October 26, 2013

DON'T KID YOURSELF, SISTER... (self-reference alert):

A Hairy Chest Makes a Man (ROSS KENNETH URKEN, OCT 25 2013, Atlantic)

Given that I come from a clan of hirsute Russian Jews, it is a particularly personal disappointment that my chest is bare, save the circum-areolar growth and few stray hairs in the center that continue sparsely toward my happy trail. [...]

It depends on your outlook. Of course, the loss of body hair was a distinguishing evolutionary feature when human beings departed from our primate brethren. Body hair kept us warm, and we lost it for specific advantageous evolutionary reasons.

One prominent theory, according to Dr. Mark Pagel of the University of Reading in England and Dr. Walter Bodmer of the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, holds that human beings rid themselves of body hair to avoid fur-infesting parasites. The lack of fur passed through natural selection and onto sexual selection, where those who weren't prone to fleas and ticks were deemed to have a higher fitness.

As confirmed by Markus J. Rantala at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, human beings veered toward bare skin when the cost-benefit analysis favored having  "fewer parasites" over a "warming, furry coat." To boot, Cambridge University zoologist Charles Goodhart postulated that because men preferred the "hairless trait" in women, they passed along the trait to their offspring, both male and female.

Today's use of hair-removal products--among both sexes--demonstrates the hands-on continuation of the human striving for hair-free bodies. Far from a Neanderthal, maybe I am an evolved modern man.

Of course even posers like Hemingway have chest hair, back hair makes the man.  

Last week we ran a water table for the CHAD half marathon and one of the little girls working with us gave me a wide berth all day.  Turns out, folks had warned her to be careful because I was part yeti.

Posted by at October 26, 2013 7:16 AM

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