Picking: a couples grooming ritual some consider horrendous but others love.
My husband is leaning over the bathroom sink, and instantly I'm lured from my comfort zone on the couch. I'm seduced by how the fluorescent light outlines the curve of his bicep, the muscles of his back. He looks up and returns my devilish smirk in the mirror's reflection. I make my move.
A bright red zit in the small of his back has come to a head—and I must have at it this instant.
"I don't get why this amuses you," he sighs, exasperated at my zeal.
"Because your body is no longer yours," I calmly explain. "It's mine."
Gross? Uh, yeah. But I can't help myself.
Before we started dating, I was a picking virgin, but I'd always longed to find a man who would satisfy all my needs, including this one. And it wasn't until we were well into our relationship that I gleaned the courage to approach him with my grubby little mitts. Now, more than ten years into it, there's no stopping me.
My friend, Julie Keating from Wellesley, MA, thinks my compulsion is absolutely revolting.
"I don't get it," she said. "I always want to see my husband in the most attractive light. It's nasty to pick his skin. I need some boundaries!"
Like Julie, I'd assume that most gals prefer to keep their hands to themselves, but in researching this article, I've found a sorority of "pickers" who are as enthusiastic about the practice as I am. Why Men Need You To Groom Them
Alexia M., a 24-year-old grad student, says there's "some sort of satisfaction in seeing something to pick" on her live-in boyfriend (of about a year). "If I see something, I almost can't control my hands. I have to do it. I sometimes try in public, but he won't let me."
Kim G., a 26-year-old account executive, can't even wait until she gets indoors to come at her man. She says her boyfriend of three years allows her to sate her "overwhelming" compulsion right out on the street. "We went out Saturday night and I saw a zit on boyfriend's neck on the subway platform. I had to have at it right there!" she explains. And he let her.
She also assists him with a myriad of other self-maintenance exercises, such as hairstyling, eyebrow plucking and the increasingly popular Biore-stripping. "I won't get the box for him, but I'll get it for me and offer him a strip," she explains. "I feel like I'm helping him take care of business. I think you should shower and brush your hair every day. When we first started dating, he wouldn't brush his hair for days and I was like, 'How could you not brush your hair?' I like to be clean and groom myself, so I want him to do the same." A Man, His Haircut And Your Opinion
What's behind this epidemic compulsion to pick at and groom our men? Are we but primates in skirts and heels? Sure, picking is messy business. Is there blood? Sometimes. Pus? Oh yeah. Those are the best ones. But the common consensus among us pickers is that as nasty and repulsive as these personal excavation missions may seem to some, we aren't afraid to get in there and get our hands dirty. Maybe there's a parallel there about how we approach our relationships?
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