When Daniel Craig had his birth of Venus (more like Mars) moment, emerging from the sea fully hench, we all knew this sexualised image was the dawning of a new era of Bond.
That was 2006, and was many people’s first introduction to the first of his five Bond films, Casino Royale.
From Left - 2006 -2020
Fast forward to 2020, and, as Craig bows out of his dinner suited role, we get another undressed look thanks to British GQ.
Now, 52, he looks just as toned and muscular as he did 14 years before. He looks good, but, there’s something of out of step and slightly dated about the image. While he hasn’t changed, men have.
The clean-cut, shaved, tanned and hairless body of 2006 looks almost immature for a man today. There’s a slight hairy treasure trail above his waistband, but it feels like he’s stuck in a Love Island-like time warp sponsored by Veet.
Like I’ve written before, (see below) men are hairy now. From Only Fans porn stars to Frida Kahlo, hairy is lazy and it looks great. I don’t know why, but it just looks right, and that’s the whole point about it looking and feeling contemporary.
Maybe Daniel Craig is naturally hairless and that’s totally cool, but if he’s not, then it’s time for the natural Craig to step out of the water.
Right - We've had a hairy Bond before - Sean Connery
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People like to watch traditionally attractive people. It’s the foundation on which the majority of reality TV shows and Instagram is based upon. Love Island returns to our screens, and while I dip in, I’m usually away for men’s fashion weeks to get the full minutiae of people trying to fulfil their social media destiny, it is, currently, a huge influence. It’s also a barometer of how this demographic of people look and what they buy and do when to comes to fashion and grooming.
Left - Love Island contestant Curtis with no underarm hair looking like a holiday from the 90s
The prevailing trend for men seems to still be bald as a coot bodies. The hirsute trend we’re seeing in porn, in gay culture and even in women, doesn’t seem to having an impact on this group of people. Or on the producers casting these people. There’s even one guy, Curtis, who doesn’t seem to have any underarm hair. He probably won’t be the only one…
When Frida Kahlo is the poster girl for women, is it a wonder how this smooth ideal for men persists. It does feel like this is the last gasp of the completely smooth trend we’ve been seeing since of the 90s when grooming and men messing around with their intimate areas first started.
A report from Mintel last year stated 46% of British men remove hair from their bodies, up from 36% in 2016. They also discovered that 57% of young men aged 16-24 remove hair from their pubic region. UK sales of shaving and hair removal products to reach £558 million in 2018 with Veet the headline sponsor of reality TV, TOWIE. According to Mintel’s Shaving and Hair Removal – UK, October 2016, 14% of men say that they remove hair from their chest, rising to 20% amongst men aged 25-44.
It does feel like we’ve reached peak body grooming and the figures will start to reverse when they realise looking smooth looks dated and as fashionable as a tribal tattoo or skinny white jeans.
The trend for hairy has been growing for a few years now, some have been calling it the ‘Poldark Effect’, named after actor Aidan Turner’s hairy torso seen scything in the BBC drama.
Right - When Frida Kahlo is today's poster girl for women, is it a wonder how this smooth ideal for men persists
Often removing body hair was about appealing or pleasing a partner. According to dating site MissTravel.com – which conducted a poll on male chest hair – 2017's straight women prefer partners with bare chests (61 per cent like a man to shave or wax), while gay men prefer them hirsute (at 58 per cent).
Gay men are often the leaders of trends when it came to fashion and grooming and were the first to start removing hair, they are now doing the reverse. Men now look lean and hairy as opposed to bulked out and smooth like in previous decades.
Hairier is, now, seen as more masculine, more mature and sexier. Being smooth looks immature and feminine and it’s this polarised worlds of hairy versus smooth which makes the Love Island guys look even more confusing. On a positive, at least those Jacuzzi filters won’t be getting clogged up.
Below - The full 2019 Love Island line up of without a single body hair