Ball-shaving. Whoever would have thought it would emerge as one of the most polarising issues for us dude-loving dudes of Sydney?

But it has, clearly. Broach the topic of ball-shaving among any random collection of gay men and it will quickly become apparent that some of us are doing it, and some of us ain’t. Some of us are opting for scrotal smoothness, and others obviously prefer their lollybags with fur on them.

And it goes deeper than just a my body, my choice issue -“ for some gay men, the hairiness of a partner’s ball-bag can be a sexual deal-breaker. (Don’t you just love the way we as gay men endlessly compartmentalise the male body, only to find ourselves getting completely fucked-up about things that are pretty irrelevant in the larger scheme of the world, in the meantime ruling potential shags out of contention because, for example, they’ve got a sheepskin sack, or their calf muscles are puny, or their nipples are not quite the right shade of chocolate brown?)

But for every fastidious shaver, there’s a guy who goes the other way, and is just as fanatical about the natural look. One of my mates even contends that every hair is sacred -“ which is taking things a bit too bloody far, if you ask me.

Talking the whole testy matter through with another friend (forgive the gonadal pun; I’m nuts about them), we ‘fessed up that neither of us had ever encountered a scrotum with really out-of-control hair. We’d seen all kinds of yucky things on men’s bodies, like warts and moles and really lame-arse tattoos, but we’d never seen horribly hairy ball-bags before.

But obviously, for some gay men in Sydney, a little down on the privates is too gross a thought to even contemplate.

Increasingly perplexed by this hairy issue, I turned to someone who’s always a good source of advice on such troubling facets of contemporary gay life -“ my hairdresser. Once I’d finally gotten around to explaining what I was writing about, he turned out to be a virtual walking encyclopedia on the ins, outs, cuts and thrusts of ball-shaving.

He did it all the time, he explained, for both its aesthetic and sensual benefits -“ and because the regrowth really sucks. And it’s not just a gay thing either, he assured me: straight men in Sydney are also getting into the act -“ largely because some straight women are apparently disinclined to lick hairy balls.

My hairdresser gave me the following advice for a really good, close ball-shave:

– in a hot shower, wash your balls with a good anti-bacterial face wash;
– step out of the shower, dry off, sit down and stretch your scrotum;
– shave with the grain first, and then against the grain; and finally
– finish off by applying some soothing after-shave gel.

There was one other piece of advice he gave me, which was not to get aroused during the operation, because apparently if you do this you only miss bits and end up looking a bit mangey. And nobody -“ fastidious shaver or fanatical naturalist -“ likes that look.

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