Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Guest post: chest waxing – a man’s perspective

There was a time – or so I am told – when hairy chests were considered hot. Hot and manly. This is not that time. In the 1970s, movie stars, pop stars and footballers all proudly sported chest hair – …

Tue, Oct 26, 2010, 15:54


There was a time – or so I am told – when hairy chests were considered hot. Hot and manly. This is not that time. In the 1970s, movie stars, pop stars and footballers all proudly sported chest hair – and indeed, head hair – that you could lose a bag of Tayto in, and women swooned in their presence.  
At least, that is what I have been led to believe.
Now, the hairless chest is the be all and end all. Sadly, I do not have such a chest and I have spent many years idly wondering what it must be like to have one. More than that, now that I think about it, I have been oddly jealous of men with said hairless chests and their ability to wear open-necked shirts without looking as if they are going to a fancy dress party as Tom Jones. 

All that said, I thought I’d give it a whirl – waxing, I mean. How sore could it be? Very, very sore as it turns out. In fact, childbirth has nothing on this. Probably.
I could be wrong, but this waxing lark may be the stupidest thing I have ever done – and I have done a lot of stupid things in my short life. 

I visit a specialist men’s place (because saying “beautician” seems all sorts of wrong) in Dublin and give a woman €90. She starts pouring hot wax on my chest and ripping my hair off at the root. After the first pass, I realise I have made a terrible, terrible mistake. The pain is horrendous and the sound almost as bad, but, unless I want to look completely ridiculous, I have no choice but to follow through with this increasingly idiotic enterprise.
She starts at the top and works her way down. When she smears the hot wax on my nipples, I can’t decide whether to pass out, sob or run crying from the room. In the end, I do none of the above. Instead, I whimper like an injured puppy, clench my fists and pray for the end. It comes after 40 minutes – 40 long, long minutes.
I am unable to open my eyes for the duration so, when she announces that she is done, I get my first glimpse of my suddenly hairless chest. It is quite possibly the stupidest thing I have ever seen. My skin has gone from a normal colour to fiery red and feels completely numb. It has also taken on a weird – and I’m not happy to admit this – wrinkled texture, like the belly of a dead lab rat.
Again, I remember that I paid €90 for this. The therapist says the redness should go down within a few hours and warns me not to take a hot shower, or to sweat, for the next 24 hours. She also gives me a stern talking to about the need for exfoliation – not for the first three days – and off I go.
The redness and soreness do disappear, and for about a week it looks as if I have no chest hair. Then the spots appear – apparently this is my fault for not exfoliating. Who has time to exfoliate?* I mean, seriously.

And, as the spots multiply, the hair starts to grow back. And for three weeks it looks foolish, which is how I feel for having put myself through this.

* Point of note by me (Rosemary): women find time to exfoliate. They also find time to get almost all of their body hair waxed off, every six weeks, so consider yourself lucky that you’ve attempted this, realised the error of your ways, and can now go about your days happy in the knowledge that at least having chest hair is better than looking like a plucked chicken, not to mention the pain. The childbirth quip I’ve left alone, as is patently ridiculous. Still, I quite like chest hair. Thoughts, readers?

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