LAS VEGAS — Yesterday, I spent several hours dejectedly browsing the merchandise on display at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas: rigor mortis sex dolls, newfangled penis pumps, vibrator designs stalled in the turn of the millennium, and a distressing number of pills promising to make men better in bed. But then, amid all this novelty crap, I came upon some other novelty crap that, rather than forcing my soul into deeper despair, made me go: OK, sir, what is your freaking deal?
It was an entire merchandising line built around the masculine brag of having a beard and liking to eat pussy. Above this booth was a sign emblazoned with the all-too-evocative word “Thighbrush” alongside a logo of a bearded man with his tongue hanging out like he’s about to enthusiastically lick an ice cream cone. For sale: a wall of t-shirts stamped with the logo and slogans such as, “Because I’m a Giver,” “If You Grow It, They Will Cum,” “Follicle Fantasy,” and “Tickled Pink.” There was even a display of beard oils—or rather, “Labia Libations”— in flavors such as “Jack & Coke.”
Now, did I think this booth represented a meaningful step toward an equitable sexual culture? A healthier vision of masculinity? Certainly not. Often, this kind of pussy-eating boasting all-too-predictably turns a woman’s pleasure into a man’s ego stroke. It’s also notable that this potentially emasculating act has to be counteracted by the manly man-ness of beards. But it was at least something different from the gathered sex doll manufacturers, one of whom, while urging me to jiggle the breast of a fuckable torso, said brightly, “She never says no to anal!” Plus, it seemed like a cool excuse to speak with a large bearded man about eating pussy.
The large bearded man, Ben Scheier—Chief Oral Office of Thighbrush LLC, as his name tag insisted—explained, “Obviously, the joke is the thighbrush... brushes the thighs as it’s... on its way to—,” he trailed off. Scheier first made a couple thighbrush t-shirts for himself, but then came the compliments from amused bearded dudes. “Next thing I know, I’m just coming up with every sophomoric joke I could and applying it to beards,” he said.
This is no exaggeration. Scheier created a vast catalogue of puns uniting beards and cunnilingus across multiple traditionally masculine pursuits. There’s Thighbrush Tactical for men who shoot guns: “Aim High, Lick Low,” “An Army of Tongue,” “Fire in the Hole,” “Squeal Team Six,” and “Finally, A Cause Worth Kneeling For.” There’s also Thighbrush Athletics (“Never Skip (Between the) Leg Day”), Thighbrush Tattoo (“NO INK??? NO PINK!”), and Thighbrush Biker (“Grown to be Ridden”). Most of his customers are beard-having cunnilingus enthusiasts, he said.
But, so, what do beards have to do with cunnilingus? “It doesn’t matter if you’re two minutes or twenty minutes as long as you get her get off,” he said. “So I’ve always thought that going down is the equalizer for a guy.” Similarly, he said, “You can take a guy that’s not that attractive, stick a beard on him and he’s like freakin’ Zeus.” One might read between those lines and conclude that bearded men who like performing cunnilingus are unattractive and don’t last long in bed, although that was not Scheier’s intended message. I pressed further on the beard-pussy link, which led to the following exchange:
Scheier: Most women these days shave down there, so there really is no hair there.
Me: So they need…
Scheier: A little tickle!
What I think we’ve learned here is that cunnilingus performed by a bearded man doubles as a temporary merkin.