I’ve written about this before, but when I was a young man back in 1990s Berlin, I was kind of startled to realize most women I came to know didn’t shave their armpits or their legs.

As an American who had never thought about such things, I thought it was a little weird.

Then I got used to it, like I got used to people sunbathing naked in city parks even when they didn’t meet conventional beauty standards.

As a gay man, after I left Berlin for lower Manhattan, I often felt pressure to conform to beauty standards by waxing my chest or trimming in other places. I didn’t like the pressure, but other gay men tended to think of me as a “twink,” and that meant I was supposed to adhere to a certain look by taming my body hair.

It’s odd, this tendency we humans can have to police body hair on others.

What’s more odd is that sometimes we don’t. I don’t know why 1990s Berlin was different from 1990s America. But maybe it’s a question worth asking.

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