A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Body hair

Post 1

Jim Lynn

Why doesn't the hair on your arms and legs grow longer all the time like the hair on your head does?


Body hair

Post 2

wingpig

Technically, I suppose it's because at some point humans started selecting mates with body hair of finite length. Maybe it might grow exceptionally long if encouraged but with the rough and tumble of everyday life it never gets the chance. Maybe there's some kind of feedback mechanism in the follicle that can detect the strain induced by the hair brushing against things and simply being there that prevents further growth when this strain reaches a predetermined maximum. It's certainly weird. As a child I had armhairs that were about 30mm in length and thin - they're now exactly the same length but thick. The other thing is that hair grows to very definite boundaries in all except those who are literally covered completely with it. It's a very definite line between the bit on my wrist with hairs and without. They don't grow to a lesser length on the boundary or anything. I'll ask someone when next term begins. Failing that, I could suggest it to someone doing Physiology as an honours year project.


Body hair

Post 3

Mr. Sloth

The hair follicles on your head will produce a hair for years before stopping, pausing briefly and starting a new hair.
The new hair pushes out the old hair which subsequently becomes an irritation when it gathers with it's friends in the plug hole.
The hair follicles on your arms only produce the hair for a relatively short time before starting a new one and pushing out the old one. So the hairs, which grow at more or less the same speed for different periods of time grow to different lengths.


Body hair

Post 4

Paul the Brake

Aren't we forgeting that for a lot of males, hair stops growing on their head as they get older but then starts growing out of the ears, nose and eyebrows at an alaming rate. I suppose this still counts as on your head though.


Body hair

Post 5

Fate Amenable To Change

Why do men think beards/moustaches/stubble(designer or just scruffy) is/are socially acceptable?


Body hair

Post 6

django

We don't. We're just too lazy to clean the mess off our faces.


Body hair

Post 7

Cheerful Dragon

Beards and moustaches ARE socially acceptable (to me,anyway). Some men look better with beards (e.g. Sean Connery and my husband) or moustaches (e.g. Tom Selleck), while some look best without either. Stubble is totally unacceptable and just looks like the owner was lazy.


Body hair

Post 8

Maclir

Let me tell you -- as a hirsuit male, who (if I want to look at least passably presentable) needs to scrape the stubbly stuff from my face twice a day, I had a beard and moustache for about 12 years. Back to the clean shaven look now - but on the weekends, I don not shave from friday morning to monday morning - unless I am going somewhere on the weekend where I want to present a smooth face.

I dislike shaving. My skin is fairly tough now - and I rarely cut myself. But I dislike it.

A question thought - the hair on my head is straight and soft. My bead is (or at least the hair is) curly, and the hairs coarse and tough. Why is is so? In a similar vein - why is one's pubic hair also curly and coarser (though not as much as facial hair) that other body hair? Enquiring minds want to know.


Body hair

Post 9

Fate Amenable To Change

ok, well I'm lazy, I dislike shaving, how socially acceptable is it for me not to shave my armpits?
A case of double standards I think...


Body hair

Post 10

Ginger The Feisty

The hairs on the head are round whereas pubic hairs are flat. They therefore get squeezed by the follicle as they grow which makes them twist and therefore curly!


Body hair

Post 11

Top Cat

It's all about masking your true self - very pshychological. A bit like make-up.


Body hair

Post 12

wingpig

because shaving rips the shit out of the skin on my face, making it pathcy, lumpy, red and dotted with ingrown hairs. I've tried everything recommended by women such as moisturisers, moisturisers with bits of teatree in, hot flannels and proper shaves from people wielding cut-throat razors. None of them work. An entire face of unshavenness looks a little scruffy (though there's nowt wrong with scruffy) whereas a beard surrounded by a few bits that only need to be reduced to stubble with clipper-thing rather than wet-shaven looks more acceptable. Even my mother doesn't complain about it. Furthermore, it gives me something to fiddle with that might, in time, stop me biting my fingernails to hell.


Body hair

Post 13

Draggen

By Zarquon, you guys really talks a whole lotta B-S dont yah?


Body hair

Post 14

Paul the Brake

If you think this is bad You should hear us talk about whether size matters or not


Body hair

Post 15

Ginger The Feisty

Size of pubic hair? Yeah, it matters!


Body hair

Post 16

Vestboy

Think about all of your hair growing to the same length... Thought for long enough?
Imagine the pain of stepping on your own pubic hair. I think evolution was wonderful making hair grow different lengths for different purposes.
Now think again... As the sun rises around the world there is a line. One side of the line is darkness and the other side is light. All along that line there are men scraping metal across their faces to remove stubble.
Is this some sort of sun worshipping religion?


Body hair

Post 17

Paul the Brake

No I don't think it is the sun worshiping religion, It is us sad males who shave to hope we appear more attractive to the opposite sex and from some of the entries you can understand why.


Body hair

Post 18

Vestboy

Some males shave to be attractive to the same sex. Couldn't there be some sort of treaty drawn up?


Body hair

Post 19

Fate Amenable To Change

Ignoring Vestys comment, Paul the Brake you have a point there, a very good point, keep your razors sharp lads!


Body hair

Post 20

Vestboy

Isn't this an interesting debate on social mores? If you look across the world and at different cultures some of this stuff would be seen as really weird. Religions which do not allow men to shave would be making all sorts of comments about this. As would ones which don't allow head hair to be cut.

Cutting hair is often bound with ritual. As a child mine involved being held down by several people as I thought the barber was going to cut me with the electric razor.

And you can read my article on waxing lyrical on my home page. What about plucking? And chemical removal of hair!


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