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November 2010 Volume 12 , Issue 11 submit to us!
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The+Hairy+Culprit
by Yula Economopoulos -- Contributing Author [Email This Story]

Have you ever wondered when the hair removal phenomenon began? Have you ever wondered who the culprit was that started this wretched ritual? I have. A lot.

As a Greek woman, I know what it means to have hair growing in the most undesirable places of my body. I also know what it means to spend countless hours removing it. Because of this magnificent, hereditary fuzz, I have become obsessed with the entire hair removal process. I have never understood why we have all this body hair, just so we can take it off. It's not that I like being hairy, believe me, but attempting to get rid of the hair is like being in purgatory. You slice it off, it grows back. You sizzle it, it grows back. You rip it off, it grows back! It's like a life sentence: "I condemn you to eternal hair removal by way of shaving . . . or waxing, tweezing, electrolysis -- your preference -- take your pick."

Just think about this for a minute. We have body hair for a reason. It keeps us warm, protects us from the harsh elements. So why would anyone want to take it off and create a vicious cycle of hair removal for all eternity? And no matter what you do, it keeps coming back, like a boomerang.

To make sense of it all, I decided to investigate and go back in time to find the hairy offender who made the first move to pick up a razor.

Believe it or not, and according to information I found on the Internet, the history of shaving, and evidently vanity, dates as far back as the Stone Age, around 100,000 B.C. The Neanderthal man was the first to start pulling hair from his body. He also enjoyed filing down his teeth, but that's a whole other story. Now, what could possibly have possessed a cave dweller to shave? He lived in a cave, a home made of clay, not a penthouse suite on Park Avenue. No luxuries, no amenities, and most importantly, no mirrors. He hunted dinosaurs, and I'm sure on more than one occasion, he ran for dear life from these man-eating beasts. What would make him want to have smooth, hairless skin? Perplexing? To say the least.

The earliest shaving razors discovered were flint blades made possibly as far back as 30,000 B.C. We all know that companies that manufacture razor blades have reaped the rewards from this discovery, and let me tell you, I deserve a piece of that pie. Do you know how long I spend removing hair from my body? Per year, I spend approximately 120 hours (that's five days) shaving, plucking, waxing, having electrolysis done and using my lovely epilator. By the time I'm 80, if I'm lucky to make it that far, I'll have spent 8,040 hours or 335 days of my life "de-hairing" myself. That's almost an entire year gone. Poof! Vanished! Unlike the hair on my legs, of course.

In any event, ancient cave paintings indicate that early man discovered other ways to remove hair from his face. I suppose shaving with a flint blade just wasn't "cutting" it? I don't know what's worse -- the fact they spent so much time on finding ways to remove hair, or they actually illustrated the act of shaving on cave walls, which wasn't a smart move because all they did was incriminate themselves.

Another method of hair removal used by our prehistoric friends was simply, and I use this term lightly, plucking out the hair using two seashells as tweezers. Seashells. I can barely pluck the hair on my eyebrows with the fine engineered tweezers of today, let alone using a clam. Can you imagine a fabulously furry fellow, plucking away one hair at a time with seashells?

And it doesn't stop there. The trend continued with the men and women of early Egypt. You'd think they'd be too busy building the pyramids. Then the Greeks, perhaps one of my ancestors, hopped on the band wagon. Greek women removed hair from their legs by singeing it with a lamp, and no doubt suffered third-degree burns in the process. Let me just say that I`m very thankful to be a modern-day Greek.

Not wanting to feel left out of the hair-removal phenomenon, the Romans also came on board. Men in Rome used some funky creams made with some pretty wild ingredients: asses' fat (like in the donkey), goat's gall, bat's blood and powdered viper. Whatever happened to using good old-fashion seashells?

And today, we have every kind of procedure for removing hair that you can imagine, from waxing and threading, to electrolysis and laser treatments. These latter techniques are quite similar to shock therapy. Speaking from personal experience, you truly feel like you're being electrocuted. The sad part? You voluntarily subject yourself to this torture, and pay a pretty penny for it, too.

Despite all the technology in the world, however, the hair keeps growing back like deep-rooted weeds. Until I researched the history of hair removal, hair had always been my arch enemy. The truth is hair was meant to stay, as was intended. So, hair is not to blame, our little cave dweller is. The moral of the story? "Don't trust caveman. Caveman made razor." If I could travel back in time, I'd find that culprit and destroy every piece of flint before he had a chance to discover that stone can turn into razor, and razor can cut hair.

 
 
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Features -- November 2010 -- Mid Month Issue
 








Yula Economopoulos
-- Additional Work --