Weatherford Democrat

May 12, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: Not by the hairs of my chinny chin chin


Weatherford Democrat

— By LARRY M. JONES

I had never really considered this possibility, but every one of the Three Little Pigs was almost certainly a guy. I know that assumption is not particularly popular from an equal opportunity standpoint, but the fact is fairly certain. How do I know? They all three had hair on their chinny chin chins.

One physical trait that generally separates the sexes is the fact that only men grow facial hair. A hormone imbalance in a few older women may create such a tendency, but by and large, it is the male who sports the mustache.

I’m sure that since the time of the caveman, man has dealt with this big hairy deal with a multitude of techniques. I suspect that cavemen didn’t really fuss too much with their grooming standards, but as time and technology advanced, facial hair or lack thereof became a fashion statement.

Among men, the amount of facial hair is determined to a large extent by race. European, near Easterners and Africans tend to have much more than Orientals and Native Americans. In any depiction of American Indians, either actual historical or in the movies, you never see the men sporting a mustache or beard. I’ve read that because of their genetic propensity for sparse facial hair, they merely plucked them out or cut them off with a broken piece of stone or shell. Orientals in early times are often shown with thin Fu Manchu type mustaches.

Early Europeans and early American settlers had the steel to make razors, knives and scissors to trim and groom facial hair, but many opted to grow full beards, probably out of convenience. Scraping whiskers off your face with a dull straight razor, using a pan of cold water and lye soap for lather, is not my recipe for waking up each morning. I’d rather wake up with hot coffee.

I have some of my grandfathers’ shaving mugs, brushes, straight razors, hones and “razor strops,” but I’ve never had the urge to try any of this paraphernalia. My father didn’t care for it either. To the day he died, he was a great fan of a single blade Gillette razor with Pal blue steel blades. Despite introduction of new and better razors and blades, he was comfortable with his old single-blade razor.

When my brother David graduated from high school in 1957, our Uncle Troy and Aunt Modene Thomas gave him a Remington Roll-a-Matic electric razor as a graduation gift. Wow! It was fascinating, although it shaved about as well as a broken clam shell.

Over the many years I’ve shaved, I have tried Gillette single blade, twin blade, Techmatic, Trac II, disposable razors and other shaving systems, but I’ve never enjoyed this morning ritual. Perhaps disdain of shaving is why so many of today’s young men and wannabe young men sport the ultra-popular little ring of whiskers around the mouth. I think this is called the French cut beard.

Adoption of this style allows them to be unique and handsome – just like everyone else.

To me, I think it makes them look like one of the Three Little Pigs, complete with hairs on their chinny chin chins.

Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to nowhearthis@pwhome.com.