Hair growing from where it didn't used to? You're becoming your father. Photo: iStock
Are you turning into your old man? I know I am. Some aspects of the transformation aren't too bad, like the dark brown tones, the just above-average height and the non-migrating hairline, but there's a couple of things I'm still not happy with.
My father as I remember him was, like many middle-aged men, somewhat set in his ways.
The morning routine of breakfast, coffee, cigarette and (though he never used the phrase) the three shushes was rarely altered. The newspapers and the radio, reading the post, shouting at the kids – it all had to be done in the right order.
Christmases in our house would see dad get the same gifts - a mug of shaving soap, some Old Spice deodorant, socks and that was it. Every year. It never changed. He always had the same short back and sides. No long hair or moustaches - even in the 70s. Familiar. In a nice way, but still a bit same-ish. Nothing could knock him from his routines.
I've found myself in a nice routine recently and, rather than fight it, I've been embracing it. Maybe it's an age thing, but I like it. I like getting up early, reading the paper, eating breakfast, shaving, showering. Different day, same order, same routine.
I'm not sure if I'm getting set in my ways in a bad way - if I'm turning into some rigid old man who can't abide change - or if I'm a grown man who just knows what he likes. Either way, the fact that I not only look more like my father with each day but am starting to act like him too is something I maybe need to think about.
Whether they're from nature or nurture is hard to know, but I like to think the old man bequeathed me more generally positive traits than negative ones. There's one thing, however, that I'm not happy with - the small, tufty copse that's been sprouting in my nose holes.
A sprouting problem
I'd not been plagued with an excess of nose hair when I was younger and my nostrils were as smooth as can be. But these days I'm a victim to their sinister and ceaseless drive to prevent me from breathing properly.
Dad was a martyr to it, too. He used to pluck them out with a pair of rusty tweezers. But they came back. Again and again. And I vaguely remember as a really young boy that another, even older relative, had what looked like a pair of small mammals nesting in each nasal orifice. I was, I recall, quite scared. Fascinated – who wouldn't be – but nonetheless frightened.
Genes are good when they make us smartish, tallish, darkish or handsome-ish, but in this instance I want a recount. I want those wiry, gingery, terribly tickly hairs gone.
They serve a purpose, I'm sure. According to Wikipedia (screw doctors, it's my source for all medical matters these days) they help warm the air going in and keep the dirt out. What's more, Wiki quotes an actual medical survey from a few years back which found that the more hair you have up your nose, the less likely you were to get hayfever.
So unlike my nipples, the hairs are there for a reason – but surely they can be kept under control. And why do they sprout so vigorously now I've entered early middle age?
A while ago I tried waxing. You can do it yourself – believe me, it's to be avoided – or you can get the professionals to help. They use special lollipop-shaped buds of wax which, when warmed and stuck up a nostril and yanked out again will, cause a) a yelp, and b) a hairless nose for some time to come. But it hurts like anything. Though probably not as much pulling then out one at a time with pincers. Ouch.
Otherwise you can try nail scissors, though I often worry that I'm going to slice off something important. Or there's clippers. There are many on the market, some better than others.
The other day I was sent a great little number from Phillips that trims them back to nothing. I give the nostrils a going-over every so often and, for now at least, I couldn't be happier. It also tidies up my hairy ears and bushy eyebrows, another dubious legacy of the Old Man.
They're about $30 and if you know someone similarly afflicted they'd make a great Father's Day gift.
What did you inherit from your father? Did DNA lumber you with some embarrassing feature that becomes more prominent with every passing day?