He can’t get it up for Groucho

Dr. Daley on Sex and Relationships

Dear Dr. Daley: I’ve been seeing this awesome girl for a few weeks now, and things are going great. We have a lot in common, we have a lot of fun together, and she’s really hot. The only problem is that she has a lot of facial hair. Peach fuzz I could deal with, but this is sort of a thickish blanket of dark hair on her chin, upper lip, and cheeks. Other than that, she’s incredibly attractive, but I can’t get over the Grizzly Adams beard and a moustache that would make Groucho Marx proud. We haven’t been intimate yet because her facial hair just kills the mood every time. Can I ask her to wax or shave it without being rude? If something doesn’t change, I don’t think this relationship can work out.

I often wish I’d been born into a culture that worshipped hirsute, 500-pound women. But if we didn’t have our bodies to loathe, what would we do, wage war?

Most women have extra hair in places currently deemed unacceptable. The pubic region, for instance. Guys bitch and moan and scratch their heads over what we’re doing in the bathroom for all those hours, evidently unaware of how long it takes for most of us to wash, shave, tweeze, trim, cream, bleach, color, paint, and remove paint from all our special private and public places. (Note to the curious: If the bathroom door is locked and the shower is running all that time, we’re doing something else.)

Facial hair, breast and belly hair, back hair – these are often caused by testosterone, your favorite hormone. It’s the one that makes us sexually aroused, after all. A little extra testosterone can give us girl-types annoying side effects like moustaches, zits, and crabby attitudes. While a blood test can determine whether this is the cause, testosterone levels in females do fluctuate, so you can have extra testosterone that doesn’t happen to show up on the day of the test. If it is extra testosterone, a gal can take androgen blocking medication if she cares to give that a try. A gynecologist or endocrinologist ought to be able to handle this question for her. (Since it’s your deal, it’d be nice if you’d pay for it…)

Other treatments for the hirsute are also available, and the physician can advise. Many women employ topical methods, from smelly chemical hair removers to plain old razors. Here, a cosmetologist or aesthetician can be helpful. Women of great courage and confidence – or women who refuse to subscribe to the ad world’s standards of female beauty – let their facial hair grow, and to hell with everybody else. They know where true beauty resides.

photo / Rich Childs Creative Commons licensed: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 

The situation with you and your girl is like this: For you, her facial hair seems to be a deal breaker. Let’s not even waste time calling you names like Judgmental and Superficial; we all have things we find attractive and unattractive in potential lovers. For many people, falling in love not only transcends physical appearance, it can render the most canine among us absolutely magnificent in the eyes of the sweetheart. For many people, there are also things that just can’t be overcome. Once during a period of singlehood in my forties, for instance, I discovered that for me personally a potential lover had to have his own teeth.

You have two choices: Break up with her without telling her the truth, or tell her the truth and see what happens. If you do decide to tell her the truth, I assume you will take all responsibility for this being a matter of personal taste, and no reflection on her. I assume the existence of her facial hair will come as no surprise to the woman who’s dealing with you. It all comes down to whether she finds you worth changing her appearance for.

About the author Dr. Nancy Daley is a licensed psychologist and adjunct assistant professor who teaches Human Sexuality at The University of Texas at Austin. If you would like to submit questions for her to answer in this column, please send them to drdaley at thatotherpaper dot com.

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