioned trial and error. But what’s most important is that you feel sexy and confident in how you look.

And PS, it’s true. Regrowth can be a bitch. But some of us learn to deal with an occasionally itchy grundle if it’s for the greater good.

Dear JT,

I have a crush on a guy at work and can’t shake the feeling that he might possibly be gay. I thought about coming out to him – not in an overwhelming “I love you, and hope you return my love” way – but in a casual way that lets him know that I’m gay too. Just to give an example, we might be discussing Hilary Clinton’s recent human rights speech at the UN (lame, I know, but we work in an international relations related setting), and I might say something like “Yeah, as a gay man, the speech resonated really strongly with me.” If nothing happens after I tell him that, I’ll figure he’s either not gay or not interested.

Just FYI, my workplace isn’t homophobic, and anyway, he’s not the type to go gossiping if it turns out he’s not gay. Also, I accidentally found out that his favorite place to go dancing “because they let people dance on the tables” is a gay club, so I’m pretty confident he’s not homophobic or repulsed by the idea of being around gay people (and if he is, good riddance, right?). Finally, I’ll only be at my current job for about two more months since I’m heading to school in the fall, so I’m not too concerned about things being unbearably awkward for the next eternity while we work side by side.

Basically, my question boils down to this: Is my plan to come out first a bad idea?

Needs Advice

Every now and then, I get a question in which someone has already answered everything they needed to for themselves. This is one of them.

NA, you’ve done all my work for me. You’ve described a gay-friendly work environment where you get to see this hottie every day. The stakes for your coming out are low, and even if he rejects you, you’re only there for a handful of weeks before you’re off to school. And you have a great plan in mind: to casually come out and make it a non-issue, which is what I always prescribe. If that bit about bringing up the UN speech was the end of your letter, you’d already be golden.

But, hey now, his favorite place to go dancing is a gay club? I know I’m generalizing, but most straight guys don’t have a favorite place to “go dancing,” they have a favorite place to “go drinking.” And he likes to let loose by dancing on the tables?

You’re clearly an intelligent, educated man. You can do the math. I think we all can right about now.

Something tells me this is going to work out quite nicely for you. Good luck and have fun! (And be careful, those table tops can be slippery.)

Hey JT,

New Jersey suburban straight girl here. My friend is coming in from Colorado and she wanted to party in NYC. I’m not really a city girl. Any interesting/affordable places with ladies’ nights you can recommend to two straight girls who aren’t looking to meet any guys? We just want to have a fun girls’ night out.

No Ho in Hoboken

Straight bars aren’t really my forte, NHIH, but fortunately my friend Raquel is here to help you out. I emailed her and this is how she responded:

“Tell her to go to Beauty Bar,” Raquel writes. “I go there all the time with my girlfriends when we just want to hang out and maybe dance, but we’re not looking for men. Every night is ladies’ night, and they have a deal where you pay 10 bucks and get a martini and a manicure! I mean, no one ever actually does it, because who wants to get a manicure in the dark of a dive bar? But still, it’s a fun idea. Anyway, I love it, and since she’s coming from Hoboken, it’s easy to get to because it’s in lower Manhattan, near the 3rd Avenue stop off of the L.”

I hope that helps, NHIH! If you do end up getting a manicure, let me know so I can tell Raquel what your experience is like.


To ask JT a question, email him at Messages may be edited for space.

You can find previous editions of AfterElton’s Ask Jt advice column here.

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