The Thing Is with Steve Canavan
Forget the forthcoming election, the protests in Hong Kong, or the heartbreaking tales of woe following the floods in Yorkshire.
Today I’m tackling the big issue – eyebrows.The problem, dear reader, is I have begun sprouting hair from places I’d rather hair not sprout.It started with my brows.Previously I’d had no problem with them. They got on with their lives and I got on with mine.But suddenly, sometime in the last month, they have gone berserk, for every time I look in the mirror (which is once every four or five days; I mean what’s the point in depressing myself too regularly?) there are half a dozen or so absolutely whopping hairs protruding out. One was so long it got snagged on my ear.I now have to dedicate a large part of my extensive daily beauty routine – which consists of splashing water on my face and patting it dry with a towel – examining my eyebrows and then using a pair of nail scissors to chop off the several straggly hairs that will have invariably sprouted since the previous check.It’s depressing, and what makes it worse is that eyebrows are so pointless.Even now, thousands of years into the evolution of mankind, no one has a clue why we have the damn things.I mean, they don’t add anything do they? If you didn’t have a foot or a nose it’d be a bit of a blow (no pun intended), but if you were born without your eyebrows you could probably cope just fine.The most recent research - carried out, like all research is, by a group of overpaid folk at some university (you know, the kind of people who spend seven years being funded to produce a report concluding that eating four rashers of bacon a day while doing no exercise will increase our chances of becoming overweight and having a fatal heart attack) - claims eyebrows are there to ‘allow for a wider range of non-verbal communication’ – in other words to help convey an emotion, like surprise, upset, or anger when your next door neighbour yet again sticks his grass cuttings in your green bin.There have only been two other theories about why we have eyebrows – one being they prevent moisture flowing into the eye; the second that when early humans slept on the ground, clearly visible brows provided safety from predators (which sounds a dodgy theory to me – I mean, would a 12-foot crocodile with razor sharp teeth really be put off gobbling you down by the sight of an eyebrow?)I think the conclusion we can take from the above is that no one has the foggiest why they are there. All I know is mine are getting on my nerves and I wish they’d stop growing.And it’s not just my brows, the same has happened with my nose and ears. They are full of hair. In fact when I visited my mother the other week and leant in to give her a hug, she recoiled and said, ‘good god, what have you got in your ear, is it a hamster?’The reason you get more hair in places you’d rather not as you age is because of increased testosterone, which makes hair coarser and thicker.I know this because I googled it while writing this column in a cafe. Unfortunately just as I did so a very attractive young woman - who I’d not seen in several years – stopped at my table and started talking to me. We were getting on pretty well and I’m fairly sure she was on the verge of telling me how disillusioned she is in her marriage and slipping me her telephone number, when I saw her eyes glance at my laptop screen. On it was an article with the headline, in large type, ‘Why older men have such hairy ears’. She looked back at me, focused on my ears, then backed away saying she’d forgotten she had agreed to meet a friend for lunch and had to dash.Because of my problems I decided, a few weeks ago, to purchase a nasal hair trimmer. You can use it on your brows and In your ears too. A middle-aged friend of mine has one and swears by it.The results were great. But then some days later I began to notice blood on the tissue whenever I blew my nose.For some reason – most likely because I’m thick – I didn’t connect this to the use of the nasal hair trimmer and instead googled ‘leaking blood from nose daily’. This was a mistake. I learned at worst I had a week to live, at best I might just see who wins the FA Cup in May.I went to the GPs, which was an eye-opener because my god have those places changed.When I was younger, the doctors at my local surgery were all elderly and male, wearing white coats and stethoscopes they never used around their necks. Nowadays GPs are in their 20s and appear to have been told there is no longer a dress-code. The doctor I saw the other day, for instance, wore a mini-skirt. Don’t get me wrong he was a nice fella, but I’m just not sure it’s appropriate.Anyway I told the doc about my bloodied nose issue. He was nonplussed and told me to come back if it didn’t clear up in a week. A few days later, with the problem still occurring, it suddenly dawned on me it must be the nasal hair-trimmer. Not an expert at using a nasal hair-trimmer - I mean I didn’t have a single lesson about it at school - I realised I had been shoving it too far up and cutting the inside of my nose.Lo and behold, since I’ve stopped using it so vigorously, the bleeding issue has cleared up.To an NHS already stretched to breaking point I can only apologise, though on the upside my nose has never been less hairy.