March 29, 2013 -- Memo to men: Women want you to start shaving "down below."
Meaning you should shave your chest and back? Yes, but keep going.
Your stomach? That too; but lower.
Not there! Yes, there.
According to an online survey of 500 men and 1,000 women funded by Gillette through Ipos, 43 percent of women think that men should shave their groin--as compared with 40 percent who support back shaving, 31 percent chest, and 9 percent arms.
Of men who say they already shave these same body areas, 33 percent shave their groin, 24 shave percent their chest, 13 percent their back, and 12 percent their arms.
Male practice and female desire, therefore, diverge by 10 percentage points when it comes to below-the-waist shaving. That's right: There's a "groin-gap."
Gillette, which makes blades and other shaving tools, of course, would be happy if men were shaving everything in sight (and everything out of). Toward that end, they will launch in April an ad campaign designed to break the news to furry men that women want them shaving a lot more places then they probably shave now. Only half the men surveyed by Gillette said they currently shave anything more than their face.
The ads, which will debut, somewhat appropriately, April 1 on TV and online, recommend Gillette's Fusion ProGlide Styler, an all-in-one shaving, trimming, edging tool that retails for $19.99. Gillette's website explains and shows--in graphic detail--how men can use it.
The ads feature three female celebrities--Kate Upton, Hannah Simone and Genesis Rodrigues--telling men which parts of the male body they most like to see well-groomed. The marketing folks at Gillette came up with this breathless press release: "The campaign leads up to a first-ever live body hair styling event on April 18th [which] will stream live online and feature Kate, Hannah and Genesis taking questions and sharing their opinions on male body hair styling."
ABC News asked Stephen Perrine, editor-at-large for Men's Fitness, if men should give a good gosh darn about women's preferences, where fur is concerned.
In a word? Yes, says he. They should because a man's showing his partner that he's doing something just for her "is kind of a lovely statement."
Further, says Perrine, more men are coming to appreciate how important a good appearance is to them in all sorts of realms: in business, in dating, at the gym.
Looking good physically, he predicts, will become even more important to men in the future. "Being fit and well groomed," he says, "is not something you can out-source or buy or get a bargain on. It's one real marker of success, and of having control over yourself."
Another wrinkle, he thinks, is causing men better to control their fur: They have more opportunities than ever before to see other men (i.e., their potential competitors) naked. "Whereas decades ago, a guy might not have seen another guy naked in a locker unless he was a professional baseball player, now it's much more common," because more men are going to the gym. "Nonverbally, that communicates a huge amount about physique." Again, the physique and grooming of another guy who might be competing for your job or your sweetheart.
Okay, then: Say a guy wants to start trimming his privates: Should he do it himself at home? Or should he go to a salon or spa and entrust his grooming to a professional?
"There are pros and cons to doing it yourself," thinks Perrine. "The negative being, that these are very sensitive parts and you may not be particularly good at figuring out how to manage it." He commends Gillette for having put videos online showing men how to do it.
Isn't there a third option, though? One we might call the Delilah option: Having your significant other do it?
Perrine views that as problematic. The upside, he says, is that this could certainly be an intimate experience, perhaps one that would bring the two closer together. But on the other hand, he says, "The woman in your life doesn't necessarily know how to do it, because she is equipped with a different sort of equipment." (He does not refer to the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler.)