So, this column did NOT win the 2016 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Stop reading here if you anticipate disappointment. It’s just silly fun. We seem to be a society obsessed with hair: how to grow it, how to remove it, how to preen it on-trend. It’s just a follicle.
I read an article this week which showcased an old study claiming that hairy people are more intelligent. As a reasonably hairy and intelligent person, I can’t find fault. Suspicions of hair’s kinship with smarts would be confirmed if one were to point to the not-so-scientific evidence of recent “reality” TV plots featuring lifelike ladies fighting over a waxed and chiseled mannequin-man. Does one’s intelligence become reduced, if one chooses to endure the grooming and endless preening required of HD television? I’m pretty sure my legs get 5 o’clock shadow by noon, and I could add some rasta beads to the mix by the end of a week and become the unwilling hostess of a Jamaican extravaganza if I didn’t keep up with it.
Will Forte was a guest on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon in December. Based on another trending topic in social media, they decided to have a lab look for evidence of “fecal matter” in his beard. Although the analysis revealed many common bacteria, he was relieved to discover he did not in fact have a “shit beard”. All of this – studies about hairy people, beards and their potential inhabitants, and the moustache trend – could it be backlash from the part of our society that says “hey, celebrate the follicle!” We’ve endured many ads for products over the years to help us become better, balder versions of ourselves. Maybe it’s time to keep our shower drains clear.
The hipster phenomenon reigns. He’s a sleeker, stylish, self-aware creature that can pull off just about any fashion. His beard is not, in fact, ironic, but a tip o’ the all-season wool hat to keeping it real. It could be the year of hair. Will the “age of Aquarius” be back? What about the long chagrined armpit? We remember the original commercials for Epilady, a torture device found under many 1990s Christmas trees, and now we have its modern infomercial equivalents. Maybe the refreshing acceptance of hair will put an end to hearing strangers discuss their Brazilians, and I don’t mean their Portuguese cousins. As a hairy kid who’d have done anything to get out of gym class and avoid the humiliation of exposed legs every season, I’m not sure it’s a trend I’m willing to embrace. Embrace is, however, the name of one of my razors. Hmmmm.