Blank Space by Malia Griggs

Update: My best friend, Rachel, and I started a new collaborative project called LOVE + LIKE.

It deciphers relationships (of all forms) in this new era where love meets “like.” This is one of the illustrated stories we published about getting waxed. Rachel is the illustrator extraordinaire, and I’m the writer/editor.

Check it out. And a new gin + platonic will come your way soon, I promise.

#PubicHairProblems by Malia Griggs

From  love+like .

From love+like.

Last week, I wrote a story for Women’s Health magazine called Why I Can’t Figure Out What to Do With My Pubic Hair.

I detailed a mental hang-up I have about my Barbara Bush that stems from a college experience. Postgrad, I’ve gone back and forth about pubic hair patterns, worrying about what men prefer while trying to figure out how to land on a look that makes me happy, too. 

In the process of writing the story, I went on Facebook and posted a vague status requesting guy help for a sex/love article. I thought maybe a handful of dudes would reply, but boy oh boys, was I surprised. I had over 20 guy friends message me, all eager to answer any sort of climax question I might throw their way. They were a little less excited when I started grilling them about how they like their pubes, but I still ended up collecting a list of hilarious, creative and thoughtful responses. And, you know, the hours I spent conversing about lady hair actually helped calm my anxieties about how to properly landscape my Busch Gardens. Most guys said that they prefer "well-kept" or “trimmed” hair, but overall, it didn’t matter that much to them whether girls are completely bare down there.

A big thank you to all the lads who lent me their time and consideration. I wasn’t able to use the quotes in the piece, but what a shame to lose these great, graphic insights. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. "As long as it doesn’t look like Tom Selleck is hiding in her vagina, I’m fine."
  2. "I’m happy with whatever grooming, as long as I don’t have to constantly pull hairs out of my mouth during oral sex. I would probably be intimidated by lightning bolts, though."
  3. "I prefer her to wax everything because shaving incorrectly can lead to unsightly marks. I wouldn’t want to be doing my business down there and see something comparable to my grandma’s rug or the Rocky Mountains."
  4. "Where I draw the line is if I’m in that region, and I start worrying about werewolf attacks — all getting a lantern out, being like, 'We should get back to the village! The woods are dangerous at night!'"
  5. "I don’t really care if she’s got hair or not, so long as it’s not ’70s porno-style."
  6. "Shaven! It’s easier to navigate a desert than a jungle." **
  7. "My GF and I tried shaving, but it got super itchy and unpleasant. Now, if we’re choking on each other’s hairs, we’ll tell each other to do something about it. Generally, though, we don’t have pubic rainforests growing down there."
  8. "Honestly, less is more. If the hair’s left completely untouched, it doesn’t feel considered, which is somehow less flattering. Like, I spend a lot of attention on making my beard right, because it’s fun — and I like people who take pleasure in details, too."
  9. "As it is her body, she can do whatever she wants. I think if guys as a whole were more relaxed about women’s physical appearances, things would be better. Let your girl be herself. That’s probably what attracted you to her to begin with."
  10. "As long as it’s not the Amazon, I’m okay. That being said, a nice full shave/wax is, ahem, the cherry on top. I won’t complain. It’s like when girls get flowers. It’s like that. 'Oh, for me?!! You’re so thoughtful!'"

**But how fun is a desert, sir?

by Malia Griggs

I recently returned from a 10-day trip to Turkey, where my best friend from college, Tas, lives and works. Before I left, my New York friends teased me by saying that I’d have “plenty to blog about” because of all the Turkish men I’d meet. To which I dryly responded that there was no way I’d be hooking up with some undeodorized European who may be chockful of STDs. 

Because the thing about Turkish men is that they are aggressive. Not ALL of them, of course, but (as is the case with men everywhere) the ones you wish would talk to you never do, and the ones who you least want to spend seven minutes in heaven with are attracted to you like mosquitoes to fruit-scented lotion.

I traveled with Tas, who is Indian, and our friend Monica, a natural blonde, and our ambiguous ethnic identities made for massive male curiosity. Everywhere we went, men on the street pestered us with pick-up lines and kissing noises. I didn’t learn Turkish for “hello,” but I did learn how to say “I’m Indian” and “I’m American” because of all the times Tas had to say these phrases to persistent guys. As a means of a conversation starter, men tried to speak to me in Korean and asked me if I was from China, from Japan, from Uzbekistan. (I told them Kenya.) One man approached me to say, “You are photo?” while waving a camera phone in my face, to which I replied, “No. I am not.”

This got old fast. Tas, the Turkish pro, was quick to flick off the most annoying pursuers, so I learned response tactics from her. On the last night of our trip, when a car stuffed with men making hissing noises followed us down the street, I whipped around, made an obscene crotch-grabbing gesture, screamed “EH! F*CK YOUR MOTHER!” in my best “Cake Boss” accent and flashed them the face of a Japanese dragon monster.

There were some creative stabs at flirting, though, that should be rewarded. A sampling:

1. My friends and I were referred to as “Charlie’s Angels” in the market, which, if you think about the fact there there is an Asian angel and a blonde angel, is two-thirds accurate.

2. Monica tripped on a curb, and a shopkeeper speedily called, “Don’t break your leg – break my heart!”

3. We went to the spice bazaar, which was just rows and rows of men trying to sell you stuff by shouting out “all the single ladies!”, “you give me pleasure in my eyes!” and “hey, fat one!” But one honest guy said, “Please, come to my shop! We have everything inside!…except customers.” He muttered that last part, so we almost stopped out of pity. Pretty effective.

Sadly, none of these attempts were clever enough to woo me into any Turkish beds (or onto any Turkish rugs). I would’ve sooner gone home with a doner kebab.

But there was one man who might have changed my mind. Here’s a fun fact: getting your hair blown out in Istanbul costs $2. Screw you, DreamDry, Drybar, Blow, and all other $40 blow-out businesses – in Turkey, hot, bearded men blow you for a price that’s cheaper than a single subway ride. It’s criminal. We went three times during our trip, and I developed a crush on Kaan, the auburn-bearded, hipster gent who dried my do. One visit, I was wearing a halter jumpsuit, and the halter became untied. Kaan handed me the loose string. Our eyes met in the salon mirror, and our fingers almost touched. It was super romantic, as all eye contact is for me (when it’s not making my stomach turn).

Did I act on this romance? Have you met me? Oh, you haven’t? Well, I don’t act on romance unless sandwiches are involved. But Kaan will live on in my memory, as will the feeling of his fingers running through my follicles. He probably doesn’t remember me at all. I have less hair than a baby feather.

Oh, Kaan. Oh, Turkey. I weep for all our possible futures.