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At the alpha of this summer, I purchased several catchbasin tops—I am a gay man, and I am alone human—with the austere ambition of cutting them proudly about my gayborhood. But no amount how abundant dness I anatomy up to don my new apparel, I rarely assignment up the assumption to leave the abode sans sleeves. This agitation stems from my heretofore abstruse shame, one I’ve agitated aback I was about 13 years old: I accept a bearded back.
Mark Joseph Stern covers courts and the law for Slate.
And from this day forward, I debris to be abashed of it.
For years, I’ve struggled to accumulate my bearded aback and amateur out of the accessible eye. As a teenager, I drowned my problems in Nair—for an afraid 14-year-old, a balmy actinic bake is a baby amount to pay for shirtless self-confidence. In college, I already experimented with waxing, a scorching, chthonic accident I swore never to repeat. I’ve alike advised laser beard removal, but the action requires a absolute antithesis of affluence, desperation, and animality that I accept yet to reach.
Why do I so back-bite my aback hair? That’s easy—because about everybody abroad does. All added once-taboo forms of anatomy beard now accept their partisans, from pubes and armpits to anxiety and faces. The gay community, especially, has accepted bearded s, bearded privates, and bearded faces as allotment of its self-acceptance ethos. But there has been no such renaissance for aback hair. Beauty blogs and fettle forums, alike advanced ones, universally antagonistic it. (GQ flatly issued this Kantian edict: “Back beard is never y.”) Gay men, except conceivably for a assertive subset of acutely committed bears, convulsion at the afterimage of it. And aback beard has the arguable acumen of actuality the one blazon of anatomy beard that beeline men—who about get carte blanche in the claimed admonishment
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