Manscapers Mow More Hair, Even Down There

manscaping

Ben, a 6-foot 4-inch, dark-haired, blue-eyed New Yorker, is not a bodybuilder, model or porn star.

But the 33-year-old never misses his monthly appointment at Manhattan's Townhouse Spa for grooming -- not just a manicure and a shave, but a $150 back waxing.

Video: Gillettes how-to-shave video.
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"It doesn't hurt that much and the girls appreciate it," said Ben, who makes infomericals for a living and was shy about going public with his last name.

Nowadays, trimming or eliminating unsightly body hair is as "important to guys" as women, he told ABCNews.com.

"It's like when you're in a bar and you see a girl with terrible nails and cuticles," said Ben.

"It's a turn off. And, I'm sure the girls feel the same way, especially in the summer at the Hamptons when I walk around with my shirt off. I don't need to have that back hair on display."

Chest Hair
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Ben is one of many American men who have embraced manscaping -- shaving or waxing the heavily forested parts of their bodies. He won't go near the "nether regions," but many men do.

Hair anywhere except on the head seems to be verboten these days, and the modern male will take the razor where few man have ever gone before.

A 2005 study published in the journal Sex Roles found that 63.6 percent of 118 men at the University of South Florida said they trimmed or removed body hair to be hygenic and attractive.

Leonardo DiCaprio Flaunts a Seriously Bushy Beard
Leonardo DiCaprio Flaunts a Seriously Bushy Beard

At Townhouse Spa, the number of male clients -- most of them in their 30s, 40s and 50s -- has more than doubled in the last year, according to owner Jamie Ahn.

"It has a lot to do with machismo," she said. "After the media and magazines said back hair is not sexy."

In the poor economy, women's grooming has dropped off but male business has only increased, according to Ahn.

"We do have a high gay clientele, but we are starting to see a lot more straight men who want pampering," she told ABCNews.com. "We have a lot of bankers and hedge fund guys who think grooming is as important as their work."

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Ahn sees an average of 10 men a day who need their eyebrows, back or shoulders, and sometimes their undercarriage, waxed.

Manscaping: 'Keeping it Tidy'

"It's really about keeping it tidy, and men are less embarrassed about it," she said of genital waxing. "We just clean it up."

As a cultural phenomenon, manscaping is relatively recent. Sometime in 2003, the popular TV series "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" launched a new breed of man -- the metrosexual. Since then, meticulous grooming has taken on a new dimension.

Research by shaving company Gillette found that about one in three men shave hair under their arms or on their backs, chests or groin, according to its communications director, Mike Norton.

Gillette has capitalized on the phenomenon in a video, "Go Further With the World of Body Shaving." When it launched last May, the video drew 2.4 million views on YouTube.

"Guys wanted affirmation that the behavior is common and masculine and there are benefits to doing it," said Norton. "Second, they want to know how to do it correctly and comfortably."

In the video series, viewers can click on body part of a hairless model for a narrated demonstration.

For the underarms, "An empty stable smells better than a full one."

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