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Men's grooming or the pain of plucking

Men's grooming or the pain of plucking

01.11.2013 From our online archive
In his latest column for, Dan Franch reflects on some of the annoyances that come with getting older.

It was one of those moments here in Luxembourg, though undoubtedly it happens in other places in the world. I was looking in the mirror and thought to myself, “I wish I was young again”. Nothing existential or Einsteinian, I know, and I certainly wasn’t the first to have such a wistful reflection.

But this time it wasn’t due to wrinkles or flab or sagging or lack of energy or hair. Well actually, it was about hair, but not about greying or my ever expanding forehead – a sixhead at this point. Rather, I was anguishing over dangling nose hair, wayward eyebrow hair, unruly neck hair, and the tough to reach and see ear hair – all sprouting from various regions of my head. I had to face it. I’m a spud.

So I reached for the scissors and tweezers. Leaning over the bathroom sink, I winced in pained relief whilst snipping off and yanking out circumstantial evidence of my age. Some things you just can’t ask your wife to do, especially as I know first-hand that women engage in their own masochist plucking rituals without whimpering as they deplume.

Interestingly, I don’t see my kids worrying about such things. In fact, when it comes to grooming, unwashed hands and an unwashed face are the norm. It’s de rigueur. I like that. In fact, I envy them. They aren’t tethered to the norms of the adult world. For them, there’s no need to get all gussied up. Nope. To paraphrase the Nirvana song, they just “come as they are”. We adults, on the other hand, are shackled to social standards, which isn’t always bad despite the pain.

Quite frankly, I don’t want to look like Brezhnev or have curtains swaying in my nose every time I breathe. And I already have bad hearing, so shrubbery crowding my ears is not an option. Thus, I have to remain diligent. These hairs grow like weeds. One day everything above my neckline is a desert. The next, it’s a foliaged forest. Except the hair on top of my head. There’s no growth there.

That’s forever a receding shoreline.