Dateline: Somewhere in North America, late October, autumnal arboreal shedding continues unabated, and I'm blubbery...
Foibles and Shame and Hair
I have said many horrible things in my life, where I was informed in no uncertain terms, I should feel shame for my words and thoughts. It was inevitably followed by a threatening, wagging forefinger (or sometimes a middle finger, usually in traffic or at the dentists office for making improper jokes to the hygienist) and then by the keen, verbal, jagged, moral dagger meant to spotlight and enhance the moral shaming: “How can you live with yourself?”
A valid question, indeed. Could I live with myself? Could I live with the shame, the embarrassment, the gaseous and noxious fumes? Would I be able to live with myself knowing what a monster I am and look myself in the mirror every day without recoiling in disgust?
Well, I think I could live with myself, but there would have to be a few conditions:
- I would have to have at least a queen sized bed, preferably a king sized bed, if I had to live with myself. I snore like a choking, drowning bear, and move around and twitch like a tortured frog having a minor epilepsy attack (or so I am told by my significant other). So if I had to live with myself, there would need to be space between me and myself during sleeping time.
- I would have to be allowed to cheat on myself if I am getting frisky and my other self was busy playing something on the iPad or watching sports, or more likely, something animated with cartoon violence. Which would probably be often as I am in the habit of gravitating toward anything that I can poke and touch, has flashing lights and movement. Kind of like a stripper. But I digress.
- If and when I would get into an argument with myself, let’s say over who left the toilet seat down, or whose filthy, racing-striped underwear was littered on the floor for 3 days running, and I won said argument, I should be allowed to gloat for a full 24 hour period, and write the word loser in toothpaste on the bathroom mirror.
- There would have to be someone to clean the house at least weekly. I shed like a cross between an Akita and an Alaskan Malamute (sadly from the top of my head more so than elsewhere) and I like to cook and eat breads with thick crusts and many seeds. The ensuing mess is normally pretty bad, so imagine if I had to live with myself, it would be not just doubly filthy. Nay, I say triply filthy due to the synergistic effects that occur when hair and food bits mix. (I read that somewhere in the scientific journal known as the Weekly Ass when I was waiting at the proctologists office.)
So where does that leave us? Certainly no better off than 4 paragraphs ago. But it does make me wonder about human foibles, in particular body hair.
Fear & Loathing
Why do we North Americans fear body hair so much? Why is it that as soon as it falls from our bodies after hair brushing, towel drying or oral sex, that these hairs are suddenly like a piece of animal dung covered in plutonium? We are repulsed by body hair as if it had become a slimy, sick crawling creature, ready to pollute our environment. What have these detached, aimless, free-range hairs done that merits such a visceral response that there is a minor upchuck in our throats when we have to fish them out of the sink or shower drain? Or they lay in a quiet, filthy pile of dust in the corner of the bedroom?
(Actually, we are sent into acid reflux convulsions when we see how these hairs have decided to run wild and grow out our noses, shoulders, and if you’re a really unlucky male, above the crack of your butt. But I digress again.)
What did poor Rapunzel, who by the way was named after a type of lettuce, do when she had to sweep up her shedding hairs? How did her prince charming deal with her shedding? She was lionized for her strong, long hair, but in today’s society she would have been a leper if she carried around that lengthy mane. Or at least called a filthy hippie.
Did these natural fibers not once keep us warm, or shimmer in the light after being washed with shampoo and tamed with conditioner, all in an attempt to not look so greasy to our significant others, or more likely, to catch the eye of that office mate you’ve been staring at surreptitiously from behind your cubicle or at office functions meant to force camaraderie and team spirit?
Backward Unto the Fur
Yet even as we are sickened by an excess our body hair, or worse, loose, unattached body hair of indeterminate origin, we still need it. Sometimes.
We have an entire segment of the fashion industry dedicated to the removal and subsequent re-application of animal hair (and skin) to create what are known as fur accoutrements. Hats, coats, vests, mitts, boots, tea cozies, and underwear. Call it fur if you’re like, but it’s hair to me. And we pay big money to have it draped all over us. Or have paint thrown on it by anti-fur activists. Gross. I hate paint.
Think of your pubic hair. Evolutionary scientists and unrepentant perverts alike have long speculated as to the function of pubic hair. The main theory is that it is there to alert its owner and the world around said owner that hormones will soon be raging and the body is evolving into something with sexual needs and wants. It’s beginning to become fertile.
These hairs are beacons for their owner and to others looking to get a “quickie” in after the kids go to bed. They are, in a way, pointers. Why do you think the pubic hair on male and female privates is shaped like an upside down triangle? It’s saying “hey! down here is where the action is!”
Yet, as we age and our bodies change usually for the worse with wrinkles, flab and folds, the pubic hair is still there. But seldom is it viewed or touched anymore in the way it was first meant to. And I mean seldom. Like maybe once every crop rotation kind of seldom. Maybe pubic hair has the same bodily function as the appendix or the spleen, in that it still hangs around but has really become a useless attachment. A relic of a former era, like a signpost on a deserted, barren highway leading to a ghost town that gets the exceptionally rare, wayward visitor in search of once past glories.
More likely, our hair, pubic or otherwise, is there to remind us the human body is not always such a lovely thing to look at once it ripens, especially in daylight, imperfect and faulty.
Carl the Coiffeur