Monday, November 10, 2014


Maybe we get an extra blind spot as we grow older. Maybe we get a few of them. Maybe men just hate seeing themselves in the mirror.

I don’t know how else to explain the untamed hair sprouting from certain facial appendages on certain men. How can they not see it? Or, if they see it, why do they shrug and leave it the rest of us to just deal with it?

Yes, this is another one of my shallower blog posts, but I need to get this off my (waxed) chest. Put it out there. If just one reader plucks a couple of nose hairs, it will have been worth it.

There’s a fellow on an online dating site who seems to boldly embrace his wayward hair. Love me, love my ear hair. When I stumbled on his profile and looked at the first photo, I honestly thought he was in costume as Mr. Tumnus, the faun from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. An odd main photo, but I figured this guy wanted to show off his quirkiness while also expressing an affinity for classic children’s literature. But then I clicked on the next photo. Ear hair while having a beer at the beach. And the next—ear hair while sitting on a motorcycle. And the final shot—ear hair while feasting on lobster. Never mind the fact that I’m not a fan of beer, motorcycles or lobster. I was completely turned off by furry ears. Cute on a Labrador Retriever; not so much on a man.

This, of course, is an aural extreme.

Recently, I went on a coffee date with a charming, attractive man. The conversation went smoothly and I just might have been smitten. But then he turned his head and I caught a glimpse of his right ear. Nothing wrong with the ear itself—relatively symmetrical with the left, not too small, not too big. But there were about a dozen grey hairs sprouting from the outer rim. Each hair was about two centimeters in length. This guy was otherwise well groomed with a seemingly clean shirt, decent shoes, fashionable hair and sexy/intellectual glasses. So how could he have missed this ear mane? I tried to focus on our conversation and I did a commendable job, but each time he did a head pivot, I peeked. Like a rubbernecker gawking at the scene of an accident. Only this could not have been an accident. While I’m all for letting a lawn go natural, I can’t say the same for ears. Check them and trim them. Please!

I won’t even ramble on about eyebrows. I’ll just say that mine have gotten unruly with age. Some hairs just won’t go with the flow. I check the brows each morning and conduct a couple of precision trims every other day. There’s a hairstylist in West Hollywood that I go to whenever I’m in L.A. specifically because he’s the only one who has ever done a brow trim as part of the cut. And he’s a master. I’m in awe of how swiftly and skillfully he restores order there.

I shouldn’t have to talk about hair extending from the nose. If you’ve got grey hair or black hair, let me just say what you should already know. A rogue nasal hair stands out. A cluster of them draws undue attention to your nose. Don’t kid yourself in thinking no one will notice. Don’t expect your social and work companions to cope. Check yourself in the mirror. The nose is a pesky organ that likes to catch us off guard with sudden extensions. Don’t wait until you get home and have a chance to insert one of those handy electric trimmers. Yank ‘em when you see ‘em.

Maybe ear hair and nasal hair have some worthwhile function. But we’ve evolved into a society where manscaping is expected (even if my Word document continues to put a squiggly red line under manscaping). Sometimes looks are more important than some questionable anti-senility benefit. (Steam some bok choy or do an extra Sudoku for every trim if you must.)

I will admit that there are times when I discover my own temporary blind spot. I’ve spotted more than a few nasal hairs while gazing in the rear-view mirror while idling at a traffic light. No doubt the lady in the car next to me thinks I am fishing for boogers, but I seize the opportunity to try to get a firm hold on the elusive hair. Yank, fail, yank again. Inevitably, I sneeze after achieving success and I have to do another check the next time I hit a red. I recover and feel better—even when I’m in a small town and the lady who was idling beside me probably knows who I am. There are worse things than being misidentified as a nose picker. Like swearing off any form of manscaping.

A belated ear hair discovery addles me even more. Once every six weeks, I’ll run a finger along the ear’s edge and feel a whisker. I dash to the bathroom mirror only to realize it’s far beyond whisker stage. It could warrant its own shampoo and conditioner treatment. Aghast, I nip it with a razor and wonder how many people it distracted. Why did no one say anything? Will someone see me the next day and smugly remark, “Nice haircut”? Oh, the shame! (That’s when I start to look at job ads online.)

Yes, guys, we seem to have less control over the hair that grows—or doesn’t grow—on top of our heads as we get older. But that is no excuse for abandoning all hair matters. Don’t turn a blind eye to unsightly hair any longer. Deal with what is firmly in your grasp. Take your razor for a spin. We won’t notice your efforts—and that’s the whole point.




Rick Modien said...

This is such a pet peeve of mine. I couldn't agree with you more.
Thanks for sharing. I hope, as a result of your words, the world of men will be less hirsute.
(But I'm sure you already know I like hairy chests. I'd much prefer men trim to shave off altogether. Just saying…)

canoetoo said...

It is quite a shock when you reach the age where you discover hair growing in new places. Especially when you've spent decades lamenting the fact that you've never had the desired amount of hair on your chest. (I have never understood this whole chest shaving and waxing (ouch!) business.

I recall a scene from a movie the title of which I've forgotten. Two gay men are preparing to go out and during their preparations one trims the ear hair of the other. I've always thought it was the sweetest moment in the whole movie (whatever its title was).

Rick Modien said...

Canoetoo, thank you, THANK YOU, for validating that I'm not the only man who's wished his entire life he'd had more hair on his chest. To many men, such a silly thing, I realize. But, to me, and apparently to you too, an important one.

I really appreciate your honesty. Like I keep saying, in my next life, I'm coming back as Tom Selleck, in the '80s, with that incredible hairy chest of his. If only…

Rural Gay said...

Okay, you guys. Chest hair is the subject of my next post. And, yes, Rick, I mention Tom Selleck. Maybe I'll even add a pic of him in all his hairy glory just for you.

Rick Modien said...

I'm looking forward to it, RG.