I’m totally stealing this topic from Veinglory over at EREC, so hopefully she’ll forgive me.
See, she did a post about hairy chests. And whether we like hairy chests or not. (My comments is there, I’m just expanding it and making it actually about writing, gasp.)
For years I didn’t. Hairy chests=yuck. Perhaps some of this stemmed from a man I saw in high school, when I worked at a movie theatre. He was wearing a tank top and the man was not hairy. The man was furry. Literally. Back and front. It tufted out above the straps of his shirt and over the neckline. Supergross.
But as I age (ech), I realize…hairy chests mean something to me. And maybe they always did.
I want to preface this by saying two things: One, my husband is not a hairy man and is, of course, incredibly handsome and sexy and everything. And two, these are simply my thoughts and theories, and are not meant to reflect on anyone else in any way. I’m not a sociologist, guys, I only have a GED (damned algebra).
I think a hairy chest is aggressively masculine. Hairy men are aggressively masculine. It’s why the stubble-y look never really goes out of style. All that body hair denotes something, in the deep ex-cavegirl pure instinct hormonal part of myself. A throwback, maybe. An evolutionary impulse. But a hairy man is a man. One who can win a fistfight and impregnate you at the same time, you know what I mean?
And when I was younger–and remember, this is just me–perhaps all that rampant masculinity was threatening. I saw it as gross because it was part of a scary grown-up world that I wasn’t really ready to be a part of, that made me nervous and uncomfortable.
Don’t get me wrong. I like a smooth chest as much as the next girl, and I’m certainly not implying that women who don’t like hairy chests are immature in some way. I’m just saying what this meant and does mean to me. My physical tastes in men have changed as I aged because what I look for in a man is different now than it was, and I wonder if that isn’t the case for a lot of women.
This also got me thinking about characterization, and heroes. Most–okay, pretty much all until now–of my heroes are hairless. I didn’t even think about it. I just assumed, basically, that heroes and bare chests go together like Bombay Sapphire and tonic.
But I wonder if by automatically doing that I don’t lose out on an opportunity to expand characterization. If hair color and eye color are part of characterization, hairstyle, tattoos, etc…if we use those to show what sort of person the reader is dealing with, why not body hair? What sort of character can we denote simply by adding a hairy chest? Does it make a difference in the way we see him? Would that suit a more emo-type hero, or a beta male?
What do you think?
**Apologies for the late hour. What a day.
***I will not be blogging on Friday, I don’t think, because Friday is the Xmas party and I’ll be away all day, all night, and into Saturday. But I will hopefully have a photo to post on Monday.
****We’re doing a book club at the League of Reluctant Adults blog!! Go vote on which book you’d like to read!