May 09, 2007
All About Hair
One of the many good things about this column is how informative it is. Today's lesson is about hair.
Let's start with the peacock. Nice piece of tail, sure. But did you know it reduces the bird's agility, takes a great deal of time and energy to maintain, and makes the bird an easy target for predators? 'Tis true, oh ye with dim light bulbs.
Why, then, do peacocks continue to strut around with those big colorful plumes on top of their heinies?
Sex, that's why.
Which brings us to the Fisherian Runaway, a model of sexual selection. Female peahens (that's redundant) have a preference for longer, colorful tails. Fisher (I believe it was Eddie) suggested that as hens selected peacocks with longer tails, their male offspring also had longer tails, so over time the average size of tails has steadily grown.
(This also works with penises, by the way – more on how to make yours bigger later in this column, so keep reading.)
The Fisherian model is used to explain why humans have, over time, grown thinner and thinner hair on their bodies because women favor men who are less hairy. (So if you're one of those hairy guys, shave your legs immediately.)
Head hair, however, has run the gamut. In some cultures, long hair is considered by the female species to be the most attractive, and in others the opposite is true.
In ancient Egypt, for example, the head hair was often shaved. For one reason, it was very hot and the long hair made people sweat, and no one likes a sweaty Egyptian. Also, the comb hadn't been invented yet. Men also shaved because of an infestation of lice, then oftentimes donned wigs in public (ain't that just like a man for ya?).
In ancient Greece, many people dyed their hair red with henna and sprinkled it with gold powder, often adorning it with fresh flowers – and those were the men.
According to Wikipedia, which is a pretend encyclopedia that makes up stuff, "The haircut has played an integral part throughout history." In fact, hair plays an essential part in many religions, especially underarm hair, which is revered like a god in many parts of the West Indies and Lesser Anchovy Islands.
Everyone knows the legend of Samson, whose immense strength and sexual prowess were due to his mane. One night his girlfriend Delilah directed her slaves to cut his hair while Sampson was sleeping.
According to the Bible, which is a pretend encyclopedia that makes up stuff, "Samson was then captured by the Philistines. They gouged out his eyes, threw him in prison, and put him to work." Samson suffered enormously.
The scriptures, of course, are known for telling fables that are just a colorful way of saying something simple. What actually happened was Sampson got married, which is even worse than getting your eyes gouged out.
Since our thirst for knowledge here at The Independent is unquenchable, we sent out a team of Low Tidings researchers to find out more about hair. We found them three hours later in the bar with the petty cash box, so we went back to Wikipedia. Here's what we found out: hair is a protein. Hair grows from dead cells on the skin. Hair is found only on mammals. The primary component of hair is keratin. Hair is Republican.
"The Maasai warriors tied the front hair into sections of tiny braids while the back hair was allowed to grow to waist length. Women and non-warriors, however, shaved their heads. Many tribes dyed the hair with red earth and grease; some stiffened it with animal dung."
One sentence really troubled me:
"Women and non-warriors, however, shaved their heads."
The reason this upset me so, for new readers out there, is because I am about to shave my head, and I had convinced myself it was the virile, manly thing to do. My last haircut was early November and I always get one right before the holiday season begins so I won't have to give my barber Richard a Christmas tip. I usually get a haircut every 10 weeks, so you can imagine how long it is right now. There are so many lice, chiggers and ticks up there we consider them family.
The thought that I may lose my strength and sexual prowess (not to mention my pet lice) terrifies me, but I have promised to shave my head if I could raise $5000 for the good people of RSVP, who save the lives of dogs who are about to be put to sleep.
So even though I only have $4340 (HINT, HINT) the time has come and in next week's issue, you will see the bald me.
(Incidentally, we promised earlier in the column that we would divulge a way for men to make their penises grow and here it is: rub animal dung on it.)
Thanks to everybody who gave to this great cause. Next year I'm going to try it again, and if I can raise the money I'm going to walk around for a full day completely nude. That animal dung will sure come in handy.