I do what so many men won’t admit they do… in the bathroom 26



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It’s important that I begin by saying that I am in a stable, happy and fulfilling relationship just in case anybody gets the wrong idea before I have the opportunity to explain.

There is no roundabout way of admitting this. Call me deranged, call me brazen, call me brave or call me stupid – maybe I could be called all of those things but the truth will out.

I have a battery-powered appliance that I use on myself in the privacy of our bathroom and, in fact, sometimes I get my partner to use it on me.

There, I’ve said it and I have outed myself – I’ve got a nose and ear hair trimmer. Really, it’s a relief to now say it publicly even although I run the risk of having people look down their…um…well, noses at me.

It’s one of nature’s cruel tricks played mostly, but not exclusively, on men. As we age and the hair on our head turns grey or falls out or both, nose and ear hair sprouts like a rainforest after a storm. The odd thing is that while there is a whole branch of science devoted to trying to work out why we go bald and how we can regrow our own hair, little has been done about why older chaps get hairy noses and ears.

Dermatologists or whoever study skin and hair should put their shoulders to the wheel and do some essential research work. In fact, put their noses to the grindstone.

One American authority, Dr Jeffrey Benabio, has admitted to The New York Times, “I wish there was a good answer”.

According to the good doctor, there are two kinds of hair: vellus which is short and fine in texture, and terminal. Terminal hair is heavier, a characteristic that intensifies in puberty in the pubic area, the underarms and, in men, on the face. It also grows in the nose and ears and by late middle age, more and more terminal hairs appear. “It is normal and it is unclear why this occurs,” Dr Benabio said.

“Terminal” seems to me to be a bloody silly name for about the only thing on or in our older bodies that is luxuriantly alive. While everything else is heading for a truly terminal end, “terminal” hair is going gang-busters. Go figure – as our American friends would say.

Scientific American, an esteemed journal for scientific types, has reported that as men age, the hair follicles in the nose and ear become more sensitive to testosterone and also become bigger, producing larger hairs.

This is another of nature’s cruel tricks. If older chaps are wondering why their sexual urges are diminishing well, now we know- our testosterone is migrating from our testicles to our noses. I wonder if standing on our heads would reverse the flow?

I was told by a young chap in the shop where I bought my appliance (batteries not included) that this was an essential tool for the older man. And he went on and bloody on about how to use it as if I was so stupid that I couldn’t read the enclosed instructions and all of the time I was sure that he was trying to look up my nostrils – the smirk that crossed his face spoke volumes about his impression of my hirsute protuberance. At least I didn’t have acne, I smugly thought.

Initially, I was using scissors but plunging twin cutting blades into the nostrils really wasn’t a good idea so back to the sewing basket they went. And somebody told me that using tweezers is not all that clever either – very painful and there is the risk of causing small lesions to occur which could inflame the cavities and led to infection.

Hence the decision to get my appliance. But – and wouldn’t you know it? – the instruction booklet told me to use it “conservatively” as nose hair acts as a barrier against bacteria and germs invisible to us and floating in the air. And nose hair warms and moistens the air we breathe in. Now I’m wondering if trimming ear hair will lead to deafness.

There are other more advanced steps you can take if you are not all that delighted with your trimmer.

You can get your nose and ears waxed. Is it painful? Well, Anna Augustsson, the founder of “Mortal Man Spa for Men” is quite blunt about it saying, “Tough shit. If it were easy, everyone would be great looking. Fax waxing is not for pussies. Besides, if a man is tough enough, he can do whatever he wants.” I get the feeling that she isn’t channelling Florence Nightingale.

The ultimate step is laser technology – I am only guessing but I’m a bit queasy about the idea of having a powerfully concentrated beam of light zapping my follicle floribunda. I’ve seen all of the “Star War” movies and even if the lass wielding the zapper looks like Princess Leia I’d still be doubtful.

That reminds me – I must get fresh batteries. You don’t get any buzz when your appliance has flat batteries.


Tell us, do you have the pleasure of helping your partner out with this too?


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Russell Grenning

Russell Grenning is a Brisbane-based former journalist and retired political adviser who began his career with the ABC in 1968 in Brisbane and subsequently worked on the Brisbane afternoon daily, "The Telegraph" and later as a columnist for "The Courier Mail" and "The Australian". He worked for a string of senior Ministers in the Federal, Victorian and Queensland Governments as well as in senior executive public relations positions, including Assistant Federal Director, Public Relations, for Australia Post, Public Relations Manager for the Queensland Department of Main Roads and Principal Adviser, Corporate Relations, for the Queensland Law Society.

  1. I can’t seem to get that picture of a bald hairy nosed/ eared over 60 man doing handstands, very alluring. What we 60’s+ need is a complaints office although the line up would be endless. I’ve a few problems with facial hair myself, sometimes when I look in the magnifying mirror I scream, I’ve banned myself from using it.

  2. Ah, thanks Russell good laugh for both of us,and I’ve just told his lordship not to even think of buying one if he cannot deal with the contraption entirely on his own!

    1 REPLY
    • Thanks Catherine – Please do remember (and let His Lordship know) that a truly loving and sharing and caring relationship at our age is one where the use of essential appliances is shared. Probing his nose with a device could bring a whole new positive aspect to your relationship – or not, very possibly. I must say that my partner draws the line at de-bushing my nostrils and will only do my ears after they have been given a thorough clean with cotton buds – and that is accompanied with a good deal of peevish remarks like “If you want me to continue, for God’s sake hold still” etc.

  3. Yep. With you 100% on this one. Why have all those boffins, who preach how we should look, failed to come up with a solution to unwanted facial hair? Or any extra body hair. Seems to pop up where it was once as smooth as a babies bum.

  4. I’ve got to say that hair trimmers are good bits of gear. I have a Micro Touch trimmer and it has proven to be very handy for removing the old nostril and earhole hair that grows with abandon from within these orifices. Eyebrows are also neatly shaped and styled with professional ease. Mind you the first attempt at trimming my own eyebrows was a disaster. I got a bit carried away and ended up with no eyebrows. I suffered terribly for a couple of months whilst they grew back.I now have it down to a fine art. I retain shaving as a personal thing, so the missus is never called upon to assist.

  5. My husband and I often have a laugh. We are side by side at the mirror – he with his tweezers plucking out his nose and ear hairs and me with my wax strips – waxing my top lip. Talk about togetherness.

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