BOSTON — Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg is asking Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and the public to pardon him for starting the 1990s chest-shaving craze that experts say could last for at least another decade.
“In high school, I was jealous of all the guys on the swim team, ” said Wahlberg, a Dorchester native who rose to stardom as Marky Mark with the hit “Good Vibrations” in 1991. “I used to think that if I could just look like a swimmer, then maybe I could get all the girls.”
“I shaved my whole body, and I even started wearing a swimming cap when I was hanging out with my friends in the park or whatever,” he said. “By the time we made the video for ‘Good Vibrations,’ my chest hair was growing back all stubbly, so I had to shave it again, and before I knew it I was doing undewear modeling for Calvin Klein and a generation of kids grew up thinking chest hair was freakish.”
“And ironically, I still haven’t learned how to swim,” he added.
More than two decades later, men all across the world are still shaving their chests, and the practice is so common that the American Aesthetic Society named “showing up at the pool with a full torso of fur” as the top thing men do that makes straight women want to gouge out their eyes.
Wahlberg, who nowadays appears shirtless and with a full chest of hair when he’s on the late-night circuit, admits that it’s unlikely he’ll get a pardon from Governor Patrick, who rumored to be furious at having been pressured by his wife — a huge fan of Marky Mark and his hairless look — to spend nearly $20,000 for waxing sessions during the mid-1990s.