I admit I’m a candidate for the missing link.
I have no problem growing hair.
Unfortunately, it is in places where I wish it wouldn’t grow.
I realized this long before the first Christmas package my mother-in-law gave me included a battery-operated nose hair clipper. (They don’t work, by the way.)
I can shave at 7 a.m. and by noon I’ve put Fred Flintstone and Richard Nixon both to shame.
A study by Gillette claims an average guy uses 180 and 200 strokes a day with a Trac-II style razor to shave.
That’s not even a warm up for me.
It doesn’t help that I have to shave my neck every third day or my legs every other day.
No, I don’t shave my legs out of vanity. I shave my upper arms out of vanity. More about that in a second.
I’ve been shaving my legs since I discovered the most painful thing in the world short of a hernia that is about to burst is crashing while bicycling. The first time it happened was at the mid-point of a 90-mile bicycle ride. By the time I got home, my thigh was a painful mess of dried blood with hair scabbed over. It would be less torture being forced to listen to my high school math teacher drone on non-stop about trigonometry equations for 72 hours than cleaning up such a mess and dealing with the infection.
So I started shaving my legs. Every time I stopped, I managed to crash. As a result I haven’t stopped shaving my legs now for a good 20 years.
And just like my face, my leg hair grows faster than the national debt. That means I have to shave them every two days.
If I don’t, the itching drives me nuts.
There is the added bonus, though, of being a bit cooler in the summer. Before shaving, my legs had the same impact on my body temperature as wearing fur-lined snow pants on the Fourth of July.
I admit at first — as in the first 10 years — I felt strange being a guy that shaved my legs even though I did it to avoid pain and admittedly stay a bit cooler.
I’ve become so comfortable with it that I found myself the other day talking with a 20-something lady cutting my hair at Scores.
I honestly don’t remember how we got on the subject.
There I was, a 57-year-old man talking with a virtual stranger young enough to be my granddaughter about the trials and tribulations of shaving one’s legs.
Now that’s a picture that would have raised more than a few eyebrows 20 years ago.
Speaking of eyebrows, what happens after age 50? It’s like a bad reality show called “Eyebrows Gone Wild.”
My eyebrows were relatively straight until I hit the Big 5-0. I now find myself taking toenail scissors (OK, so I really am old school since I don’t use toenail clippers) and cutting off wild strands of hair from my eyebrows at least three times a week.
I also shave my ears as much as possible and pluck hairs from where I can’t get to it with a razor. That is on top of shaving the outside of my nose and clipping hairs from the inside of my nose.
That’s perhaps more than you’d like to know.
At any rate, the lady at Scores — do you call them a barber, stylist or haircutting person? — trimmed my eyebrows and shaved the hair on the outside edge of my ear without being asked to do so. Believe me, she earned her $4 tip.
Even though it may sound like it, none of the aforementioned shaving or wild hair clipping is done out of vanity.
That brings me back to my upper arms.
I had been wearing sleeveless exercise shirts to the gym for a few years before someone pointed out the odd hair growth pattern on my upper arms. When I got home, I looked in the mirror and was a bit embarrassed by what I saw.
There was a pattern of swirling hair and then parts of the arm that had no hair. I had never noticed it before. And knowing that someone had brought it to my attention, I became more than a bit self-conscious.
So every three or four days, I shave my upper arms.
Taking all of that into account, I easily exceed the average strokes Gillette says a typical guy uses when shaving each day.
I’m also one of the reasons why Gillette’s stock keeps going up.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 249-3519.