Ask Dr. Nerdlove by Harris O'Malley

Help, I Have Way Too Much Body Hair!

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE:

I have a problem in that I have quite a hairy chest. It’s not so much Huge Jackman Wolverine as it is Teen Wolf. Now I can joke about it all I want by saying I put a towel down on my chest before having sex as it saves her on getting carpet burn, but it’s getting to a stage where both my male and female friends are saying that something needs to be done about it, but if I get something done I’d then be a ‘metro-fag’. Apart from their horrible flawed logic is there any thing you can advise as to what a Sasquatch can do?

Or even how a guy can go about shaping his personal appearance to make sure that he doesn’t scare off the girl with a weird-ass neck beard?

Wolf Like Me

DEAR WOLF LIKE ME: Let’s start with the obvious: your friends are a

holes. There’s absolutely nothing useful, helpful or otherwise productive about telling somebody that they have an issue, AND insulting them for trying to figure out a solution.

Quit listening to ’em and learn the fine art of manscaping.

You have a few options that vary in terms of time, commitment, cost and pain tolerance. To start with, you could always take things on as a DIY project and just trim that sucker yourself. Norelco, Braun and Phillips all have lines of body-groomers for men that specifically designed for taming body hair above and below the belt. Find one that works for you, set the clip guard and start trimming your chest hair down to something more maintainable.

Incidentally, you don’t want to just trim it all to one uniform length; that can end up looking a little weird and leave you looking disproportionate.

Trimming your chest hair to one length and the hair on your abdomen to a shorter one will also make your chest look larger and your stomach look smaller and leaner. Plus, trimming down the hair will help show off your definition.

A combination of trimming and a depilatory cream like Nair (who make a line of products for men now) will help get things under control. Just be careful; if you have sensitive skin, Nair can cause rashes and if you try to use it somewhere sensitive, it’s gonna sting like a mother.

If you’re so fuzzy (like, Robin Williams’ yeti-pelt fuzzy) that you can’t actually see skin, you may want to consider waxing. Yes, it’s going to hurt like a son-of-a-bitch… and yet women get full Brazilians on the regular; you can handle getting your chest waxed. This sort of hair removal will leave you completely smooth chested for somewhere between two to six weeks, depending on your usual hair-growth patterns. You’ll need to do some due diligence afterwards with tweezers, toner and astringent; waxing can lead to ingrown hairs and there’s nothing quite like trying to deal with chest acne before a date.

Your other options involve permanent removal. Electrolysis is one method, zapping each individual hair follicle with electricity, killing the follicle dead. You would need multiple sessions to permanently remove the hair growth, especially if your chest-thatch is as thick as you say it is. It’s also currently the only way to permanently remove light-colored hair.

Laser hair removal is another option, but under limited conditions; you need a great deal of contrast between the hair and skin, as well as hair that has a decent level of pigment. Hair with little to no pigment (light blonde or red hair) isn’t going to respond to laster removal. And if you have light hair and light skin, you’re definitely not a good candidate for laser hair removal. On the other hand, if you have dark, coarse hair, especially if you have pale skin, you’re pretty much an ideal candidate. Plus, c’mon. It’s about as freaking sci-fi as it gets! Betting bombarded with lasers! It seems like you should sign a disclaimer claiming that you won’t get upset with them if you don’t develop superpowers.

Both electrolysis and laser hair removal are going to require multiple sessions, depending on the area being depilitated and both of ’em are gonna hurt. Which is going to hurt worse will depend on who you ask. Both methods carry some risk of scarring and both are gonna cost.

If you do go the laser hair removal, I’d recommend consulting with a dermatologist rather than going straight to the place that just opened up in the local strip mall. You want a doctor who’s performed thousands of procedures, not somebody with a degree from ITT tech and two weeks of training. Because, once again: lasers. You don’t want to have an amateur shooting lasers at you.

Or — and I realize this is a little outside the box — you could learn to love your thicket of fur. While I realize the media is still on the “virtually hair-free” kick for male celebrities, there are plenty of women out there who love them some hirsute men. Let’s not forget: Burt Reynolds was almost fuzzier than the bear-skin rug he posed on, and he was considered the epitome of masculine sexiness for quite some time.

But regardless of what direction you choose to go in… consider ditching your friends. You need a better class of confederates, and preferably ones who don’t casually drop slurs about gay men when you’re giving even the slightest consideration to your appearance.

Good luck.

DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: Recently I met a young lady through a dating app. We have a lot in common and after a bit of talking and flirting we met up to have a responsible social distance date. It went well and we had a couple more and have hung out a couple of times.

I like her (obviously), but after spending time with her in person I find myself not romantically attracted to her, while she is seems interested in me that way. We haven't been physical, just good times enjoying each other's company.

My question is this: how do I let her down easy without killing our friendship?

Sincerely,

Trying Not to be Shawn Michaels

DEAR TRYING NOT TO BE SHAWN MICHAELS: Serious question, my dude: has she actually said or done anything to make you think that she's interested in being more than friends? Has she, for example, talked about the possibility of you two getting physical, or floated the idea of ways that maybe you could have a slightly less distanced get-together? Or is this more of a (completely understandable) free-floating anxiety, a fear of hurting someone who you are coming to like as a friend?

I'm a big fan of not borrowing trouble from the future, especially if there's no reason to believe that there will be trouble in the future. If the two of you are just having a good time hanging out and nobody has started making comments about being more than friends, then I think having a "So just so you know, I don't want to date you" sort of conversation is going to feel like it came out of left field.

Now, if she has given indications that she wants more than friendship... well, that's where things get tricky. There really isn't a way to say "I like you, just not the way you want me to" that doesn't sting. But at the same time, letting someone believe there's a chance for more when there isn't is unnecessarily cruel, even if it's in the name of trying to avoid causing pain with an awkward conversation.

If you're legitimately interested in hanging out as friends, I don't know if there's a need for a preemptive "let's just be friends" speech. But if she does decide to call the question, then the answer is to be gentle and be honest. You really like her, you enjoy hanging out with her, you're glad you two have met and become friends, but you simply don't feel the same way. I would also suggest that you let her know: you sincerely want to stay friends, but if that doesn't work for her, you understand. Giving someone permission (as it were) to take care of themselves can sound weird and presumptive, but telling her you want her to prioritize her own emotional well-being is a kindness. Sometimes people — guys, gals and non-binary pals — need to be reminded that it's ok to take a little time to feel your feels when you've been turned down, instead of trying to immediately shift to a platonic friendship without pausing to acknowledge that it kinda sucks.

That is, of course, assuming that the issue ever comes up. It's entirely possible that she's on the same page as you and thinks that you are hoping for something more. And while I'm a big fan of using your words... a lot of times, if nobody actually makes a move to take things romantic, things tend to settle into the friendship it was always meant to be. And who knows; maybe down the line, you two will talk about how you all met and laugh about the fact that you were both convinced that the other had a huge crush.

Good luck.

Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, doc@doctornerdlove.com