I mean the bane of a middle aged man's life: body hair. It's ganging up on me. I've observed the consequences with other, older men, and frankly I'm scared. I do NOT want to be the purple, bulbous - nosed balding old man with tufts of hair leaping out of ears and nostrils like an explosion caught in a freeze-frame.
Because of this, I have been carefully monitoring my various orifices for hair growth. The five yearly report would read something like this:
Arse: hard to say, nothing untoward seems to be evident. Further investigation problematic (I'm less flexible than I used to be). Awaiting feedback from female life partner.
Navel: Slight increase in numbers around the monitored site, some encroachment upon the perimeter. No immediate hazard or danger.
Mouth: No inappropriate hair growth, however it is worth noting that the mouth area does benefit aesthetically from being masked by beard and moustache growth. Ongoing coverage recommended.
Nostrils: Appear to be surreptitiously competing for who can grow the longest, thickest and blackest hair before being noticed by the host and ruthlessly pulled out. A profusion of fine, smaller hairs is at the same time attempting to create a net-like 'tea strainer' effect at the entrance to each nostril. Nostrils are occasionally briefly threatened by female life partner, although host's defensive action (screaming like a small girl and running away) appears to be effective at present. recommend ongoing monitoring and continued removal of wire-like hairs.
Ears: This territory benefits from being unobservable to the host unless a complex series of mirrors, ropes and pulleys is deployed for the purpose. Consequently hair growth in the ears continues largely unabated until female life partner can stand 'Tufty the Squirrel' look no longer, and attacks with tweezers. Interesting mix of downy, fluffy blonde hairs and thick, black buggers. Requires ongoing maintenance and reserves to be placed on hold in the event of a sudden escalation.
I think that is all my orifices...at least it's everything I count as an orifice. Although I guess that technically a urethra's exit to the outside world is an orifice, I don't want to think about it like that. I once had a friend who...well, never mind. It gives me shivers.
Other hair issues currently include: some greying on the head, significant thinning of head hair (around the crown in particular) in general, noticeable whitening in the beard, and a minor revolution in the eyebrow area. I've always had quite prominent eyebrows ( I like to think they give me that adorable 'shaved caveman' look) and now, rather than going grey or anything sensible, they have decided to start growing enormously long hair-like structures which give me something of a Mr Spock look - crossed with someone wearing horn-rimmed spectacles. Damned inconvenient, especially as it spurs my otherwise remarkably lovely wife to attack without warning (somewhat like the legendary Dervish) with the tweezers. In denial of my instincts I usually allow two or three limb-sized hairs to be removed, yet she is ALWAYS deeply disappointed when I retreat, bleeding, from the scene of the onslaught.
I have yet to experience any whitening of hair below the waist (there are one or two chest hairs which have given up the ghost, so to speak). I know it's going to happen, and I'm not sure how I'll cope when it does. I'm currently trawling the internet for 'Greying Pubic Hair Support groups', but without luck. Maybe I need to start up one for myself before that particular hammer falls...
Perhaps the most harmless (i.e. pain-free) hair issue is connected to the sudden, random and faintly surprising appearance of thick, long hairs at totally unexpected locations. A shoulder, the back of my hand, my left knee, a toe - all these locations - and more - have spontaneously produced beanstalk-esque hairs without any warning. The only solution is to leave them be. Whereas in my teenage years I enthusiastically shaved any hairs on my face in the hope that seven more would indeed subsequently appear in the same spot (instant beard = instant manliness!), the same principle stops me from disturbing these harbingers of hairiness - just in case there is a grain of truth in it...
I'll keep you posted (whether you want me to or not) on my progress or decline in this regard - and for the winner of the prize draw competition, I'll send you - tastefully entombed forever in a clear resin paperweight - a selection of hairs from various body locations!
I'll leave you with a very, very sad image...