She'd had a chat with her BFF Carmela about how pubic hair starts to gradually fall out with age. It was one of the few times I've ever been at a loss for words and a moment that I immediately stashed in my brain's do not open file.
I've gotten away with literary murder in The Enrique Experience. From chronicling STD-themed parties to using all the 'ings (fucking, fisting, felching), few subjects have been off-limits. One reference that didn't fly revolved around getting my first white pube.
To put it in context, I was hanging out in an old man's bar and mentioned how each individual has his own distinct measure of what old is.
“For some, it's getting their first gray pube,” I wrote. “For others, it's becoming your parents.” I later mentioned that a recent thunderstorm had given me hip pain and how my geezer barometer had apparently skipped a generation and got cranked up all the way to grandpa.
“I think it's unnecessarily juvenile and gross,” my editor said in an email.
The line was changed to “gray hair.” Effective? Yes. Awesome?
Not so much.
Perhaps I was sophomoric in my approach, but it came from a place of concern. Much like my mother's realization, no one ever told me the hair in my nether regions would change color.
I did some research and found out that white hairs (on your head, chest or otherwise) aren't really white at all; they're clear, due to a lack of melanin and pigmentation. Their appearance is a normal part of the aging process (though sometimes people in their teens and younger go “gray”).
See, it's natural, I told myself.
So is being a hunchback, I immediately replied back.
I also found out, from a study in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, that race plays a role, as Caucasians and Asians will usually begin to go gray in their mid- to late 30s, and African-Americans tend to keep their original color till their mid-40s.
Lucky bastards. I always wanted to be part black. Mixing the races is “nature's Photoshop,” I once heard someone say.
There was no data on Latinos. I'm guessing sample populations were scarce given that we Latinos run to the store faster than you can say “Miss Clairol” at the first hint of a cana.
A couple days ago, I embarked on such a run when that lone controversial pube had multiplied Gremlins-style over night. A single rogue standing there defiantly like Lot's wife in my pubic desert I could deal with; hell, it even made my junk look dignified—but once more started to sprout, I knew it was all downhill from there.
It was as if God were saying: “Your whoring days are over! Good luck getting anyone near that Santa dick now.”
Turning to the same place I look to for bizarro sexual encounters, I searched through online message boards and realized I was not alone.
“I'm really freaking out!!!” vented amanda63.
“Started going grey down below wen about thirty, thought i was being punished for the affair i had,” wrote gonegrey11 in the same thread.
Advice like turning the lights off when getting it on and even convincing your partner that the odd downstairs hairs were a result of a Nair experiment gone wrong—as in the villain-origin flashbacks of a Batman movie—followed. The whole thing was shrouded in anonymity and shame, and not one single man had the (gray) balls to stand up.
Hence this manifesto. Looking for a solution, I came across a website, BettyBeauty.com, specializing in “color for the hair down there.”
On the site, founder Nancy Jarecki says she started the company thinking about women and men who “were totally overlooking this crucial beauty area,” so in response, she created a line with all the traditional hues, as well as aqua blue, lilac and “not just for special occasions” hot pink.
I was ready to order, though I wasn't sure just how much I could trust a woman named Nancy who calls her company Betty Beauty and was tempting me to go all Burning Man on my bush.
“Mijo, don't be stupid” my friend Gusti told me. “Just get the Just For Men mustache-and-beard kit and touch it up. That's what I do.”
Given that he's a craigslist masseur and has seen his fair share of genitalia, I took his suggestion on board.
Heading into Rite Aid, I could hear my own pulse, and I'd even created an elaborate background story in my head in case the cashier got chatty.
I picked up a box of “Real Black M-55” and got in line, and when the girl told me my total, I swiped my card, screamed “It's for my uncle!” and ran toward my car without even as much as pressing the “debit” key.
The instructions were simple enough: Mix the product, brush in, wait five minutes and rinse with shampoo.
Feeling jazzy, I left it in a couple of minutes more and even used conditioner for added bounce.
Afterward, a gasp. Something had gone terribly awry: The product dyed my testicles.
“Well,” I sighed, staring down at the results, “I always wanted to be half black.”