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Read these horror stories before you reach for the razor
By Patrick Huguenin
We write a lot about manscaping. Because let’s face it, even if it sounds fussy, keeping your body hair in check is something every dude needs to do. Sure, not every guy who agonizes over their chest hair tries to perfectly taper their pubes. But almost everyone—at some point—has felt the need to clean up his natural undergrowth. And more than likely, you’ve probably made a mistake or two. We’re praying none of them were as bad as what you’re about to read here.
See, we spend our days talking to dermatologists, grooming experts, and normal guys about things men should do to look and feel their best. And with that comes a hearty side of “things men should never do.” For some reason, manscaping seems to inspire an unusual amount of horror stories. Maybe it’s because it’s the ultimate DIY activity. But unlike any other home project, this one combines sharp objects and your most tender parts.
So steel yourself, cross your legs, and read on. But remember, if you ever try any of this stuff at home, you can’t say we didn’t tell you so.
The ball trim gone wrong
Some parts of the manscape are trickier than others. The unlucky guy in this story had successfully trimmed his upper pubes when he noticed all the hair on his balls. “I’m not super hairy so I usually just use one of those nail scissors with the rounded tip to trim whatever needs trimming,” says the 30-something government employee, who wished to remain anonymous. “But I’d just moved, and the only thing I had unpacked was those kitchen scissors with the orange handle.”
As our unfortunate guy tells it, he was so focused on holding his penis safely out of the way, that he failed to notice when a fold of his scrotum fell within the blades.“The tip of the scissors closed on the skin and I literally went blind for like five seconds,” he says. “I saw stars.” Worried that he had opened a hole in his sack, he did what any grievously injured person would do and called Emergency Services. Then he had the fun task of explaining to paramedics what had happened. Luckily for him, it was just a nick. “I was asking if I needed stitches, and they were like, ‘Dude, no.’ I put on antibiotic ointment and a bandage. I swear I can see a tiny scar there, but no one’s ever noticed it.”
The ingrown crack hairs
Part of the danger with manscaping is it can lead you to focus obsessively on a certain body part. For the guy in this story, 24, it was the hair between his butt cheeks. “I’m generally not super vain,” he says, “but I had a lot of hair in my crack. I live near a place that advertised ‘mankini waxes’ so I went and did it.” This brave dude describes the pain of the wax as “not that bad.” At least, he says, it was over fast. What wasn’t over fast was the following month in which the hair grew back—some of it in the wrong directions. “There’s a lot of friction in that area, and the ingrown hairs were miserable,” he says. “I bike to work. That wasn’t happening. I just had to wait it out.”
The “Worm in the Nest”
This mistake may be the most widespread, according to this dermatologist who sees it on “at least a patient a week.” “I think men have read that trimming the hair around the base of the penis makes it look longer,” he says. “But this advice leads to something I call ‘the worm in the nest.’”
Here’s what that looks like: You stretch your penis out, trim all around the base, but don’t trim the rest of your pubes. When your penis retracts back into place, it’s like a … well, a worm in a nest. “There are other things I could call it,” says the doc. “’Naked mole rat in a tunnel.’ ….” Just think about this: Most manscaping takes place when you’re headed out the door to do something intimate. Your flaccid penis in a hollowed-out bush of pubic hair isn’t your best look.
The burning nipples
“Tom,” a bartender, thought he’d found a shortcut to get rid of his chest hair. “I used to trim it, but for summer I wanted it completely gone,” he says. “And I didn’t want to deal with shaving it again and again all season.”
His fix: Nair. The hair-removal cream contains active ingredients like lime and lye to break down hair. No offense to Nair, but lye is also what assassins use to dissolve corpses. The package directions warn you to do a patch test first, and not let the substance sit on the skin for longer than necessary. But as a novice, Tom jumped right in. And his nipples suffered. “My chest hair came off, but my nipples burned,” he says. “And the complication is you have to wipe the Nair off, so I was pretty convinced my nipples were coming off, too. When I think about it, I can still feel it.”
The warts/razor disaster
Finally, a dermatologist gave us a manscaping mistake that is the stuff of nightmares. “I’ve seen a lot of men, when they have genital warts, continue to shave their pubes,” he says. “So they create a nick in their skin and drag the virus.” Yikes.
So remember, do what you need to do, but wisely. Consider how short you really need to go, always have the right tools, and, at all costs, avoid anything that burns, scrapes, or slices.
Originally published on menshealth.com