I sat staring at the 89 year old woman with half her teeth missing and a long curling black wiry hair sticking out of her upper lip. The soft, gray hair on her head was neatly coifed and waved into a perfect curl on the end, as she informed us she had just returned from the beauty shop. She was going on a trip the next day to Florida, and we had met with her on business that she wanted to take care of before she left. Her daughter sat beside her, carefully looking over the papers to assure her elderly mother didn’t get roped into something her mother’s age might not notice.

I had to wonder why the daughter didn’t cut that black hair off her mother’s lip. She was taking such care of her otherwise. And why didn’t the person who had set and curled the old woman’s hair see the black spider-like presence on the woman’s lip and gently trim it, you know, as part of the whole beauty treatment?

The other day, I sat on my back patio in a pair of running shorts just having walked two miles on my treadmill. My left foot was perched on my right knee, and rather monkey like, I was going over my skin. I don’t know what I was really checking for, just checking it out, I guess, but I was not prepared for what I found. My fingers came upon a long hair on the back of my thigh. Using both hands, I sort of rolled the thigh to the side to get a better look at this intruder. What I saw was not just one three-quarter inch long black hair, but several. Quickly, I switched thighs and sure enough, there was a matching little patch growing there on the back of that thigh.

My mind flashed back to the day before. I had been boating with my husband and teenage son and had worn a bathing suit. Did either of them happen to notice this unsightly hormonal appearance? I would think they would have said something, but maybe they had been unusually sensitive at the moment and spared me the embarrassment.

When I was about twenty, a woman that I knew of my same coloring told me she didn’t bother to shave her thighs, as the hair that grew there was fine and blonde and really didn’t show. So following her lead, I had ceased that time waster and had, for twenty-five or so years now, only shaved to just above the knee. Needless to say, that night when I showered, I also gave my razor a workout.

Age seems to be showing itself. Not only did I have to recently resort to reading glasses, and there has been the occasional old man, wiry, wild eyebrow that grows sporadically, too, but now patches of old man hair are growing on the backs of my thighs.

I wondered if I, too, will someday have a wild black hair perching on my lip in a blatant display of hormones gone awry. Or worse, a whole clan of them.

I don’t mind growing old. And I have to admit, the older I get, the less vain I become. I don’t worry about my appearance near as much as I used to. The perfect outfit has become whatever I have hanging in my closet. I realize that people are usually more worried about what they are wearing than what anyone else has on. Just keep it classic is my theme. My concern has become more about keeping my cholesterol down, keeping within the budget, and just being me. I just hope that if being me means growing stray black hairs in unwanted places, that my family cares enough to point them out if I don’t notice them first. Please don’t make it like the times I have gone to the store with spaghetti on my face and then as I exit the store, one of my children would say, “Oh, Mom, you have spaghetti on your chin.”

I guess it all comes down to realizing that it doesn’t change who I am or my life in any way. Spaghetti or wild black hairs on my chin, I’m just me. Young or old, the one thing I have found is that it’s good to keep a sense of humor about things. One just can’t take one’s self too seriously.


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