Girlfriends’ Guide To Very Personal Grooming: Business Above The Belt, Party Down Below


I am a fastidious woman. Not an obsessive woman. Not a helplessly narcissistic woman. Just fastidious. My every day routine includes flossing, leg and pit shaving, hair washing and conditioning, pumicing my feet, applying sunblock and clean clothes. You will never find me picking the jeans I wore yesterday off the floor and slipping them back on today. Nor will you see me with my roots grown an inch from my scalp. Not that there’s anything wrong with doing it differently, in fact the hair thing is rather stylish for blondes sometimes, but it’s just not me. Nails done every two weeks, hair colored every three weeks and haircut every four. So when I noticed last winter that a person (this person) does not only get gray hair on her curtains, but that sooner or later it’s bound to show up on her carpet (like nearly a decade later!), I did what any fastidious woman would do–I consulted my Girlfriends.

Long ago I learned that nothing that happens to me, no matter how humiliating, terrifying or off-putting, is unique to me. All I have to do is speak up in an honest and humble way, and I’ll have Girlfriends gathering around to tell me about how the same things, or even worse, have happened to them, but they’ve been too afraid to talk about them, too. That was the birth of my series of books called the Girlfriend Guides. We reveal our perceived inadequacies and imperfections to each other and within five minutes we’re collapsed in tearful relief and laughing hard enough to pee ourselves. Within ten minutes, we have shared our coping mechanisms or accidental solutions to our problems, and thus, ladies and gentlemen, is women’s tribal wisdom collected.

So, at a friend’s annual Christmas Party for her 150 closest girlfriends, I asked my tablemates if they knew what to do with the gray hair down below. “I just pluck them right out!” shared one lovely. “I don’t think I’ve got any down there,” replied another, to which her best friend responded, “You can’t even read a menu anymore without glasses, so how would you know?” Our hostess threw in from across the room that her own advice for solving the problem of mismatched carpets and curtains was to throw the carpet out.” Wax it all off!” was her edict.

I stayed silent for a few seconds at that, having tried that once and finding it too drafty and too inauthentic to be a mother of four pretending not to have entered puberty yet, but I didn’t want to reveal that much just then. We women have been waxing and shaving the bikini area for over two decades, but if I’d been asleep at the wheel during a 24-year marriage and had not noticed that every other sexual woman agreed with our hostess, I certainly didn’t want to be subjected to the scorn and pity of all the “hot girls.” But then our Girlfriend, Kelly, who just happened to be walking by our table at that moment shared without breaking stride, “The Paint Box. That’s who you have to call. I’ll email the number to you. They even do hot pink!” HOT PINK? Well that was good news, kind of, because if people were going Pink, at least they had some hair down there to dye, right?

I called–the next day! Sure enough, I was told that Hot Pink is a particular favorite among their clients. Ok, I live in Los Angeles, the birthplace of all outlandish ideas, so I decided to see if this was a phenomenon particular to my hometown by conducting a national search online to further investigate “gentle” (read: pubic) hair dyes for the nether regions. Two oft-searched sites offered all the traditional top-of-the-head hair colors that humans are born with and…that’s right, Hot Pink! Not lime green, not turquoise, not neon blue, but plenty of Hot Pink.

From what I’ve been told by the people who provide these grooming services, their clients aren’t strippers and nude models, either (at least not yet, but a girl can dream!) Suddenly I imagined hundreds of women in my hometown: teachers, surgeons, city council women, mothers, all dressed for work on the outside and partying down below with their hot pink landing strips or V shapes. Isn’t that fabulous? Is that what Tina Turner meant in Private Dancer?

Imagine that the woman writing you a parking ticket has Hot Pink underneath her regulation stretchy gray pants. It makes you like her more already. If teenaged boys knew about this, there would be chaos in the classrooms taught by females. And, if I’m to believe another website that was suggested by a leading women’s magazine, many of these same women are applying “balancing” scents (alcohol-free, natch) there, too. I guess one has to work to keep a party going all day long.

I feel like such an old hag right now confessing that, although it’s already June, I have yet to make an appointment to do anything about my carpets or curtains. At this point in my life, I don’t know if I will ever be throwing a party down there again–like most parties, it all sounds like a lot of cleaning up to do in the morning. And, if single people are accustomed to such extraordinarily well-groomed “gardens,” I’m not only not as fastidious as I think, but I would appear rather simian to the metropolitan. Staying attractive is all so much work and bother, but I don’t want to get lazy during these early days of freedom. Should I give it a shot, or will I just look like someone who got drunk and lost at Truth or Dare. I just hope that if this race continues till I’m sixty, someone will have the good taste and charity to shoot me.

I don’t want to ruin all the fun by asking all this is done for the reveler’s own enjoyment, or if it’s really just to score an invitation to someone else’s party. For today, I’m just going to end this blog by saying one thing; the proprietor of one of these grooming salons mentioned that women are bringing their men in more and more for what’s called “rabbit tale” grooming for guys. You figure it out. I did and it sounds fair to me.

Vicki Iovine – Girlfriends' Guides