Waxing as far as I know is something that women usually just do before a holiday.

Till this week, i.e., when I had my decidedly hairy torso stripped of every last hair, returning me to the smooth, pinkish and, in reality, rather blubbery form that I recall from about 40 years ago.

That was prior to I hitting puberty with a reverberating clang and my body began to sprout like Dr Jekyll transforming into Mr Hyde.

In the 22 years since my woman Jane promised to take me for richer for poorer, regardless of a back woollier than most men’s fronts, she’s never seen me sans abundant body hair.

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This week, I had my decidedly hairy torso stripped of every last hair, returning me to the smooth, pinkish and, in reality, rather blubbery form that I recall from about 40 years ago.

I had the information that she didn’t much like it since she said so, however, it didn’t strike me to do anything about it and, moreover, my back caused me no offense for the simple reason I rarely caught sight of it.

There were almost zero awkward moments down the years. Shortly before we left for holiday to Spain with our buddies Cathy and Pete one year, Cathy casually mentioned the recent horrifying spectacle of a male colleague’s hairy back.
‘It was disgusting,’ she said, practically spitting out the words. ‘Honestly, from behind he looked like an orangutan.’

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I’d resolved that if I was gonna get my back done, I may as well go the whole hog (a cruel metaphor, but perhaps not undeserved) and offer them my front

Jane then broke the brief pause that followed. ‘Erm, Brian has a hairy back,’ she said, sweetly. ‘You’ll be seeing quite a lot of it next week.’
Whether or not I made Cathy think of an orangutan as I cavorted in the Mediterranean shallows with my young children, she was too polite to say.
Anyhow it was too late. I knew that part of me disgusted her.

But if anything, episodes like that — and another, years later, at Center Parcs, when I noticed the horrifying gaze of some other friends as I got up on the ladder to the water slide — made me rather defiantly proud of my hirsuteness.

I’ve never been a narcissistic man. Jane on numerous occasions tells me I’m the least vain person she knows, which is not quite the compliment it seems.
Anyways, since my 20s, in spite of playing plenty of sport, I’ve been fighting upper-body flab with only sporadic success.

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If you’re saddled with man boobs, it’s certainly best they remain as unfeminine as possible. Moreover, when I deliberated on waxing at all, it was as something only women and some gay men did

So a layer of hair appeared to add at least one dimension of alpha maleness to a torso that was more It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’s Don Estelle than Mad Men’s Don Draper.

After all, if you’re saddled with man boobs, it’s certainly best they remain as unfeminine as possible. Moreover, when I deliberated on waxing at all, it was as something only women and some gay men did.

So why did I decide to weed it out entirely? The moment came at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which I attended as the Mail’s film critic.

However, the urge didn’t strike when I was standing by a pool or marvelling at the parade of beautiful people on the beach. Rather, it was while I was watching a movie, when a character took his shirt off and I thought: ‘Ugh!’

It was maybe the most pain I’ve ever felt, although I once dislocated a kneecap playing rugby. Nonetheless, I lay there as stoically as I could, trying to recall with each painful rip that my loving wife has endured childbirth three times.

In this movie, a hairy back was the least of this guy’s problems — he was a prisoner of the Nazis — but still I couldn’t refrain my eyes from wandering to the forest growing from the small of his back to his shoulder blades.

‘That’s what Jane sees every night,’ I thought. ‘It’s not nice.’

Back at home, I kept the decision to strip away my pelt a secret, not even telling my nearest and dearest. I’m native of rural Herefordshire, where he-men have their sheep sheared, not themselves. Therefore, I decided to have it done in London, just in case word got out.

The Station Spa in Covent Garden, Central London, specializes in treating men only. Around 30 percent of men they wax are heterosexual – a number growing all the time thanks, they say, to the super-smooth example of David Beckham.
There are two areas men have waxed: above the waist and below. At the spa, they use the euphemisms ‘overground’ and ‘underground’.

The folks here have given names to each treatment – like the latter treatments are given names relating to the London Underground.

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A scene from movie The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, in which Steve Carell’s character gets a chest wax

Waxing of the inner thigh is a Forest Hill; of the buttocks, a Circle Line; and of the pubic area, a Hampstead Heath. Cockfosters, Arsenal, Hanger Lane and Kew Gardens are better left, in a family newspaper, to the imagination.

I went for the overground treatment. I’d resolved that if I was gonna get my back done, I may as well go the whole hog (a cruel metaphor, but perhaps not undeserved) and offer them my front.

The treatment started off with my therapist Luca painting copious amounts of unpleasantly hot blue wax on to my back, then applying strips of cloth and ripping them off. And I literally whined in pain.

It was maybe the most pain I’ve ever felt, although I once dislocated a kneecap playing rugby. Nonetheless, I lay there as stoically as I could, trying to recall with each painful rip that my loving wife has endured childbirth three times.

Luca then went on to give me a nice post-waxing pep talk (no hot showers or exercise for 48 hours while the skin is fragile, to avoid irritation). Then finally he broke it to me that to keep smooth I would need it done again as soon as the re-growth is more than 1cm long, so the wax has something to cling to.

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Finally, I stepped out onto the streets of Covent Garden feeling not so much like a new man, but rather the prepubescent boy I was circa 1975.

Wanna know how my wife reacted when she saw me all naked? She started laughing. When she had recovered her composure and I had explained what I had secretly done, she said: ‘You look like a really massive baby.’

It wasn’t the response I’d hoped for, but I knew it was born of approval.

After a few days however the hair started growing back and now it itches like fury. This morning I found myself unthinkingly rubbing my back against a door frame.

‘You look like a horse scratching itself on a post,’ said Jane. So that’s now a horse and a massive baby I’ve been compared to.

But I have been rewarded for my efforts. I no longer get looks of horror on the beach.