Things that get up my nose 1: nasal hairs

November 10, 2006

What is it, I wonder, that makes hair migrate southwards with age? Is it because ageing nares can’t look after themselves and need extra protection that some old folk appear to have a rodent nestling up their snout? As far as I am aware science has yet to come up with an answer, though boffins have got their slide rules and calculators out to work out what actually does go on up there. One experimental report reads: “Measurements have been made of the anterior nasal passage and nasal hair of an adult caucasian subject, and calculations have been carried out using fibrous filter theory to determine the deposition efficiency for unit density spherical particles of diameter ranging from 1 nm-40 µm at three steady inspiratory flow rates. For particles > 5 µm, inertial and interception deposition on the nasal hairs was predicted to account for a measurable fraction of the experimentally measured nasal deposition, becoming significant for particles > 20 µm. Diffusion of ultrafine particles to the nasal hair was predicted to be appreciable for particles < 5 nm.” Well, they do say that you learn something every day.

dsc01189.jpg what’s that creature lurking in the undergrowth?
Whatever the explanation for their growth, nasal hairs are often made the butt of ageist jokes, as when the 5 year old wrote “When I go to heaven, I want to see my grandpa again. But he better have lost the nose hair and the old-man smell”. One woman who was hired as an administrative assistant won substantial damages form her employer after her boss had asked her to trim his nasal hairs for him. She pointed out, quite rightly, that such depilatory activities were not part of her job description. Naturally, the modern man cannot allow these follicular excrescences to flourish and the ‘Male Grooming Guide’ by one Shane Corstorphine has some excellent advice to get you started: ‘First things first, trimming unwanted nasal hair will not make them grow back thicker and faster. So relax and feel free to trim any nose hair that you are conscious of.’ (my emphasis) Could anything be more relaxing than feeling free to trim one’s unwanted nasal hairs? How, I wondered, did our world religions tackle this prickly question of hairs in the nose? The Buddhist code of behaviour for monks is quite specific on the matter:”Nasal hairs should not be grown long. (In the origin story to this rule, people objected to bhikkhus with long nasal hairs “like goblins”). Tweezers are allowed for pulling them out; by extension, scissors should also be allowed for trimming them. The Vinaya Mukha notes that nasal hair performs a useful function in keeping dust out of the lungs, and so interprets this rule as applying only to nasal hairs so long that they grow outside the nostrils.” So let any of the offending strands protrude and if you’re not careful you’ll be coming back in your next life as a chihuahua. Islam, showing the tolerance for which it is noted, is much less prescriptive: ‘Muslim law (Sharia) puts hair in three categories: that which it is recommended to remove (pubic and armpit hair), that which it is recommended to keep (the beard), and that which is not the object of any recommendation (foot, hand, back, nasal and chest hair).’ And where does Christianity stand on this? The Bible is deafeningly silent on the question, the only references to noses being in terms of putting rings or cords through them. Unless the Pope has issued an encyclical on the subject without my knowing, I would say that this is a serious failing of the church. Finally, does anyone know what a Bonto is? The Bonto is a new formal type of poetry devised by Edward de Bono for use on the net. There are, he says four lines in each poem.
“Rhyming is aa bb.
Syllables: as yet undecided (5, 6 or 7)

* First line: sets out some extraordinary behaviour. The more bizarre the better.
* Second line: gives the explanation for the bizarre behaviour.
* Third line: gives the result or outcome of the behaviour.
* Fourth line: provides some “philosophical” reflection on life in general but arising from the situation.”
For some reason, nasal hairs feature prominently in this new literary form:

I pulled my nasal hairs
To move myself to tears
Effort lachrymatory
Woe’s unsatisfactory
©Steve Smith & Edward de Bono Creative Team 1997

I plucked my nasal hairs
To beautify my nares
A tear wells in my eye
It’s sad to say goodbye
©Steve Smith & Edward de Bono Creative Team 1997

Wonderful thing, creative writing.


7 Responses to “Things that get up my nose 1: nasal hairs”

  1. This is very up-to-date information. I’ll share it on Twitter.

  2. In considering to pursue dog grooming very seriously, you are doing a lot more than simply taking good care of one’s dog. The more often you groom your pet, the more your dog will learn to see it as a time for bonding and relaxation.

  3. i think that basic dog grooming should be done on a daily basis like combing the dog hairs:;:

  4. dog grooming is the specialty of my sister, she really loves grooming every dog in our house -*`

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  6. Collier Says:

    I sort of discovered your blog post by accident, but your site caught my attention and I thought that I would post to let you know that I enjoy it.

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