On the Brazilian mullet
It starts out, like most bizarre, women's-nether-region-hair-trends tend to, with whispers among friends. Or blatant statements even.
"I don't get a full Brazilian any more," announces Jane at a third birthday party. Entirely appropriate conversation to go with the pirate theme. Needless to say, Jane is not her real name. "I feel like I need a bit more coverage these days."
There are gasps from the all-female panel, not because we're having this conversation while children are playing pass the parcel, but because who admits to being hairy?
"I still wax underneath," Jane is quick to clarify. Perhaps it's the rosé talking (have you ever been to a three-year-old's birthday? Wine is necessary and the hosts know it), because something propels Jane to continue, "I've just grown out the top and keep the underneath bare."
"Kind of like a hippie Brazilian?" asks Louise (not her real name either, in fact, no real names will be used in this story).
It's quite the revelation. Since the Brazilian seized a monopoly on women's pubic hair and brutally ripped it out in the name of something-new-to-do-and-convince-women-it's-necessary, it's been de rigueur to go hairless. Of course, some women have always liked a "landing strip" but this trend is scary hairy on top, completely bare underneath.
When I bring the subject up with Vera Tanovic from V Beauty in Darlinghurst, who's been waxing women's bits for well over two decades, she confirms the trend.
"I call it a customised Brazilian," she says, "with shades of 1960 and memories of Nimbin, but still with the sensibility of 2014."
It almost sounds like a fine wine.
"Girls are wanting this look more and more," Vera says, "but to please their partner they'll sometimes ask for the hair to be groomed on top. So instead of full bush, they'll go for a triangle. Something that's more natural but still with a bit of mystery. It's good compromise for what their man wants and what the woman is comfortable with."
It's been years since men had to deal with hair down there. Will there be a rebellion? Will men refuse to have sex?
"Of-bloody-course-not," says my friend Dave, 32, an expert in the field apparently. Indeed, have you ever heard of a man refusing to have sex because a woman is hairy? While some certainly do have a preference for grooming either way, the majority would prefer to have sex with a full-bushed woman than no sex at all.
"But they might not come back for round two," Dave says rather politically incorrectly. "I don't want to be confronted with a full bush, that's the bare truth, but a little bit of hair is nice."
He confirms that waxing the undercarriage should still be on every woman's to do list. "There's an unspoken agreement, isn't there? That we all take care of that area."
But what about the Brazilian Mullet, as Dave so fondly named it [we see it more as the Vanilla Ice, if you see what we're saying]. Is full bush on top a thing?
As usual, we turn to the woman who's got the world record for setting most trends since I was a teenager: Kate Moss. She banned the Brazilian a whole five years ago, leaving the hair free on top, but trimmed in a wide strip, and if her photoshoots are anything to go by, waxing the underneath. As usual, she's been waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.
"She's certainly in the trend's age bracket," says Ina Clow, from renowned Sydney salon Ciao Bella, who puts the new look down to an older clientele. "I think the more mature a woman gets, the more they realise they don't want to be completely bare any more."
Cameron Diaz agrees, dedicating a whole chapter to waxing the bikini area in her recently released The Body Book. She's an advocate for hair down there, with a section called "In Praise of Pubes". Naturally.
Cameron writes, "I hear that there's a big fad these days of young women undergoing laser hair removal on all of their lady bits ... Personally, I think permanent laser hair removal sounds like a crazy idea."
And she goes further, describing pubic hair as "a pretty draping that makes it a little mysterious to the one who might be courting your sexiness... Twenty years from now, you will still want to be presenting it to someone special, and it would be nice to let him or her unwrap it like the gift that it is."
No doubt she's onto the Brazilian Mullet and spreading the message among famous friends. Gwyneth Paltrow swears it's Diaz who has to hold her down when she gets a wax because she finds it so painful, but she's also said she often "rocks a '70s vibe down there." Which can only mean one thing: Gwyneth has a Brazilian Mullet.
Leah Ingram from Leah's Waxworks says the trick is to "Trim the hair from the sides so there are no escapees, and essentially leave the rest on top. It's popular with older women but the younger set still want it all off," she says.
And this is something my friend Dave confirms: "I'm seeing a 24-year-old and she's got it all lasered off. There's no hair down there."
Is that a hint of disappointment I detect in his voice? Funnily enough, I think it is.
Sydney Morning Herald