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Elise Sax Headshot

Not Your Mother's Hem Lines

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In our world of technology and instant news, it may be surprising that not all fashion trends are in your face, spread on the covers of Vogue and Elle. The posh panel at Project Runway, while mentioning pleats, ruffles and accessories of all kinds, including -- ahem -- hairstyles, has never discussed the fundamental mode de rigeur.

But it's simple these days to know if you are in fashion.

Look down.

If there's nothing there, Voila! You are in fashion.

I'm talking personal grooming. I'm talking extreme pruning. I'm talking shock and awe of the Down Under and the slash and burn of the Lower Amazon.

Times have changed, and they changed a while ago. In the good old days, all you needed was a quick touch up for swimsuit season, but now it's swimsuit season all year round, even when there are no swimsuits and the chilly winds of December are blowing up your skirt without the protection that God gave you.

If you're still worrying that the rug doesn't match the drapes, have no fear. Get rid of the rug.

A quick, scientific study of the styling trends of the netherworld (my friend asked her gynecologist) produced the following results: About half of women are bald as a billiard ball, and this movement towards the smooth and uncluttered started about ten years ago.

I know what you're thinking. Well, what a pain in the butt. You're also thinking: Feminism must be dead if women are transforming themselves into prepubescent girls to please their men. And: This is all Hugh Hefner's fault.

I agree with you.

Playboy has been fashionable for years, now. In fact, they, along with Hustler and Penthouse , may have started the fashion. Today, pretty much all young women are sporting the trend, and a surprising number of older women have gone the way of the light and breezy.

A 67-year-old friend of mine was involved with a man a few years ago who early on in their relationship said, "This will never do," and proceeded to remove all traces of her wiry self.

"I liked it," she said, and continued the new tradition even after the boyfriend was long gone.

In a scientific polling of my hair salon, every woman there from college student to grandmother was routinely altering their lower halves from looking Hippy Dippy Flower Power to New Millennium Minimalist Chic. "Everybody knows that," my hairdresser told me, gesturing with her scissors. "It's way beyond Brazilian. Brazilian is old news."

A visit to my waxer woman cleared everything up. I mean, she gave me the skinny on the options. There's the "Mommykini," the "Brazilian," the "Landing Strip," and the "All Off." The last being the fashion statement.

Pain aside, establish a good friendship with your waxer woman before entering the world of the smooth and stylish. Be prepared with topical subjects for when she's delving into areas only known by a select few. You might talk about the weather or the presidential election.

And take Advil.

Then, step back and gaze. You might be surprised by what's been hidden. Or forget all this and wait for the fashions to change. If low rise jeans can come back in fashion, so can 1970s bush.