Image courtesy of Jonny Trunk.
I didn’t realise it until just the other day, but being in prison for years has made me the kind of filthy old man who used to give me the fear when I was younger (and un-incarcerated). I had this revelation when I was confronted with some very current pornography and was not only turned-on, but also felt the need to critique it culturally the best I could. (Which is really just an excuse for thinking about naked chicks even when I’m not jacking off.) Until recently, the last time I saw a Playboy was when Jimmy Carter was President. But last week I had my first look at a centrefold in a lot of years. Beyond the obvious observations (tits, check; ass, check), I noticed one strange thing. Miss April got no hair down there! I flipped to the other pictorials only to discover they all wore the same prepubescent “vertical smile”. I know these models have to be at least 21, so how come most sport none, or very little, pubic hair? I sense that something of great social and cultural import has passed me by while I’ve been behind bars. It’s like I fell asleep one night and, in a reverse Rip Van Winkle, the whole world got busy with the shaving cream. Why have all the “nether goatees” been so ruthlessly and utterly hacked into nothingness? Women I’ve known have always had a penchant for pruning. I once had a girlfriend who shaped hers into a heart for Valentine’s. I knew another who clipped hers into a diamond on their engagement night, and then there was an all girls band in the 70s who contoured theirs into little guitars. But this modern vogue, this movement toward clear cutting, is a whole other slice of the “honey pie”. What makes us human, what keeps our worlds real? It can be found in the imperfection of our bodies, in the imperfect way they move through this world. Our bodies are made to be lived in, so celebrate your nicks and scars, adorn the skin with tattoos if you like, manicure your pubes to your heart’s content, but always remember the rounded tummy or the small droop in the imperfect breast is the one with soul. If I were you, my little playboys and dixie chicks, I would guard my imagination—and most of my pubic hairs—against the onslaught of fickle fashion, because when the party is over and the morning light finds you alone in bed, they might be all you have to hang on to. Stephen Reid’s the Canadian convict turned writer turned convict again who’s married to Susan Musgrave the poet lady.