It takes a lot to make me wince, but I sure as hell am wincing right now. And you will be too when I tell you the cause of my revulsion. I just found out about a horrifying new cosmetic procedure which is transforming the bodies of an unlikely segment of the population: I'm talking about Manhattan's overachieving heterosexual business machers, Wall Street dudes.
I pride myself on having been the first to spotlight all the most deranged beauty-industry trends of recent years. Who blew the whistle on butt-hole bleaching? Moi! Remember the urine-drinking craze? You read it here first-ish. And let's not forget that elasticity-promoting skin cream—L.A. celebs were selling their grandmothers to get hold of a jar—the principal ingredient of which was cells cloned from babies' foreskins. Well, brace yourselves: This new shocker is very much in the tradition of Scoop Doonan's previous unsettling beauty revelations, except it's a million times more horrid because it involves your accountant Morty's private parts.
O.K., here goes: Known among practitioners as "back, sack and crack," this trend concerns male hetero hair removal. Yes, below the waist. Eeeeeuw!
Here's what one well-known Manhattan business bloke told me last week: "I have no f*cking idea why you gay guys are so into that godawful Danish modern furniture. It's freaky and ugly, But I've totally gotta give it up to you on the ball-waxing," " he ranted under conditions of extreme anonymity, adding, "Wow! What a brilliant invention. Thanks a bunch!" You're welcome?
This trend for scrotal depilatory procedures—they call it "manscaping"—has now gone way beyond the confines of Chelsea. Top Manhattan dermatologist Brad Katchen has seen a surge of interest from this unexpected quarter. "Those Wall Street guys who used to just get their backs lasered are now requesting the genital area," said Dr. Katchen when he spoke to me last week from Skincarelab, his glam Soho premises. "They have developed an interest in aesthetics: Botox in the face, hair removal in the groin." (You kind of need to be a Wall Street dude to afford a "back, sack and crack": A full laser treatment by Dr. Katchen will set you back $1,500. And the price goes up depending on how hairy you are.)
Straight dudes—avuncular businessmen!—waxing and shaving their various areas, blowing their wads in Dr. Katchen's office and wasting time worrying about aesthetics? It's all too horrifying for words.
All right, it's time to stop wincing and figure out why it is that this notion of hair removal for him—a harmless nod to porno chic—seems so unacceptable and perturbing. After all, women blather on about their Brazilians all day long—does there exist an episode of Sex and the City wherein one of the characters is not getting "tidied up"?—and nobody gets grossed out. Why is the notion of hedge-funders clipping their hedges so creepy?
In a desperate attempt to get inside the heads of these new "aesthetes," I called the hairiest hetero I know, a television writer in his late 30's, and asked him to shed some light on these follicle follies. I am sorry to say that he used our brief interview to cast himself in the role of victim. His story is a sad one: After his "clown-like Jewfro" migrated to his back a couple of years ago, his wife began making subtle hints. The subsequent waxing turned into a dermatological Chernobyl. "I broke out in a horrible rash with bright red pimply spots all over," said my friend. The experience did give him a great hair-removal idea: "Someone should invent a razor attached to a stick with a couple of mirrors, so you can shave yourself back there."
After this conversation, I realized that I did not really care about what was driving this trend, I just want it to stop. Straight guys need to ditch their new aesthetic preoccupations, stop trying to turn themselves into sleazy porn studs, and go back to being drones and bread-winners. You fellows were the last bastion of self-denying un-vanity, and now look! Between your plucked privates and John Edwards' $400 haircut, the entire social structure of America has been thrown into a reeling dis-equilibrium. Between the gays and the gals there are enough queens in the hive already. Throw away the Nair, put your Dockers and golf shirts back on, and get back to work.
Let us primp and preen while you provide.