#26. WHY DON’T HUMANS HAVE FUR?

by admin on February 8, 2011

cat suits

….as fall has turned to winter and chilly storms with wind and rain make venturing outside dicey, esme has begun to notice how well a healthy animal’s fur fits.  sleek and thick, my dog’s winter coat is a wonder to behold and a joy to feel. 

the color suits him perfectly (cream with dark chocolate accents) and the cut is to die for.  must be bespoke. no shopping needed, which may be one reason domestic animals sleep most of the day.  a little shake and it dries right off.  a lick and a polish and it’s clean. (well, i realize i’m taking a little poetic license here). 

i will even confess to a very eccentric endeavor;  i’m saving my dog’s fur hoping to eventually find someone to card it and knit it into a little scarf!  if i had a bigger dog, i might hope for a sweater. 

so, how come we humans are so deficient in the fur department?  does chest hair keep guys warm??  i do know that whenever i get a particularly short hair-cut my head feels chilly for weeks. much to the dismay of my husband, i have taken to wearing little hats when i go outside and sometimes even to bed on a chilly night! (remember the original meaning of nightcap?) 

and why, for heaven’s sake, do we (especially we of the female gender) seem intent on decimating the little body hair nature has left us with?  i understand this obsession with hairlessness has even infected the male half of the population, who are now subjecting themselves to the rigors of waxing, plucking, electrolysis etc.  i shudder to think! 

esme wonders about the sociological and evolutionary implications of the brazilian wax.  not that she believes in going au naturel; she tried that once in the seventies with dramatic and highly unfashionable results.  it’s a terrible dilemma….anyway, some night when you are having trouble sleeping because you have spent too much money on clothes, you might ponder these questions and get back to me.

furless with the rest of humanity,

esme (esmenoir@gmail.com)

esme received several responses to her query, including this one from phashion plate: 

“There are two aspects of your missive to attend to:

First, there is the very interesting evolutionary question of why humans no longer have fur.  Is this because early humanoids discovered the wonders
of central heating in caves?  Then there is the second evolutionary question: why is it that men have more hair than women?  If hair is the result of
of testosterone production, then one can see the results in males.  However, this does not fully explain idiopathic hirsuitism in women or the variation
in the furriness of men.  Clearly, there are different genetic reasons for hair “in the wrong place” on women (interestingly, this is said to be commonly found in women of “Mediterranean descent”).  Only an endocrinologist would appreciate this question.

Which leads me to the second aspect: the depilatory practices of the  20th century.  Facial hair removal has been practiced for centuries by both sexes.  But with the invention of the mass produced safety razor (thank you Gillette), women were pressured into shaving (and cutting) their arm pits.  With the invention of nylon (thank you DuPont?) shaving of legs became a requirement.  And now, all girls are instructed in the proper elimination of hair.  Except, of course, for the lucky few with light blond hair.

PP.”

esme could not have said it better herself!  not being one of the lucky few with light blond (or even red) hair i have spent countless hours and dollars on depilitation.  if i could change one thing about my genetic make-up, it would be to be re-born with blond body-hair (i like the wavy brunette stuff on my head, god, so no need to worry about that).  my father has red hair but i failed to receive the requisite number of genes.  in fact, in my early days i found myself quite drawn to men with red-blond body hair (oedipal issues of course).  the problem has been somewhat ameliorated by marriage to someone furrier than myself, and the advent of the laser.

esme

  

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