Berlin: Irresistibly Beautiful Armpits

Posted on August 8, 2006



by michael scott moore

This is a deodorant ad in Berlin. The caption means (yes) "Irresistibly Beautiful Armpits."

For me armpits have never been much of a thing, but I have noticed a distinct change in European women’s shaving habits since the Wall fell. When I was in Germany and France and Spain at the end of the 80s you could still make a joke about riding public transportation and being shocked — shocked! — by the masculine underarm hair on otherwise stunning continental women.

Now everyone shaves. German women say it’s just another dreary sign of the west (and capitalism, and fashion) overtaking the east; others think it’s simply a function of more people everywhere shaving everything. But can anyone place when this started to change?

I don’t mind underarm hair, for the record, even though I’m from L.A. I still remember a Boston woman in the 90s, who admittedly went to a women’s college, asking a Californian friend of mine whether she "shaved under her arms." The California friend said no one would ever have asked that question in L.A., because of course all women did. Now I don’t think the question would even get posed in Boston. Does this mean Southern California is taking over the world?