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Weeding the Body

God spare you the judgment of a fifteen-year-old girl. Recently, one whom I like a lot showed me some pictures of her classmates, slowly swiping left, submitting them to my sentencing and her own. She paused at one photo and used her fingers to zoom in. “She pulls out her hair,” she confided, her voice low with disgust. “It’s so gross.” I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, and I told her so. “Her eyelashes,” she said. Indeed, eyelashless, the girl’s face looked slightly bare and denuded, unnerving but not exactly unattractive. I told my friend to go easy. “I just don’t understand why she can’t just stop,” she said, dismissing in an instant both her classmate’s physical appearance and her personal fortitude. Without her eyelashes, this girl was functionally nothing. 


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Hair vs. Fur

“Adam catched Eve by the fur below,” goes an old English song from the swampy fens of Norfolk, “and that’s the oldest catch I know.” The ditty may not be suitable for work or for younger audiences, but it points to a tricky matter of trichoid distinction: namely, the finer-than-frog’s-hair distinction between hair and fur.