Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Brazilians Killed The Lice


I was eating an ice cream cone the other day when I tipped it a little, to discipline a drip, and the whole scoop fell out of my cone. My immediate reaction was to cry like a little girl, but I didn't. Get hold of yourself, I said. You're a grown woman. Pick the scoop off your left breast and jam it back in the cone. Evolutionarily speaking, it is indeed the horror of dropped food that caused women's breasts to swell and men's bellies to jut out like a TV tray. There is no similar rationale for the development of pubic hair. That has nothing to do with us; that's just something the lice cooked up.

The lice are suffering a terrible decline, we're told, because of the usual culprit: habitat destruction. Critters get so well-adapted to certain niches that any disruption can have devastating impacts on the population. Mow down the milkweeds and Monarch butterflies are at a loss. Burn a jungle forest and lose the whole snake population. Slice off the entire Appalachian Range to get at the coal seams, and lose the mayflies, salamanders, squirrels, migratory songbirds, clean water, berries...stop me anytime...which is not to say we shouldn't do it. Because gosh, weren't we warm and well-lit for a little while there? And now the mountains are suitable for bocce-ball. Can't hang a price tag on that.

So the pubic lice are running into the same kind of problem. They're specialists. There's one place they'd like to be--same place a lot of us would like to be--and they don't have another plan. They're like folks on the Jersey shore. Hurricane comes in and rips away their homes, and all anyone wants to do is somehow put the sand back and start over. The real housewives of New Jersey are not moving to Iowa, and the pubic lice are not developing condos in Greater Metropolitan Armpit. So they're in trouble. And why? Because enough people are landscaping their hoo-hoos now that they have nothing to hold onto. The boardwalk has blown away.

I found this startling. How could enough people be waxing their nethers to threaten a perfectly sturdy arthropod population with thousands of years of success? But apparently, in a certain age group, up to eighty percent of women AND men spend time and money tidying their personal scenery. Brazilians, Landing Strips, and the works. And that age group tends to coincide with the same group that likes to swap pubic lice on a regular basis. This is new to me. I came of age in an era in which we regarded each defiant follicle as a political statement. We liked to study eastern philosophy and read books by dead Germans and do twirly dances in the middle of the street, and we didn't know how to weld or fix our own cars or hammer a birdhouse together but by God we could grow hair, and that's what we did, like Chia pets with ambition.

For women, that meant not shaving legs and armpits. Nobody shaved pubes anyway, except for the bits that straggled outside the bathing suit, which were considered more unsightly than the patch of raised red bumps we replaced them with. For ten years or so women strutted their leg hair, until the war went away and they were able to get credit cards in their own names and people quit paying attention and the Eighties came along and disco music and everyone started shaving again with a sigh of relief, because honest to God, they never really got used to all that leg hair.

Things have changed for me. I don't hang out in the same neighborhoods as pubic lice anymore, and landscaping would be a redundant exercise for me anyway. Post-menopause, I couldn't even achieve a landing strip without a combover.

Swear to God, I was planning to write about ice cream.

70 comments:

  1. I'm still strutting my leg hair. I spend 90% of the year in jeans or track pants anyway, so why torture my back with all that bending to shave when no one sees my legs? I do shave if I'm going to be wearing shorts, if I remember to. I've never manicured my lady garden in my life.

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    1. Lady garden. Huh. So it's the lawn that fell out.

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  2. Was it vanilla ice cream? Maybe with chocolate crackle top?
    Sorry,I lost focus back there...

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  3. You mean I'm not alone in losing my pubic hair? I thought it had just migrated to my chin! Got me going there, Murr. :-)

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    1. OMG. You must be right. That explains everything! Although, not in a way that reflects well on us.

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  4. First of all, I don't understand people who are willing to let strangers apply wax to their tender bits and rip the hair out by the roots. Gah! And no thank you! And I don't want to look like a pre-pubescent girl anyway.

    But I do shave my underarms and legs. Every single day, in the shower. Because I like the way it makes my skin feel.

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    1. I remember some girl in the seventies protesting that she loved to shave her legs because they felt so delicious against the sheets. That was when it occurred to me I could have a good rationale for doing what we as a generation had said we must not do--it would give us pleasure. Because we were totally into pleasure, after all.

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    2. Exactly. Against the sheets, against someone else's skin. It's blissful.

