Trust the Daily Mail to helpfully point out Anne Robinson's "unsightly hairy armpits" to the world. The lady in question stepped out at "an exclusive party at London's Hyatt Regency Churchill Hotel" earlier this month. "With her once feathery pout looking more smoothed out than normal, and a stylish purple frock neatly hugging her slender frame, Anne Robinson was a picture of confidence," that paper opined. The aforementioned armpits were described, quite simply, as a "glitch".

It is the stuff of legend that European women the chic, beach-loving French in particular are less likely to remove underarm hair than their British counterparts, who are, also famously, considered not to be as comfortable in their own skin. Given that France is a country where beauticians will wax eyebrows, top lip, chin, nostrils (yes, nostrils) in the blink of an eye, this is not just an oversight. Instead, while hair on legs and, indeed, pretty much anywhere apart from the head might be considered unsightly, armpits are left just as nature intended.

Over here, it's highly unlikely that anyone who spends as much time on their appearance as Ms Robinson forgot to remove the offending strawberry-blond tufts, which do contrast rather nicely with her frock. Maybe the lady just likes them that way.

The Weakest Link dominatrix is, of course, not the only person in the public eye to have been lambasted for failure to remove underarm hair. Who, after all, could forget the furore over Julia Roberts' unshaven armpits at the British premiere of Notting Hill. The fact that she was and still is a raving beauty was forgotten as all attention was directed towards her depilatory habits or lack of them.

Given the amount of column inches this "oversight" generated, one can only imagine the media mayhem if she flashed something more, well, more intimate. Moving swiftly on.

A highly scientific poll conducted with him indoors over dinner (roast baby chicken and salad, if you're interested) revealed that "a little bit of hair under the arms is quite sexy", but that anything "sticking out" of clothing "like a great big bush" is "not to be tolerated". Mori, eat your heart out.

Hirsute underarms definitely work for some, though. Who could forget the iconic and, to most people's minds, erotic photo of Patti Smith, unshaven in vest, on the cover of Easter in 1978.

"Aaah, but that's different," our survey says. "Patti Smith doesn't wash."

That's alright then.

s.frankel@independent.co.uk

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