I can live with the jawline, or lack thereof. The bosoms? Oh, whatever; I’ve grown out of minding or even really noticing. Grey hair? Don’t care. Freckles on the back of my hands (the French call these ‘flowers on the path to the grave’)? Cosy. But I could do without the chin hairs. I could really, really do without the beardedness that started to flourish in my late thirties and is now a daily preoccupation.
Where I used to never leave the house without cigarettes, I now rarely venture out without tweezers. Because, the thing about chin hairs is that they appear fully formed. Entirely mature. You don’t get a hint that one is building – like a spot. Nothing one minute, and the next, a great, witchety tendril waving in the breeze. ‘Tendril’ is probably not the word. ‘Wire’ would be more appropriate. Because, as the hair on our heads gets finer, the hair on our chins gets more muscular. What if someone lovingly strokes my face and sustains an actual scratch?
So, if you’re caught short, tweezerless, you become a helpless fingerer. You worry away at the sprouter at dinner, in meetings, on the tube. And it’s a ‘tell.’ Don’t think you’re fooling anyone that you’re just…pensive. You know, I know, they know. And don’t even get me started on cheek hairs and – even – the odd chest hair. I don’t have the energy.