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Ever have that 'not-so-fresh' feeling?

Here in Istanbul, women routinely remove every last bit of hair not growing out of their heads, saying it's much 'cleaner' this way. Just the other day, the waxer at the posh Ritz Carlton was trying to convince my gal pals and I to please clean ourselves up in a similar fashion.

Having decided to remain just slightly more au naturel for the time being, I was fascinated to read about a new novel "Wetlands" by German author Charlotte Roche. It's causing a whole big mess of controversy, partly because of its intentional gross-ness, but I was especially delighted by this description in the NY Times:

Ms. Roche, 30, has long identified herself as a feminist and...describes the book as a cri de coeur against the oppression of a waxed, shaved, douched and otherwise sanitized women’s world.

Newspapers here have contrasted her unhygienic, free-spirited fictional heroine to an American-import model of womanhood: the stable of plucked, pencil-thin contestants on “Germany’s Next Top Model,” a popular reality show hosted by the German supermodel Heidi Klum.

But Ms. Roche told the audience here that her inspiration for the book came not from those women, but from the feminine-product aisle of her local store...Ms. Roche explained, to howls of laughter, how the lemon-scented products called out to her in uncensored terms that she was, as the commercials put it, not so fresh, or at least not fresh enough.