Scene: Here I am, reading a romance novel. Things are getting hot and heavy. Off come the shifts. Off come the pants. And then, the hero remarks on the heroine’s pubic hair, mostly shaved except for the perfect landing strip.
And I am not excited about the sex any more.
To be clear, explicit sex is not a problem for me. And details about other body parts also don’t stop me in my tracks. But tell me about what her pubic hair (or lack thereof) looks like, and everything inside me just shrivels up.
At first, I thought the crux is that describing the shave pattern of someone’s pubic region is a purely visual moment. I don’t get hung up when a woman’s sexual partner captures her goji berry nipples and sucks them into his or her mouth. But I also don’t get hung up when said partner just looks at her goji berry nipples as they harden at the end of her pert breasts.
Upon further reflection, what’s going on here for me is the weight of what it means (or doesn’t?) to shave one’s pubic hair in a certain formation. Like, when the author tells us that the heroine fully shaves her mons or leaves the perfect landing strip, is the author trying to tell the reader something about that character? Because I don’t really know how to interpret that information. If she has a full bush, is it because she’s messy or because she’s a hippie or because she’s lazy or what? Is a woman more clean and moral and upright if she never has a hair out of place? Or am I reading too much into it, and a character’s pubic hair should just be taken as body descriptor outside of their personality, just like the goji berry nipples.
I can think of one exception to my anti-pubes rule. In Blind Date with a Book Boyfriend by Lucy Eden, Jordyn tells Mike that it’s been a while so things might be a little messy down there. This works for me precisely because there’s context, and the information actually reveals something about Jordyn and her history and personality – and Mike’s response, in turn, reveals something about him. See! Pubes can tell us a lot about a person, if we let them!
No poll this time, faithful readers. I don’t want to hear about your pubes either. Sorry, not sorry.
This Hot Take by Holly is brought to you by an email Erin sent me and Ingrid about a book called “Daddy’s Worst Nightmare” where the heroine is so sheltered that she doesn’t know what a cock is, but also shaves all her pubic hair, because that detail just pushed me over the edge.