The NYT has a piece today about the trend of men going hairless--waxing, shaving, depilating--with body parts until recently allowed to grow wild.

I'm intrigued by this. I always thought much of women's quest for hairlessness was related to the idea that body hair smacked of masculinity. (Certainly, excessive hair growth in odd places is one of the more unwelcome side effects of testosterone therapy for gals.) 

Sure, too much of anything can be disconcerting. I have friends whose backhair is the sort of thing you'd expect to find covering the floor of a 1973 den. But a non-peltlike growth on a guy's chest, legs, or groin (yes, the Gray Lady touches on the rise of the boyzilian--though she does not stoop to use to the term) helps keep most men from looking like prepubescent boys.

One incredibly shallow caveat: There is a class of super-hot, super-buff men--underwear model types--that are such delectable eye candy it would be criminal for one inch of their flesh to be obscured by body hair. To them, I strongly urge: Wax, baby wax! But for even your above-average-built male who isn't an Olympic swimmer or Tour de France competitor seeking that aerodynamic edge: Why?

More than a decade ago, I wrote a piece for The Washington Monthly observing--OK, gloating really--that lad mags like Men's Health were on track to make men as neurotic, insecure, and appearance-obsessed as women. But even I am occasionally surprised by how far guys seem to have been lured down the path toward fashion- and beauty-slavery. 

Now if someone can just convince them that stiletto heels are a must-do, I will consider the playing field leveled. 

--Michelle Cottle