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Peeping Tom, Dicks and Harry

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I had to scratch my head when I read the latest crime by a grown man who was busted having installed a video camera in a public ladies room.

Huh? I say. Why? What possible view of a woman, hunkered down over a public toilet could ever scream "sexy beast?" I can personally attest that most women in there are just getting down to brass tacks, and perhaps refreshing their lip gloss on the way out. Honest Injun. Public restrooms aren't usually places we women want to "hang out" and gaze into the mirror or linger just to soak up the fresh scent.

Using the facilities is at best a private, ignoble act. Maybe that's the point? Hey all you peeping Toms out there, in case you've forgotten, it is the process of eliminating waste from the human body.

My friend Lisa and I had both read the same paper. We discussed this at the beach that day, a bit perplexed. Are the differences between men and women so great, their definitions of desire and eroticism at such opposite ends of the poles that we were completely missing something? Of all the places to stash a video camera, why the bathroom?

If this were just one aberration in a long line of spying antics on bedrooms and changing areas, I guess I could see it. But this bathroom hanky panky has happened more than once. There seems to be a whole cadre of men out there who would like to catch us, pants down, in a woman's restroom.

Now I don't know about you gals, but my dream is to have a completely separate bathroom from my husband. I don't just mean a sink. I mean a whole room of my own. I would like a place where there are no odors; no evidence, no seats left up and no hairs to remind me what men do and don't do in the privacy of a privy.

I think it is perhaps the hair that I personally find most offensive. My husband hails from the Starsky and Hutch era. He is not a waxer or a plucker or much of a metrosexual type at all, although he did get a pedicure once with his three daughters. It was after he'd been embedded with the marines in Iraq during the 2003 invasion and his trench foot was more than I could stand on my sheets.

"I've never seen so much dead skin," said the perplexed Korean lady as she deftly sent reams of it skin flying with her razor blade. "You been in a war or something?"

But back to the issue of hair. I do thank my lucky stars my husband doesn't have back hair, but I must admit I like a guy with some chest hair. Maybe that makes me hopelessly retro, but I like a little something I can drag him around by when he gets out of line. I'm a woman borne of the Cowsills era. Just writing this piece I'm humming their little ditty "Hair." Classic.

I'm having a hard time looking at the Times Square billboards of young men, buffed and polished like a teacher's apple from pecs to legs. And what happens when full body nubs begin to sprout? How does this feel when canoodling? This screams "girly man" to me.

And yet this hairlessness is the rage. Male body hair is out. It's officially, totally gross. Even on the legs, I'm told. College campuses are full of young men as bare as newborn gerbils. College towns have sprouted waxing salons and laser procedures like they once boasted beer trucks. In my book, this is a heck of a lot of maintenance.

When my husband and I lived in China in 1988, the country was still very much entrenched in Communist doctrine and was still somewhat closed to outsiders. I remember our tutor, Hu Bo, one day pointing to the fine blonde hair on my arm.

"You westerners have lots of hair," she said. "African people too. We Chinese are higher up on the evolution chain," she said pointing at her own basically hairless forearm." It's all in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.

I will admit, that those stray man hairs are pesky, especially on the white tile bathroom floor. It's no mystery that 'the hair down there" as my friend Nancy Jarecki calls it, with her line of "Betty" products for dying your private parts, is the new rage in many circles. Betty makes hair dye to give you a patch of "Malibu Blue," a hot pink "Fun Betty," the most popular color, or boring old blonde, brunette or black to name a few.

Women are discovering the joys (and pain) of landing strips, Brazilians, even heart-shaped designs and initials the way my mother used to stencil on antique tin. And now I even hear men are getting in on the act.

I recently learned about the "in-be-tweenie" procedure. Uh huh, that's right girl friends. I'm talking about waxing in between his "naughty bits." Men are now feeling like they need to pay more attention to their nether-regions. Not only would this leave one looking like a two-year old little boy potty training, but how would that feel? I can only imagine it might be like waxing the skin of your eyelids. Mama Mia. The things we suffer for beauty.

I'm not sure this trend has caught on like wild fire, and the men I mention it to wince mightily just thinking about the prospect. But I want to know who, by the way, gets to execute that job and how much are they paid?

And while you've got me on the topic, I don't understand the total hair removal thing for women in that area. What is the fascination with a 40 year old Mom mimicking the body of a 10 year old girl? Where I come from they call that pedophilia. I can't fathom the attraction in that one and I think I'd beat my husband over the head with a handbag if he suggested it. Or maybe I'd make him get an "in-be-tweenie" first.

The longer I am married the less I want to see ANY portion of the grooming thing. I don't need to see pimples or hairs growing in ears and noses. And I don't want to see them removed.

One of my theories about this apathy is that when you get finished with the early, exhausting days of motherhood, you've really seen all there is to see about what the human body can do. After you get out of the baby stage, you've been pooped on and peed on, you've seen diarrhea diapers and projectile vomiting. You've even had them barf on others. That can kind of take the wind completely out of your sails.

All those things I once found so fascinating about male bodies, I'm happy now to just read about. Bodily functions can stay in biology class, or bathrooms, thank you very much. I recommend a little mystery to keep things fresh.

So what of the peeping Toms? What should we do with these fetishists? Somebody please go get these guys a subscription to Playboy or Hustler. Let them legally spy on a few women willing to take it all off for our viewing pleasure. Leave the rest of us to get back to our business. In private.

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