October 27, 2011

Living with a Pharmacy-Tech-To-Be

A month ago, I talked about how my step-sister hinted at wanting to know what my prescriptions were for her classes.  I didn't tell her.  I knew she knew what Spiro is, as a diuretic, because it's on her whiteboard.  She might not be so aware of the off-label usage--yet.

The other day was a great day.  It was one of those days where you are full of energy and get a lot accomplished, feel really good about yourself, and treat yourself to something special (for me that would be a Filet O' Fish from McDonald's).  I was buzzing around the house, chipper as anything.  Across the room, my step-sister is studying.  Out of nowhere, her voice carries from the family room to the kitchen: "What diuretic do you take?"

I hesitated for half a second between the sink and the refrigerator.  It's hard to avoid a direct question.  But as I began to wonder how to squirm my way out of answering, I realized I was not terribly bothered.  And so, barely missing a beat, I called back, "Spironolactone."

"I know that one!" she exclaimed with triumph.

"I know you know," I laughed.  "I've seen it on your w--"

"--Whiteboard, yeah."

I came back to the family room and we sat in companionable silence.  I wasn't troubled at all.

I have to wonder, really, if the step-family hasn't noticed after all.  I do walk around with a days' worth of stubble now and then, and although I figured safe to assume most people are not all that observant (I know I'm not), perhaps it's not something worth betting on.  When I was taking one of my days off shaving and was wandering around the house in my pajamas, my step-dad warned me one of his friends was over and had just stepped out to get something from his car.  I wasn't wearing immodest pajamas (I'm a big fan of flannel, and it's gotten quite cold here) so I did wonder for a split second if he meant something else.

Maybe I'll never know.  But eventually, they'll probably figure it out if they haven't done so already.  Maybe by then, I'll be totally okay with it.  And so I'm not going to rush it.  But I sure am not hiding it like I used to.

October 24, 2011

Al Returns

I am back from my travels.  I had a wonderful time.  Traveling by yourself is an amazing and challenging experience, and I learned a lot about myself--in particular that I prefer to travel with family so that memories can be shared in person.  That's just who I am.

During and since, I've been ill off and on with what feels like a bad cold.  The weird thing is, before the symptoms start, I begin to get really bad ingrown hairs on my chin.  If you've ever had cystic acne, it's been bad like that--such deep infections that it actually misshapes my chin.  I think my immune system is just run down from travel stress, work stress, and family stress, like all human beings. 

It has especially sucked to have while traveling, as I'm on a tight schedule and have no choice but to go out every day.  And so, I had to shave.  I had to shave over these bulging, throbbing sore spots over and over, shearing off scabs so that it was impossible for them to heal (and impossible to cover over with make-up).  When I got home, I had to work immediately the next day, but after that I took off two days to help my skin.  The cold subsided, I began to heal, but then it started up all over again in a week or so.

So my current status is that I'm sick, sore, and feeling ugly.  But I know it's temporary, and that nothing can reverse this but time--and perhaps getting back to eating healthy.  And for now, at least my dog still loves me.

I see I've got lots of mail and comments to catch up on!  Thank you all so much!  Those of you who've checked out the new All Kinds of Fur tumblr, what do you think?  Relevant to your interests?  Have a great week!  (I'm going back to bed.)

October 15, 2011

October 11, 2011

Russel Peters Talks About His Body Hair

Comedian Russel Peters on the media, self esteem, and body hair (given it's men with body hair, but I love body hair comedy bits!)

He does say the word "penis" a few times, so if the easily offended are around, turn your volume down. ;)

October 4, 2011

Hair in History: Bronze and Iron Age Europe

I started looking at Bronze and Iron Age Europe for information on societal mores in respect to shaving and aesthetics ages ago--likely years.  I had been to an exhibit on bog mummies years before that, and it fascinated me.  One of the reasons was because the mummies were so well preserved you could find their beauty kits with them, and see their chin stubble and tell if their hands were manicured.  However, the more I looked into Bronze Age shaving, the less I found, beyond pictures of artifacts showing these cultures did engage in some forms of hair removal.  This frustrated me, so I left off researching for some time.

And then I started looking at these Northern European cultures beyond the Bronze Age, and found a little more to go on.  Enough for a blog post, finally.  As always, much of this information is taken from the Internet, and I can’t vouch for its authenticity.  All I can do is try to get a sense of what is a legitimate research paper by someone of authority, and what has just been copied and pasted from hobby website to hobby website, and little more than hearsay.

When it comes to the earliest societies like those of the Bronze Age (3200-600 BC in Europe), sources seem inclined to say that people were not concerned with vanity, as they did not have mirrors to really preen in front of.  It’s certainly intriguing to think of a time when people were not concerned with aesthetics, but even though aesthetics as a set of clear principles was said to originate in Greece (700-300 BC; see this post), it’s hard to believe people weren’t judging each other based on appearances before that time.  Perhaps, though, body hair was not considered a changeable area of one’s appearance.

Still, we have tweezers and scraping utensils dating back to the Bronze Age (pictured), so obviously there was some plucking and shaving going on.  Try as I might, I could find no information on why.

Moving on to the Iron Age in Europe (1200 BC-400 AD), when most bog mummies are found to have lived, we have apparent evidence of shaving, hair gel and manicures.  Because these bodies are believed to be either victims of a ritual sacrifice or a criminal execution, they are usually found naked or partially clothed and usually without any utensils, there is only forensic evidence to go by.

The Tollund Man (pictured) for instance, was found with about 1 mm of stubble on his chin, which they suggest meant he did not shave on the day of his death.  (I’d love to find more information on how they draw this conclusion, as the skin normally does tighten after death, forcing hair under the skin through the hair follicles so it appears to be still growing.  Maybe being buried in a bag counteracts this?)  Of course, the question remains, why was he shaved at all?  Was it normal for him, or part of the ritual?

Some of the bodies have been found with half their head shaved, like the Yde Girl and Windeby I, but it has also been suggested that one side of their heads may have been exposed to oxygen longer than the other while in the bog.

Now, two of the most interesting bog mummies to me are the Clonycavan Man and the Old Croghan Man, which according to National Geographic were found at the same time, 40 km apart, and dated around the same time as well.  Both were assumed to be of high status.  The Old Croghan Man’s hands indicated no manual labor in his lifetime, and are said to be manicured.  The Clonycavan Man’s hair was discovered in a mohawk-like style, and evidently held there by the aid of hair gel made from plan oil and pine resin from France or Spain.  So not only was it hair gel, but it was imported hair gel, and probably expensive.  Some also guess that he wore his hair that way to compensate for being shorter in stature.

And that’s really all the relevant information I could find for aesthetics in this era.  However, as the Romans begin to encounter the tribes of Western and Northern Europe, we get to see some actual recordings of what they looked like and how they lived, as well as writings from such cultures themselves.  I’ve found more about ancient Scandinavia than the British Isles, so you can look forward to some information on Vikings!