Will McAdam

Plucking Hell – The Thorny Issue of Chest Hair.

As you have all no doubt come to realise, my hair is the driving force behind many of my finest attributes: my personality, my modest nature, my acclaimed mode of literary criticism. Some of Britain’s finest have got themselves into all sorts of trouble to come close to the gravity-defying structure that is my fringe.

Yet, my friends, I am not quite the red-blooded expert of all things hirsute that I have so successfully portrayed myself as; for I’m hiding the development of a very tangled mess, and I just can’t take it any longer. My bouff is all bullshit and bluff. That’s right everybody: I’m starting to get visible chest hair and, frankly, I’ve not got a fucking clue what to do about it. Yes, I know, this shouldn’t be a problem for a man in the twenty-first century, not least a gayman; but that’s just the problem. It was ok for me to shave off the first signs of growth when I was confused; it was all part of the fun.

But now, now I’m a grown up. I shouldn’t be surreptitiously sneaking my razor to the shower, jumping when my naturally smooth (and buff) housemate ‘accidentally’ bumps into me on his way out (that’s a story for another day). I should be able just to let nature take its course and turn me into the hairy primate that we know, deep down, we all are. Problem is, I’ve taken to wearing women’s vest tops, so I show a lot of chest (well, rib). And with the rib comes the hair as they say. It has to be dealt with. And it has, to an extent, although the way to salvation troubles me, and will probably repulse you beyond your wildest dreams. I really never meant it to go this far… So I went to my one straight male friend, who works at All Saints, and has pitiful chest hair too. We were chatting about girls and shit (I needed to lull him to a false sense of security), when I bit the bullet, swallowed the pill, grabbed his bull by the horns. “Ant?” I ventured. “Yes mate?” “How do you keep your chest pubes so manly and yet so considered?”

He seemed a tad startled at first, before warming into his hybrid horti-pedagogical role. After delineating a suitable method of chest control, I bade my goodbyes and made to leave. But he wasn’t finished. Oh no. He had one more thing to say, and he obviously relished the chance to unleash one of the locker room’s darkest secrets on the unsuspecting puppy that I am. “Bollocks,” he gushed, before cracking a smile. You see, apparently it’s not just the chest that your local footie player keeps conditioned. Smooth bollocks are in, and there’s only one way to do it. “Pluck the buggers,” he beamed, breathing a touch heavier than necessary. “But steam ‘em first. You gotta open the pores a bit, throw yourself a bone, if you know what I mean?” I knew what he meant: more paving than usual in the English country garden. And it makes sense really, I suppose. So if you ever see me wincing on my cycle ride to Sidgwick, you’ll know that, no matter how big my bouff is, I’m a bald man deep down.