Hairy men, what are your coping strategies?
June 28, 2022 2:06 AM   Subscribe

I’m a very hairy man and this produces problems like shedding, over-heating, looking gross, blocked drains, limiting clothing choices, shame, and more. I would like to hear from other very hairy men about what they do to live better with a ridiculously hairy body.

I am an extremely hairy man. I’m hairier than most of those pics people share online while joking about seeing Sasquatch at the beach. It’s not just density… the hairs are long too. I shed everywhere. My home is constantly littered with little black pubic-looking hairs. They get in the fridge, in the cutlery drawer, everywhere. Sweaty summer heat is a disgusting misery. I don’t wear t-shirts with loose neck holes. Even nurses gasp when I take my shirt off for an ECG (for which we have to shave patches). I’ve tried some manscaping but I’d need to employ someone to keep up with the workload, and there’s no point just manscaping one area when the entire body is hairy. A OneBlade is just no match for my coverage at all. And it grows back quickly anyway. The shower is constantly blocked. I never remove my shirt in public. Women joke about guys with bodies like mine. These are just a few random thoughts on my own experience. I hope they provoke some helpful thoughts from other hairy dudes.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When I (female) went to get laser hair removal, I expected the clinic to be full of women, but was shocked to see that the waiting room was filled with very hairy men, all looking a bit embarrassed.

Laser hair removal is time consuming but if your hair is darker than your skin, it’s very effective. You shave the area first and they go over it with a laser pen, which feels like being snapped with a rubber band in each follicle so it’s kind of painful but manageable. It doesn’t matter how long / thick the hair is, since you shave the area first (or pay them a bit extra to shave it for parts you can’t reach - at my clinic $25) they just methodically go over your entire body part. One of my male friends who’s pretty hairy did his back and was thrilled with the results.

If your hair is blond or grey it doesn’t work - has to be done on dark hair - so if you’re getting laser, get it done sooner rather than later as the greys will be left behind.

Finally, for re-framing your feelings about your body hair, check out alokvmenon.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 2:31 AM on June 28 [8 favorites]

Oh and for the drain, get a Tub Shroom. Best $15 I ever spent. I give haircuts to family members while they sit on the edge of the bathtub so my drain fills up with a lot of short hair and this catches it all.

Just use a bit of toilet paper to pull the hair off it, and note that it’s best if you do this after each shower while the caught hair is clean, then let the tub shroom dry on the floor of the bathtub, instead of leaving it in the drain with hair on it where it will get slimy from never drying. Just clean it at the end of each shower.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 2:42 AM on June 28 [16 favorites]

My brother has been buzzing himself down with a hair clipper (on a 1 or no guard, depending on the area) since he was about 17. I can't speak for what he does to his balls, but everything except for his lower legs gets buzzed. There are extender attachments you can
get to reach your back by yourself. He even does his pits and forearms on a 3/4.
posted by phunniemee at 4:03 AM on June 28 [3 favorites]

Also re the tub shroom, I got one based on the recommendation of metafilter for my own home use, and it was absolutely awful. I even watched youtube videos to make sure it wasn't user error. Nope, just a total piece of crap that didn't work for me. But my tub shroom use was for bathing two dogs with very different hair types, not human hair, so maybe that's where things fell apart.

Got one of these and for me it's just by far and away a much better product.
posted by phunniemee at 4:07 AM on June 28 [3 favorites]

Speaking as a trans woman who was once very hairy: laser hair removal is the way to go.

Getting it done on your whole body can be expensive, but it's worth it if you truly hate your body hair.
posted by june_dodecahedron at 4:08 AM on June 28 [4 favorites]

A loved one found that getting his back professionally waxed helped enough that the rest of his body still being pretty hairy wasn't such a big deal for him. I know that may not be the right long-term solution for you but I wonder if it might not be worth going in for at least a one-time professional waxing for some quick relief and a chance to talk with someone who deals with this stuff for a living about what your longer-term options are. It does sound like laser might be the way to go in the long run.
posted by Stacey at 4:47 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]

(Not addressing your question, but dropping in to say that I've had lovers in the past with very, *very* hairy bodies and thought it was wonderful, sensual, super masculine and so super appealing. I am not doubting that some women make fun, but please know that there are women who are going to be more than fine with it.)
posted by Sublimity at 4:51 AM on June 28 [45 favorites]

In my family we joke that you aren’t a man until you have hair on your shoulders. I was never attracted to extremely hairy people in part because they felt too much like we could be related. But then I became close with a guy who was quite hairy but it was like long, smooth hair. It was hot? Like, weirdly soft and nice to touch, and it kind of threw me for a loop because of my previously held preferences. A while after that I began to embrace my own hairiness which, as an afab femme-leaning person with those hairy shoulder genetics, has been a lifelong struggle. I’ve learned some things about how to make body hair nice!

