Leg Hair: Useless Fur, or Gateway to Manhood?

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Leg hair is one of those things that, when it comes to grooming, doesn’t get a lot of pub. And it wouldn’t, really. Unlike something like say, ear hair, the jury really isn’t out on whether leg hair is working for us or isn’t—it is, or so says the 85% of men who don’t shave their legs. But manscaping down there does have its advantages for some. For athletes like cyclists and swimmers, a full shave has the power to turn them from least to beast. But while we’re deciding whether to shave it off like Phelps, or keep it long like Frodo, let’s talk about why humans have leg hair in the first place:

What science says. There used to be a whole lot more of it. According to Dr. Alan R. Rogers, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Utah, humans sported a permanent pair of Ugg boots until we shedded our voluminous body hair 1.2 million years ago. Nobody’s totally sure why evolution called for trimming our leg locks, but chances are less fur helped our ancestors beat the heat when they ditched shady woodlands for warmer climates.

Why it’s there in the first place. In modern times leg hair is all fashion and no function. But in the days before pants, our furry covering kept us from freezing to death at night and (sun)burning to death during the day. So thanks, leg hair, for keeping the human race temperate.

What other guys make of it. “Leg hair is the gateway to manhood,” says 26-year-old Gary. “I remember hanging out with my male friends in sixth and seventh grade, and we all had leg hair, but none of us had kissed a girl yet. We knew it was coming though, because our legs told us so.”

The gateway to manhood? More like not a big deal according to 27-year-old Risa. “A lot of men I’ve dated seem super insecure about the parts of their legs where the hair has rubbed off—like those little bald patches they get from their pants rubbing against their legs. It’s hardly noticeable at all. No one is inspecting your leg hair like that, bro.”

How to tame it. Unless you’re a swimmer or a cyclist, society seems to agree that a man’s leg hair should stay put. But, if you want to know pure bliss, “try getting into bed with freshly-shaved legs,” says 31-year-old swimmer Chris. If you do opt to get rid of the stuff, it can be a challenge—expect to be in the tub or shower with 2-3 razors for at least a couple of hours. And if you ever want it back, just be prepared for the regrowth period to get seriously itchy.