Wednesday, 19 October 2011

On hair

As every male stand-up comedian will no doubt have informed you, men get hairier as they get older. It's unrelenting, unavoidable and completely without evolutionary justification. Unless one day in the future there comes a time when that one gossamer-thin hair which grows out from the middle of your earlobe's natural use becomes apparent.

It is starting to happen to me and it is a fascinating process. Some hairs I can cope with. I have one or two grey hairs around my temples and another couple on my chin. I don't anticipate that I'll necessarily go grey very quickly, for one thing neither of my parents have and for another I am quite fair-haired. So I approach greying with a serene equanimity.

I wish I could retain such calm for all of my hair woes. However, for as many places as there are on the body where a man can grow a rogue hair (I now believe this to be literally anywhere), there are an equal number of potential psychological reactions.

Allow me to offer an example. I have rather fair haired and thin eyebrows. But old lefty has, for about a decade now, been home to a pair of mad old man epic eyebrow hairs. They grow merrily to twice the length of their fellows and during windy weather poke me in the eye. But they are platinum blond in colour and consequently fairly invisible.

HOWEVER. Yesterday, in the same eyebrow, I noticed a similarly eccentric rogue hair but this one was dark brown. Dark brown! I immediately rended garments and howled at the moon. WHY ME, OH LORD?

I am not the hairiest man. It's something of a tradition in my family, we're not particularly hairy men. I'm probably a little bit hairier than my dad. My younger brother has much less facial hair than me but far better leg hair. He has proper man's leg hair. Fortunately, I do not have any strong desire to see either of these two immediate male relatives in the nip, so I can't speak for their other areas. And everybody carries their own burdens. But I mean honestly, do I really have to have such a hairy back of the neck? It defies belief so it does so it does.

Obviously, many people's curse is another person's dream and I am well aware that lots of people would clamber over hot coals to have as much hair as I do. I mean, I'm not having to shave my eyelids or fend off the amorous advances of Irish Wolf Hounds, I'm just a fairly standard man in their early 30s. With a man's courage.

And increasingly hairy nostrils.

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