First, try a gentle chemical exfoliating body wash, serum, or moisturizer. Don’t use a physical exfoliant because it will just rip up your skin and your hair and make things unpleasant. But a gentle chemical exfoliant on your body will help even your skin texture out below the hair, as well as unclog hair follicles, encourage your hair to shed when you’re bathing and not so much all over the house, and prep your skin for the next step.

The next step is to find a body oil or other kind of conditioning treatment that works with your hair and skin. Similarly to how you might sometimes use shampoo and conditioner on your chest hair, there are absolutely products specifically intended for body hair that you can use all over. This makes the hair softer, silkier, healthier, and helps make your skin nicer too. Since you exfoliated before, all those good ingredients will be better able to do their jobs. Everybody’s body chemistry is different so I’m not able to suggest specific products, but rest assured there is something out there for you. To just start, if you are a person with dry or combination skin, try massaging some jojoba oil onto your arms and legs and see how it makes your hair feel after it’s fully absorbed.

Hairiness in men is definitely a quality that has swung from desirable to unwanted but is definitely beginning to swing back. The most attractive thing in a person is always going to be self confidence, though. If you can work on that, coping with your hairiness will naturally follow.
posted by Mizu at 4:53 AM on June 28 [7 favorites]

1. Get a roomba (or similar) it really helps with the small daily accumulation of hairs everywhere (speaking as the wife of a hairy bald man and as a woman who sheds a lot of head hair
2. Remember that it is profitable for companies to make you feel bad about yourself. If you want to get laser hair removal- go for it! Shave? Have at it! Wax? I’ve found some very wonderful estheticians! But everyone is making money from you wanting to look differently.
3. Do you have some people close to you who you can ask go to bag for you? Who will rebuff anyone in a social setting making a comment?
posted by raccoon409 at 5:29 AM on June 28 [5 favorites]

Re: waxing, one nice thing is that hair grows back considerably more slowly after waxing than after shaving. My impression is that most people who do it regularly can go a few weeks or longer between sessions. I only do it for special occasions, but I'm always impressed by how long it lasts.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:35 AM on June 28

Get a bidet attachment for your toilet if you don’t already have one. As a merely moderately hairy person, I’ve seen how it makes a big difference hygienically. It also saves a lot of toilet paper — like a cheap bidet attachment from your local DIY store can pay for itself within months. The hairier you are the more you’ll benefit.
posted by theory at 5:38 AM on June 28 [14 favorites]

Women joke about guys with bodies like mine. These are just a few random thoughts on my own experience. I hope they provoke some helpful thoughts from other hairy dudes.

I am almost certainly not as hairy as you, though even in the US I was considered hairy. And now I live in China where I am considered a hairy sasquatch. I can really identify with what you said, as I often felt the same way when dating women.

A lot of people above have shared various ways to deal with the hair, if that's what you decide you want to do. And if that's what you want to do, I think that is great...we should be empowered to try and be the selves that we want to be!

But, you asked what other hairy men did...and I just accepted it. I grew up in a very hot part of the world and growing up during the summer I would refuse to wear shorts and short sleeve shirts. There was a lot of shame, and I know what you mean...some women (or men, of course) can say mean things that make you feel very unsexy.

But at the end of the day...your goal is not to get with every woman, your goal is to find the ones who are into you. You know, okcupid had a really interesting set of blog posts, and there's one I think about all the time...basically, you don't want to be a 5/10 for everyone, you do much better being a 9/10 for 5% of people. Because there are so many people! So even if you are polarizing, that can be better? Because like...if everyone thinks you're "conventionally attractive," that is rarely enough for them to make a move. But if someone is really into lumberjacks and you come along? They will pounce!

How do I know this? Because I met plenty of women who really like the lumberjack look and were really happy to meet me! And while I'm married now, I've met other women who absolutely are very into the lumberjack thing. And heck, here in China I am pretty far from beauty standards...even for "foreigners," I'm pretty far from what most people here have in mind (eg not tall, not skinny, not blue eyed, etc etc etc). But there are definitely people here who are into hairy men!

Wear the shirts you want to wear. Wear the pants you want to wear. That's what I did, and it was very liberating. Not everyone will like you...and yes, sometimes that hurts. As a short, stocky, hairy guy, I've heard my fair share of comments that made me feel shitty. But...I've found plenty of women (and men, I will say, finding men into the hairy look is much easier lol) who were into what I am offering! The other people here saying that hairiness can be very sensual, sexy, manly...this is definitely not an isolated thing!

