You know what’s a funny joke about a guy? That he has back hair. It’s hilarious! It’s funny because back hair is just inherently funny. It’s inherently gross. Because—because it’s HAIR! On someone’s BACK! EW! Hair is not supposed to be on a back, right? It’s supposed to be on a head! Obvi. Which is actually why it’s also funny when a guy doesn’t have enough hair to cover the top of his head. Because that is where the hair is supposed to be! And it looks ridiculous when it isn’t!
I think that’s how the logic goes, anyway. I’m trying to figure it out, because I definitely notice a lot of smirking, humorous references to men who are balding or men who have back hair, without any explanation for why these things are supposed to be so unappealing and ridiculous as to be amusing.
There are gleefully explicit scenes in movies where guys need to get their back hair waxed before they can even approach a woman. Because what self-respecting woman would ever even consider a man with hair growing on the wrong side of his body?
(hold up! you just crossed over to the wrong side of the tracks! source)
I admit it, I have giggled agreeably along with these observations about unfortunate, socially unpresentable men. You know, when one of my friends is relating a story about a guy she ended up deciding against, and she adds, lowering her voice secretively, but with a note of righteousness, “And…he had back hair!” Or, “He was totally going bald…” So that we can all understand exactly how bad it was. This was the sort of thing she was dealing with, so, you know, she did what had to be done.
Just like the nice guy I wrote about who made all those not-so-nice comments about women, I don’t think that making these comments about men necessarily makes women mean. I think when we do this, we’re often just employing the jargon. Like a tired comedian wrapping up her set, we’re just making the jokes we know will get a laugh. And when we do end up dating/loving/appreciating a guy with back hair, we simply don’t mention it. Why would we? We don’t want anyone to think poorly of him, or be grossed out by his body. No need to even get into it.
I remember the first time I ever saw Bear without his shirt. And there is a reason I call him Bear. He’s fantastically furry. And I didn’t know until then that I would like that sort of thing, but instead, I loved it.