I was in the locker room at my gym today and I saw a woman blow-drying her pubic hair with the communal hair dryers. She was trying to be surreptitious about it, but I totally saw her and I was totally grossed out. In the end I didn't say anything to her, but I'm wondering if I should have. Blow-drying your pubes with a communal hair dryer: Is that okay?
As far as activities involving pubic hairs go, blow-drying them in a communal locker room is far more odd than gross.
Assuming that, apart from height of unit, the blow-dryer was being used in a normal way (and assuming also that the woman was not holding a diffuser attachment directly to her groin to preserve the fragile curl), the only part of her person that would have been touching the device is her hands. If the presence of pube cooties (pooties) on a communal item is a concern, blow-drying actually results in less genital contact than rubbing the crotch area vigorously with a gym-provided towel, and provides the added benefit of an opportunity to make love to gentle Zephyr. All things considered, holding a blow-dryer near your pubic region is less disgusting than walking around a gym locker room barefoot.
If using a blow-dryer on your pubic hair is rude, it is so not because of any genital contact, but because, by pointing a loud, pressurized air gun at your crotch, you are directing everyone's attention to it. This violates the sacred, unwritten law of locker rooms, which that everyone inside them must pretend to be totally chill and casual—as if it is a totally humdrum thing to be within striking distance of dozens of strangers' naked dicks; as if you are not a panicky, jittery, anxious person in real life—at all times.
You say that the woman was trying to be surreptitious, which is thoughtful, except that there is no way to surreptitiously use a hair dryer. That's like surreptitiously using a vacuum cleaner, or a chainsaw. Even if you turn it on and off really fast—even if you use it for less than a second—people will hear it. Even if you hide your pubic hair dryer behind an upside down newspaper you are pretending to read, dogs will freak out.
In terms of rudeness, accelerating the evaporation of water particles from pubic hair roasting it with a communal blow-dryer is roughly equivalent to kicking off your shoes under your table at a restaurant. It doesn't exactly hurt anyone, but, all the same, those around you would probably prefer you didn't do it.
If you catch someone using a hair dryer in this way and are so unnerved you feel you must say something, "Please don't put your crotch near that" is not an unreasonable request. If someone confronts you about using a hair dryer in this fashion, consider whether the right to spend six seconds shooting a jet of air at your pubic hair is really the hill you want to die on.
My boyfriend is a musician looking for work and has recently stumbled upon a tribute band that he is suited for musically and offers to pay a pretty good amount per gig. Opportunities like this are few and far between in our area at the moment, so it's something he wants to take advantage of, especially financially. The problem is, that the band is recently notorious for a sex scandal involving minors and a lead singer (any guesses?). People have been given stick for just wearing a t-shirt with their logo on, but he might end up in a tribute band playing their music. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
Here are my guesses: Is it Lostprophets? Is it The Who? Is it the Jackson 5? Is it R. Kelly and his Kelly Greens? Is it possible to name a band that has not become notorious for a sex scandal involving minors? For the purposes of this column, we'll assume it's Lostprophets—the lead singer of which pleaded guilty to multiple child sex offenses, including the attempted rape of an infant—but the advice is broadly applicable to all potential jobs involving playing public tribute (through music) to a band notorious for a sex scandal involving minors.
Playing in a tribute band is a pretty strong endorsement of the band. To perform in a tribute band is to say to the world "I possess the musical aptitude to passably perform compositions of my own creation, but I choose instead to re-play the music of this band—a band that I love." Playing in a tribute band while disavowing the band itself is like the employees of your local Baskin Robbins purposely choosing a bad flavor as the Baskin Robbins "Flavor of the Month" and then spending all month telling customers they did not support its receiving that honor. Your boyfriend may indeed believe that it is wrong to have sex with minors, but it seems his more strongly held belief is that Lostprophets RULE.
Further, while a Lostprophets cover band may seem like one gravy train that will never derail, given that there are few opportunities for being in a band in your area to begin with, I would guess that maybe playing in this Lostprophets tribute group will not bring the riches your boyfriend expects. It is unlikely the Lostprophets cover band fanbase will ever grow into such a fount of cash that he will be able to afford, say, health insurance, because there is very little demand for a Lostprophets tribute act, as evidenced by the fact people in your area have "been giving stick for just wearing a t-shirt with their logo on." (Your boyfriend receiving unrelenting verbal abuse for his career choice is the best case scenario here. You do not run with the upper crust of safe society when you join a Lostprophets tribute band for the money.) Probably the only way this venture could gain any kind of widespread support is if the group marketed themselves as a Lostprophets protest band: "We play less-good versions of Lostprophets songs...in protest."
(Incidentally, opportunities to play in a band were few and far between in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania in the early 1980s, and yet Poison went on to become one of the most successful hair-metal bands of all time, without ever being indicted for sex with minors. Maybe he should start a Poison tribute band instead.)
Perhaps your boyfriend's problem is that he's a nu-metal bassist? Or that he's a drummer who can only drum Lostprophets songs? A good rule of thumb is that if the problem is with everyone else ("No one appreciates my music...") the problem is actually probably with you ("...but those minstrel song chord progressions did not learn themselves overnight.").
Also: we consider the possibility that, if your boyfriend has been looking to translate his musical skills into capital for some time and "member of a paedophile tribute band" is the best offer that has come along, his talents may lie elsewhere.
In conclusion, there are millions of valid reasons for not playing in a Lostprophets cover band, and notoriety for a sex scandal involving minors is only one of them.
Thatz Not Okay is a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Please send your questions (max: 200 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Thatz Not Okay." Illustration by Jim Cooke.