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  5. I had wondered why the Kardashian girls were so popular/notorious; I mean, who are they anyway. But then I heard that there is an internet video of them giving each other Brazilian waxes. That must be the reason.
    Haven't looked for the video. I''m willing to take the interwebs' word for it.
    Very funny post!!!

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    1. Ew, really? I don't really know who they are. You know all those magazines at the checkout counter? They're always going on and on about people using only their first names and I have no idea who they are. I feel so blessed.

      Once, as a teenager, I plucked a single eyebrow that must have been in the wrong place (I cannot even imagine doing that now), and it was excruciating. One hair.

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    2. Oh dear. You just made a memory come back. Ouch. As a teenager in a small town, before the days of teen magazines, I thought I had read about/heard of plucking eyelashes. So I tried it. Really, really bad idea. I should have had myself checked for some sort of reading disorder/hearing problems.
      Over fifty years have gone by and now, thanks to the media, we get to know about ALL of the places we can remove hair from. Ick.

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  6. This is pure genius. Every word. Killer closing.

    And, the picture of Dave in the tub is priceless, like Appalachian bocce-ball.

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    1. Oh goody, you knew it was Dave! I love that picture.

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    2. I love that picture too... Hubba hubba.

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    3. Whoevre moves the mouse over that picture will know!

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    4. Where you puttin' that mouse, Missy? Dave: thirty years ago.

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    5. Dave? That's your great big glorious hunk of man-flesh - all hairy and soap-slippery and nekkid in the tub? I love that picture too!! Oh boy do I ever love that picture. Woohoo!

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  7. As a guy, my hair grows from the top of my ears on down. I have been considering letting my nose hair grow out into a mustache even though I already have one. The post menopausal thing I thought all those years of "activity" just wore it off.

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    1. That's a nice thought, but...hmmm...hey, do you have one of those nose hair trimmers?

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  8. You do have a great knack or handling such a difficult subject with humorous finesse. I was just thinking about how I am going to have to shave my legs once again now that is getting to be shorts weather. All that other stuff is not needed, because like you I am well past that time in my life.

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    1. Leg shaving is easier now too. Once a month just about does the trick. Trifocals help also. Nothing's in focus.

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  9. "Swear to God, I was planning to write about ice cream." BAHAHAHA! You are so demented. I like that in a person. And in my house it's almost time for the semi-annual shaving of the legs festival.

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    1. These things get away from me sometimes.

      I hope you get ice cream with your festival!

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  10. Yep. At 68, my pubes have migrated to the inner thighs and I haven't had to shave my legs in over 10 years.

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    1. There are those who might think this is too much information, but I believe Murrmurrs is the home of Exactly The Right Amount Of Information.

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  11. Not a fan of pain of any kind, so I'm with you on the personal grooming, but I'm not sure how lice becoming extinct is a bad thing ... Are they the natural food source for any other, more socially acceptable, creature?

    And you're so right about the trifocals making everything look okay!

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    1. You know, my tendency is to believe that every critter has its place and should be protected, but I'm willing to let this one die out. I don't know anything that eats them. On purpose.

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  12. "There are those who might think this is too much information, but I believe Murrmurrs is the home of Exactly The Right Amount Of Information." I do so agree.

    I've experimentally de-haired various parts of myself, with varying results. I laid waste to my eyebrows, which made me look amazingly gay. I've shaved my legs, and rather liked the silky smoothness. I've even mown my boy-garden, and rather liked that as well. But I couldn't be bothered to do any of these things regularly. How all those supermodels endure the sheer drudgery of constant top to toe depilation I can't imagine.

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    1. Not Enough Information. We are going to need photographs.

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    2. I don't have them any more. They were stolen, posted on You Tube and went viral.

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    3. Oh. So YOU don't have them, but the whole world has them.

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  13. I let my hair stylist wax my eyebrows and upper lip once. I had big red swollen patches for hours. That stuff HURTS. It amazes me that people are willing to get Brazilian waxes regularly. And that the trend is now eliminating the lice population. You are a rich font of information, Murr.

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    1. Have you heard of "threading?" Really interesting way of "cleaning up" the eyebrows and other areas. Google a video of it.

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    2. My daughter gets her eyebrows threaded. I can't imagine doing it in pubic regions....
      LOL

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  14. Replies
    1. Stay tuned! The original ice cream post is coming up. The one I meant to write...

