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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Facial hair. Or did I say fatal?

Eyebrows? I didn't realise I had any until I was in my sixties. By then they'd started to curl down at the outer ends, irritating my eyelids. "Do you want them trimmed?" asked
my hairdresser. I nodded but he never cut them short enough. I had a go myself but couldn't help feeling antsy  having the scissors near my eyeballs and the back-to-front effect in the mirror.

When hair started growing out of my nostrils I realised that this signalled the end of any claims - vestigial enough in all conscience - about sex appeal. I trimmed away these strands and was left with a hairy stump, resembling a miniature shaving brush. Hard to say which option was the more repellent.

Ear hair. What I managed to extract looked more like a thin twig. Strange.

Which left beards. I suppose most men have wondered what it would be like to retreat behind a beard. Certainly many have tried. I did but couldn't get beyond the itchy-scratchy phase that sets in after a week. Lying in bed this morning I suddenly thought - Photoshop!

So here I am. Adding a beard causes the bottom end of the face to lose definition. If there's any latent stupidity in the face, a beard emphasises it. Here I don’t look capable of finding my way to the toilet. Worse: I’ve just discovered that the toilet is several floors down.

I look less bad tempered. A crook waiting to practice ATM fraud would be encouraged if this enfeebled oldster turned up and started fumbling for his debit card.

I see a faintly marine look. But nothing more adventurous than a rowing boat on Lister Park lake. Thank God I wasn't tempted to go all the way.

16 comments:

Tom said...

Robbie: I am surprised that a man of such world experience as your good self, has failed to understand something so fundamental about what it means to be a man. Stand by for enlightenment!

You refer to sex appeal and its vestigial nature in your case. The fact is that we are irresistible!! As we travel through life this feature becomes ever more obvious. The purpose of facial hair is simply to tone things down a little, so that we can come safely down from Olympus.

As life proceeds, we men pass from the Gaud-blime' to the sublime! (At least I think it's that way round.).......(I think I need some coffee.)

Roderick Robinson said...

Tom: 'Twas a stratagem. Created in the hope that someone whose gender was other than yours would decide that a little comfort was in order: "No, no, dear RR, you under-rate your sex appeal. It's nowhere near as low as you imagine. Some days it's as high as Mediocre."

I find it better not to evoke Olympus on these occasions. Too much man-on-man action to confuse the issues.

The Crow said...

What you both seem to miss is that what appeals to 99% of women over the age of 25 is that part of you men that isn't readily seen - your intellect, your charm, your character, courage and honesty.

Give me that in a man who can see beyond the outside of a woman and I will have found paradise.

(Funny coincidence here - the first word in the anti-robot box is husband...the second is an anagram of sword.)

Tom said...

Martha: 'Twas a strategem. Created in the hope that someone whose gender was yours would rise to the bait.....My thanks to you, and to Robbie for supplying the line.

Roderick Robinson said...

The Crow: I refuse to believe that however intellectually sharp, charming, quirky, brave and honest a guy turns out to be, any sighted woman would be able to overlook hairs sticking out of his nose like a cluster of bullrushes.

Tom: So you'd like to play my straight man? It's a unrewarding role.

The Crow said...

Robbie:

That's what these are for: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Elegant-Touch-Nose-Hair-Scissors/dp/B000RW82VK

Besides, let them grow long enough to fill in a moustache. I like moustaches, as long as they are kept clean. I have a spot along my neck, on one side only, that, when tickled by a moustache, makes me weak - makes me lose the ability to stand.

Both of you: Sex appeal is not always or only one's appearance, but those things I mentioned and something unknowable, unpredictable. The heart wants what the heart wants, and the brain sets about obtaining it.

I find you both visually appealing, so there. Even, Robbie, when you strike poses meant to be unattractive.

Tom said...

Aw shucks, Martha.

Lucy said...

Can I just put in a word for eyebrows? I don't like scrubby little trimmed eyebrows on a man, shaggy ones are much more distinguished. Come to that I don't like plucked ones on a woman. And the groomer tends to leave Molly a few characterful grey eyebrow hairs too.

Roderick Robinson said...

The Crow: Quite quickly we started talking about completely different things. And our differences had to do with timing.

For me sex appeal is what works (or fails to work) across a crowded room on the first encounter. It is a quality that generates initial interest and therefore, by definition, is likely to be entirely visual. It might just be aural, in that it is possible to be attracted by a congenial voice. Even charm, which you include in your initial list, requires some time before it becomes apparent. As to the other qualities (intellect, character, courage, honesty) they require lots of time.

Thus if an imaginary being, the result of fusing Cary Grant with Albert Einstein, were present at a party wearing fancy dress as a wart hog, he might get overlooked.

Admittedly, time can be distorted in the blogosphere. The only thing seen across a crowded screen are words. Once again it is just possible that a devastatingly well-written post might have the power to charm but the process is much more intellectual than the sight of a pretty/rugged face. Such a piece is likely to be read and re-read; its meaning and - more important - its impact are likely to change. Experience (a function of age and, therefore, time) must be factored in. Words, after all, represent one of the ways by which we lie. The reader is aware of this and is likely to be on guard.

Going back to that first visual momennt, a positive reaction need not depend on prettiness, etc. The viewer may well respond to a face that is interesting or even one that lacks vacancy. These are personal criteria for what constitutes sex appeal and, alas, they do depend on what is seen. Never mind what happens in the back of a car on the way home.

Lucy: Hmmm. It's a question of priorities: should comfort (ie, untickled eyelids) take precedence over the sexual benefits of appearing shaggy? Me, I'd recommend you pursue this a stage further. Men who take no heed of their eyebrows may also have a cavalier attitude towards the vital subject of underwear laundry. Or do eyebrows have the ability to overwhelm all other civilised considerations?

Does Mol take advantage of this subtle service provided by her groomer. I must confess I never imagined my hairdresser thought he was benefiting me. Laziness seems to fit the Occam's Razor proposition more neatly.

The Crow said...

There's just no pleasing you, is there, Robbie?

(Insert smiley face here.)

Joe Hyam said...

A white-fringed red hood would have improved the limited amiablity of the image.

Tom said...

And there was I thinking it was shaving soap!

Rouchswalwe said...

It wasn't a beer beard?

Roderick Robinson said...

The Crow: I'm easily pleased. A well-turned phrase, a well-turned ankle. My needs are modest.

Tom: Learn Photoshop, and change the world. A furtively altered photo is worth a million words.

RW (zS): Look, I'll say this just once. When it comes to beer drinking (forget beer making) I'm just as professional as you. And far more experienced. The day you see my face covered in beer foam you have my permission to guide me to a Residential Care Home For Incorrigibles.

Ellena said...

If this beard were real I would find you irresistable. Really. But, you'd spoil it all if you talked too much.

Roderick Robinson said...

Ellena: I am truly sorry that the beard is unreal and that there is no chance of sweeping you off your feet. Alas, there is, in any case, a good chance I would talk too much and thus undermine the feet-sweeping process. One of my major interests is conversation (see Profile) and some acquaintances cruelly say I am misusing the word and should replace it with "monologuing". Perhaps if you insisted that our communications be limited to Serbo-Croat. My Serbo-Croat is quite dodgy.