Back Hair: The Pioneers of The Body

Before I stepped into the shower the other day, I took a look in the mirror above the bathroom sink. I am not sure what I was looking for exactly, but probably just giving a little “hello” to myself. I noticed an errant hair, about an inch long, rooted comfortably on my right shoulder. This fella was a long way from his home to the south on my chest, yet although he was young and thin, he seemed quite comfortable in the barren surroundings of the northernmost peak of my shoulder. I relieved this hair of its post guarding the summit of my right arm and felt a strange sense of sadness as I left him in the basin of the sink. I identified with this hair. Feeling too anonymous, too constrained, too strangled in the hairy metropolis of my chest, he sought the hard, lonely journey to greater, uncharted pastures. I recognized this desire. I even empathized, as much as that is possible.

In a slightly more somber mood, I began to step into the shower when it occurred to me that my shoulder may not have been this hair’s ultimate destination. Perhaps he was still on his travels across the landscape of my body? Perhaps he was going to meet others who were already waiting for him? Removing my foot from the bathtub, I turned again to face the mirror. Slowly twisting my torso to the left while turning my head to the right, I examined my shoulder blades to find a very small, wispy, young colony of thin auburn hairs residing in relative seclusion. Pioneers. Settlers.

It is widely recognized that back hair carries a heavy stigma of revulsion from the opposite sex, and even the same sex (excluding “bears”). I have never quite understood this hatred as such things are only natural and people should not be ostracized for physical attributes that are genetic. I will admit to being relatively vain and enjoying being naked or shirtless as often as I can and it would be a sad blow to the confidence to discover that me in my natural state could somehow offend.  For many years now my shoulders have been sheltered beneath a curtain of hair from head, leaving the tenants of my blades to slowly grow their community away from the eyes of the landowner, me. But how long have they been there? Do they have squatter’s rights? How many hours had a lover of mine tried to count them as I slept, oblivious, because of my propensity to face away when I sleep? These hairs are, if not yet aesthetically, bold. I have to admire their pluck as much as I have planned for their eradication.

Hank suggests that I tell women that my back hairs are the beginnings of angel wings. Through Hank’s reasoning, only under very special circumstances does one become an angel at a young, relatively hairless age – martyrdom, the accidental death of the innocent child, death through saving a life, etc. In these rare cases, wings are immediately provided to the deserving recipient. In most traditional angel cases, it takes a lifetime of good deeds to earn and therefore grow one’s own set of wings. The few, soft strands pushing their way through the skin protecting my scapula, like tender, young blades of grass in spring, are really the beginning stages of angel wings, growing with the years and good that I bring unto others. This could charm the ladies, especially if I tell them about all the good I will be doing unto them, although they will soon figure out that this scenario means I will be “earning” more hairs back there. If nothing else, maybe I can hope for a laugh.

But what I truly feel is that these back hairs are the pioneers of the land that is my body. The body is Earth and the hair represents its population. In the beginning, the Earth and my body started out completely bare, except for a few primitive life forms – trilobites and baby hairs. Throughout our life span, these life forms have changed, grown and strengthened in body and in population. The need eventually arises to seek new, less crowded areas, and as the pioneers of the colonies headed west, the pioneers of the thickly settled chest and stomach have ventured to seek wider plains and open postures on my back. The cramped city living on the sternum makes it hard to stand out and be noticed and dominates one’s gaze with an endless forest of more hair. These follicle settlers, with a handful of their family and friends, have traveled to uncharted territories to enjoy more freedom while cultivating and populating the back.

Back hairs are rebels. They are hard to see and keep in check in their unorthodox surroundings, yet hold a strong power of influence over how people view you. As the pioneers of the west before them, hundreds will die along the way and never see the new land that they have fought for – the difference being that their fate lies in between my index finger and thumb. They are risk takers who just want a better life for themselves and their offspring and for that they should be more respected than chest hair.

If the Earth is my body, then shaving, waxing, and tweezing are the equivalent of natural disasters to hair – floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, etc. These catastrophes (deemed only such by the recipients) are an excellent means of keeping the population in check, for just as a nation rebuilds and repopulates after a disaster, so does the hair eventually return and usually in greater numbers. The hairs thicken and toughen with every razing as we humans toughen and adapt with each disaster that befalls us. Some areas, i.e. the face and nethers, are often kept in a constant state of regulation or the population would explode and begin to take over other regions. The pubic region in particular may be most akin to living in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico. In addition to the climate being warmer and more humid, this is an area where frequent hurricanes are a regular part of life and constant grooming is a regular part of life, if you follow my logic.

Some populations die out naturally, and for the world of the hair, it is most frequently those that reside on the scalp. Some of these populations try all within their power, through rituals, religion, medicines and incantations, to prolong the vitality of their dying people, in the same way that people today may look to Rogaine or Propecia. Most would argue that baldness and extinction have a Darwinist bent and such populations should die out naturally, where the counter argument is that the world would not look, be perceived and therefore act the same without this group, and it is in the best interest to all to keep this group alive, and with luck, repopulating.

In the same way that the hairs of the chest have begun to seek new lands, as the population of the world continues to grow, people are forced to find new lands. As the numbers ever increase, and it will throughout the life of the body and the world, hair and human are forced to find uninhabited spots. Lands once deemed uninhabitable now become desirable for their complete vacancy. By the time I have reached the final years of my life, I undoubtedly will have a healthy clan of hairs growing from my ears, just as in the final years of our planet there will be groups of people living on the northern and southern ice caps. Over-population will drive them to such extremes and they will survive for they are the distant heirs of rebel hairs.

So I suggest that we celebrate the spirit of the back hair. If society deems these hairs abhorrent, unattractive afflictions, they must turn the mirror on themselves, for they are insulting the drive and the determination within all of us that made the world great. Back hair should be an ever-present reminder that humans are risk takers and adventurers and are always on a constant pursuit of happiness. We all enjoy a space that we can call our own and strive to include our friends and family within that space. Back hairs have an inspirational devotion to the betterment of the self and one’s surroundings and should not be chided nor ostracized for their unconventional choice of a homeland. The back has been claimed by the struggles of many valiant and sturdy follicles and I will salute every single one of their strong, dark brood – as I watch them fall from my fingers into the drain.

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One Response to “Back Hair: The Pioneers of The Body”

  1. The Hempberry Says:

    As someone who lives with and hates having back hair, I enjoyed reading this. Thanks!

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