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  15. This is genius. I know where all the hair on my body is...on my face. If I didn't shave daily, I would have a heavier beard than the house hunk. Sad... Or, I could let it grow out and add sparkly beads.

    Thanks for the wonderful post.

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    1. I never go back to a hair stylist who asks me if I'd like her to "do something" about my cheek fuzz.

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  16. Have you seen the braided and armored beards since The Hobbit came out? A guy was at the Williamsburg Farmers Market a week back with red ribbons braided through his sides-of-beard. Got LOTs of attention, that did... and smiles too.

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    1. That sounds grand. I can't believe I haven't seen that yet here in Portland. Armored?

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    2. Yep- armored. It almost defies explanation, and I thought it was beard jewelry until the firstborn, a Costume Guild member, gave me the full exposition on it. The best example is in The Hobbit movie, on the old Dwarven King before Smaug invades- it looked like interlocking gold bars in a zigzag pattern. Must have tugged on his face, I'm guessing.

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  17. It wasn't technically a Brazilian but just before my son was born 40+ years ago a nurse arrived with a razor and a bowl. She said it was hospital policy that pubic hair wasn't allowed in delivery rooms. I was in no fit state to leave at the time but I've always wondered if the staff were all clean shaven too.

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    1. At least they should have had to wear a net.

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  18. Godamighty you are a funny woman!

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  19. I was thinking about scooping ice cream off of your left tit. Damn, way to go. It could have been out of your lap. Of course, then, the lice would have had a holiday.

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    1. It's okay if the lice have a little ice cream now and then. It's when they get the cake and candles that things go sideways.

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  20. I don't think I have ever seen a segué from dropping a blob of ice cream on a boob to lice, pubic or otherwise, anywhere in my many years of reading thousands of books. You'd think Jonathan Swift might have tackled it, but no, I really do think you're the first, Murr. I think you deserve another cone for that.

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    1. I JUST walked past the ice cream store a couple minutes ago and thought about a cone, but I should have thought about two cones while I was at it. Since I didn't get ANY.

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    2. Two cones...isn't that how they referred to Lana Turner's sweaters?

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  21. OMG - this has got to be your funniest post ever!

    My oldest son shaves his legs regularly. The first time I noticed that, he explained to me that bicyclists do this to cut down on the wind resistence. Heh. I refuse to ask him about any other areas on his body.

    So I keep shaving my legs...in case a bear ever chases me, I'll have the advantage of better aerodynamics.

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    1. Bicyclists have been shaving their legs for years. I never really bought the rationale. My bear avoidance strategy is to always hike with someone slower than me. I haven't met that person yet.

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  22. A landing strip with a combover.
    I haven’t laughed so much for ages.

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    1. Probably not since the piece about the C-string underwear where I suggested the minimalist approach would be to knit our pubic hairs in place.

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  23. I'm quite amazed you didn't lean over and lap the icecream off your boob as if you always ate it this way.

    Gawd, do I have to do everything around here?

    XO
    WWW

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    1. I can't do that because my boob is too far away now and my chins get in the way.

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  24. Blog post + comments = absolutely hilarious!

    Hair. We fight for it, against it. Amazing stuff. With all of the science and technology out there, why can't we have more control over our hair??!!

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    1. I am now controlling mine by mowing it. Works great.

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  25. Boobs and ice cream? I never got the chance to focus as far as the smutty lady garden chat. Darn you, Murr, darn you to heck. Roth

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    1. Smut? That's a parasitic fungus. Whole different blog post.

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  26. Blog Post of the Year, right there. And with eye candy, too. (Why don't I have a picture of my hawt boy in a bathtub?)

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  27. Replies
    1. Vivi! My very favorite Brazilian! And the boffo publisher and designer of Trousering Your Weasel. Any of y'all want to make your own book a reality without having to figure it all out yourself should pop on over to her site, blugredo.

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    2. As the unofficial spokesperson for the Brazilian people, I take partial credit in the elimination of tiny parasites. And Blugredo thanks you, Murr! It's going great and I love what we've done. =)

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  28. Crabs! I dropped a guy like a hot penny when I discovered crabs in his mustache. I knew he didn't get them from me or off a toilet seat.

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    1. Sometimes a guy has to get his mustache awfully close to a toilet seat.

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  29. Nice post.. thanks for sharing it. I really like it.
    Waxing San Ramon

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