Speaker by Various Artists

18

Pubic Address

by Sally Jones

A while back I found a perfectly formed question mark in the soap that looked for all the world as if it had been written in ink (it hadn’t), with a darling little ‘o’ where a dreary dot normally stands. I was charmed and reluctant to use the soap for some time after that.

But in general, pubic hair appreciation and nostalgia is on the way out. Indeed it could even be said that the pubic age has come and gone.

Still, I can’t help thinking back to that poignant mark in the soap and taking it as a sign that there are indeed outstanding questions to be answered on the whole vexing matter of to prune/groom or not to prune/groom one’s lady garden.

The whole thing is terribly ironic for me. If only I’d listened to my parents who told me to be careful what I wished for. Because in the Ninth Grade I wished for pubic hair; a pubic prayer, if you will.

I began with Santa. At thirteen I was rather too old to write a ‘Dear Santa’ wish list. Would Santa have sufficient telepathic powers to know what I wished for without having it written down in front of him? I knew he could fly and be everywhere at once. I knew he was a trained reindeer handler and that he had command of a sizeable army of elves. I knew he had the power to provide front teeth to selective ‘good’ and toothless children. But what of pubic hair? What was the extent of Santa’s pubic powers? I’m afraid I began to suspect, after another bleak Christmas, not very great at all.

In desperation I turned to God. But s/he turned out to be a bit of stickler for the rules: no faith, no favours.

So what if my expressions of faith were limited to an annual hearty rendition of Hark the Herald – all I wanted was a bit of pubic hair for goodness sake! It wasn’t as if I was asking for the planets to be brought a bit closer to Earth, so that some of the money set aside for space exploration might be diverted to the needy, was it? What were a few short hairs between a girl and her god? Talk about splitting hairs.

When my delayed lady garden eventually grew, it formed a trim island rather patriotically shaped like Tasmania. I was ridiculously proud. Be careful what you wish for? Pah! Parents know nothing. My lady garden was the business.

But before long the island began to develop expansion ambitions, annexing the surrounding territory until it came to resemble the sprawling mainland and I was forced to admit that perhaps my parents had been right.

What to do with these terrible truths?

Having recently been relieved to learn that my vagina is in fact “self-cleansing”, even if it was kind of a case of now you tell me, perhaps this was the answer I’d been looking for? Less time cleaning the garden path could mean more time and energy to concentrate on the garden proper. The logic was solid.

Certainly the revelation has enhanced my life in several, somewhat unrelated, ways. In particular, I can report a surge of identification with my cat, which is helpful as I’m generally more of a dog person and we don’t have one of those (too darned hairy).

Moreover, my self-esteem has taken a boost just knowing that at least part of me is able to take care of itself. My parents needn’t have worried quite so much on that front.

However, while my new found self-sufficiency has freed up time to spend on and in the garden, I’m still finding a lack of motivation to keep on top of the weeding. Indeed it turns out that cleaning the garden path and gateway is one thing while landscaping with hot wax, a sharp blade, and a cracked mirror, is quite another.

But alas, the pressure to prune persists. Does anyone watch The Big C? It’s generally a quality TV show in my opinion. But a few weeks back the female lead, who is dying of cancer, decides to take the plunge for the first time and get a full Montesina wax of her lady garden before she dies. The wax-wielding woman who performs the ritual gives our lead lady a mirror to check her gardening and pronounces the result “sexy.” The woman, gardened to within an inch of her life (if her on-screen screams are anything to go by) exclaims: “I feel powerful!”. Sexy and powerful, what more could a woman, dying or otherwise, possibly want?

Then Harry Potter returned. In the Ladies before watching the latest instalment of the saga, I encountered a further push to de-bush. The advert for the subtly named Off, shows a pot of alarmingly tall and upstanding chives, or possibly wheatgrass, alongside a brazen directive in bold: “Don’t let your Lady Garden go to seed”. Strategically positioned directly above the hand dryer, only the criminally unclean – or self-drying – could avoid it. Harry Potter will never be the same again.

But mostly I blame Gok. His horrendous TV show with all those nervously naked women paraded about for the sake of more advertising revenue kicked the campaign for feminine ‘gardening’ to the next level. At least it did for me.

In spite of my childhood pubic-attachment issues, I eventually decided to take up the blade and mercilessly reduced my hairy mainland to an island once more. Stewart Island perhaps. A hairy pubic Trans-Tasman island surrounded by shark fins, to be more precise. At least that’s the slightly disturbing thought that now mocks me every time I get in the shower and look down.

But there’s no turning back. Nobody ever missed pubic hair. Wished for, but never missed. It’s a case of you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, though apparently not all women share this view.

One woman I encountered during the course of a recent medical examination (involving an internal phallus probe) seemed to take great exception to the sight of my fins – adopting a distinct air of disdain that rather strained proceedings and left me with a feeling of: If this isn’t weird and awkward, I’m a turtle.

Of course she might have been objecting to my technique. There are no instruction manuals for lady gardening as far as I’m aware, though Gok is bound to put out a book eventually. The Brazilians have probably produced a treatise or two on the subject, but alas, I don’t read Brazilian.

No doubt my self-styled island is not as sexy as some. Meaner thoughts will surely have crossed the minds of hospital technicians at the end of a long day than “Eww yuk!” Or perhaps the woman was a pubic Nazi moonlighting for Off; perfect recruitment site, a gynaecological ward.

But Off and its technicians, whoever they are, can P-Off, as far as I’m concerned. How much does that painful wax work cost? Is there really nothing more... nothing less... nothing else that can be done?

Fortunately I still believe in Santa. So yes, I do think there is something to be done. This year I’m going to ignore my parents’ advice yet again and make a wish for a self-pruning/grooming lady garden. And just to hedge my bets, I’m going to rejoice and give thanks – in anticipation – with my very own, tailor-made, Christmas carol that begins: “Hark the Herald ladies sing, glory to our new shorn thing” and goes on to suggest that “God and Santa reconcile” just to avoid any charge of supernatural favouritism.

And on that uplifting note I’m Off to prune the hedges.

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