Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)
Q. Don’t Want to Muff This Up: I have always raised my daughter to be a proud, body-positive woman. When she came back from her first year of college, there was a change in her that threw me for a loop.
When she is wearing a bikini, there is at least half an inch of thick, dark pubic hair sticking out the sides and top. We are the house on the block with a pool, so now she has been hanging out with her old high school friends (male and female) with her bush sticking out. When other parents show up they give me the stink eye. I have tried everything from gentle hints to outright begging, but she has refused to get rid of the excess hair or cover up. She says that she is making a feminist statement about the natural female body, but I disagree because her legs are completely shaved! I would have no problem if she wanted to go hairy. In my opinion, having hair only around her bikini line is unmistakably sexual. I am thinking of telling her that she and her friends can’t use our pool. Am I being unreasonable?
A: The hair…is…sexual? What?
I’m not trying to be difficult. It’s just that if we were playing Family Feud, and the category was “things people do to be sexual at the pool,” I don’t think “show a bunch of pubic hair” would be anywhere on the board. It just wouldn’t, and if you were on my team, I’d be mad at you for guessing it.
Anyway, you have some choices here. You can choose to maintain a good relationship with your college age–daughter and have her and her friends spend time at your home and enjoy themselves while taking responsibility for their own bodies and hurting no one, and remind yourself that the other parents who visit you don’t make the rules at your pool.
Or you can ban her and her friends, ensure that she thinks you have regressive views and are a jerk, and hope for kinder looks from people you don’t know. Give it some thought.
More Advice From Slate
I’m a 29-year-old man engaged to a beautiful, fun-loving 28-year-old woman who has an odd habit: She feels compelled to shave herself before every time we have sex. It makes no difference to me whether she has body hair or not, and I’ve tried to gently tell her so on multiple occasions.