That said, you should totally feel empowered to consider things like laser removal, or waxing, or regularly trimming yourself. I would encourage you, as one once-ashamed hairy dude to another, to do some from a place of confidence rather than shame, if that makes sense. Like, when you think of the self you want to be, don't think about what you think women will think (though I know that's really really really really hard!), but think about who you want to be. If that person has hair...I promise you that you can find women that are into it. If that person doesn't have hair, well, lots of great advice above.

I will say, as someone who has historically had lots of women friends who enjoy talking about sex and dating with me, 99% of the time what men (including myself!! this took a long time to get over!!) perceive as an issue with X in fact just boils down to a confidence issues. Men will really fixate on specifics physical is one, but also things like height, penis size, whatever...but while of course there are women that will refuse to look at anyone under 6" or whatever, in my experience there are a lot of women who are very attractive to confidence, to someone happy in their own body, to someone who is being their best selves. I cannot tell you how many women I know who have been in long-term relationships with someone who maybe isn't their physical ideal, but who someone that they want to be with, you know? (this is true of men as well of course, but you focused on women being attracted to you so I'm focusing on that) I can tell you that I am certainly not my wife's physical ideal...but you know, she digs what I'm offering. I'm definitely the hairiest guy she's ever been by probably a factor of 100 lol and she is into it, you know?

Sorry for the rambling! But there are absolutely women out there into what you offering...but the key is being your best self, the you you want to be. Even if you had a "perfect" hairless body, if you come across as insecure, that will affect your dating life a lot more than hair will (in my experience).
posted by wooh at 6:51 AM on June 28 [51 favorites]

I strongly join the laser crowd. Waxing you have to do constantly, and for me at least, it destroyed my skin. Laser will be more expensive up-front but will pay off in the long run.

What I'd suggest is trying one smaller body part first and seeing how you like it. If you're pleased with the results, you can then do more.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 7:55 AM on June 28

I am a very hairy man, and I used to feel quite self-conscious about my hairiness as well. I was teased at best or made to feel like I was a freak. The cruelness depressed me. I too would never take my shirt off for the pool or the beach and eventually stopped going to such places. Lovers would often insist on the lights being off.

I tried electrolysis but it was expensive and I never found it to work. It always grew back. I wasn't willing -- or able to afford -- electrolysis or waxing as a teen and as a young professional, so I stopped.

Ultimately I was lucky enough to find someone who loved me for me and didn't not care about the hairiness. She calls me fuzzy. She likes it. And it has changed everything. I don't care about what others think about my hairiness anymore and will actually swim, sunbath, or take off my shirt to mow the lawn, etc.

I know it is easier said than done to ignore the cruelty, because it's not you. It's them. Everyone is beautiful in their own way.

As for house stuff, I use a small metal mesh filter for the shower drain. And vacuum frequently.
posted by terrapin at 9:37 AM on June 28 [7 favorites]

Laser worked well for me, it’s a big investment but you pay by area and it might take an extra go or two and some patches might not respond but otherwise you pay generally in a package, by area or package of areas and I’m guessing you’re looking at maybe 2000-3000 for your whole body? But you wouldn’t need to do your lower legs and lower arms as many times.. those areas you could do maybe 3x just for less growth, then the rest of yourself the full 6-8 times… it’s 6 weeks in between and you want to start in the winter… so it will take 2 years, just working in the winter… then you do a top up once every year or 2…
posted by catspajammies at 12:41 PM on June 28

Ps- I’m saying winter because you can’t have a tan, it will attract the laser or something and burn your skin.
posted by catspajammies at 12:43 PM on June 28

When I was 20 and engaged to be married, my mom saw me with my shirt off and said "You're a man!!!" That was because of my chest and back hair. And it has only gotten worse/more dense in the 25 years since then.

I used to be embarrassed. I used to worry how people (women!) would see me. But then I realized that it doesn't really matter. If a woman doesn't like me because of my hair, that's fine. I don't like some women because of their hair/teeth/nails/pets/beliefs. It's just a single factor in a whole list of factors.

I swim in a public pool with my shirt off, usually. I'm done censoring myself to fit in with others.

Oh, and I'm fat too, so that's an added bonus that I try to ignore at the same time.
posted by tacodave at 3:14 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]

Yeah, my back and shoulders are hairy and become more so each year. That's who I am.
And when my sons look at me sideways, I just tell them to get ready for it. All part of the variety of humanity.
posted by mdoar at 1:51 PM on June 29

If you decide to wax, I would start small with an at home kit and someplace covered by clothes. If you go professional, maybe eyebrows?

My experiences:
Bikini line: glad I had 2 weeks to recover before my vacation.

Eyebrows: it was at least a week before my skin calmed down.

posted by MichelleinMD at 5:04 AM on June 30

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