By Patrick F. Cannon
We come into this world pre-programmed. Despite what some people may think, we are either male or female; our eyes and hair will be one of several colors; and we will end up being short or tall, stocky or lanky. Our genetic make-up will determine these and other traits, including intelligence. But being the only organisms that are conscious of these traits, we are also the only ones who think God or Mother Nature, or some other power, has made a mistake or two.
You may be surprised to know that only 2 percent of folks are naturally blonde, since about a third of women you see seem to have blonde hair (and, it must be said, increasing numbers of men). Red hair is even rarer in this country – one percent or less – so all those red heads you see are flying false flags. But at least the false blondes and red heads are sporting colors that actually exist in nature. What are we to think of those brave souls who wander the earth with purple, pink, orange or blue hair?
They are making a statement: I want to be noticed, even if I look goofy. While this abomination is largely limited to young women, I have recently noticed that older women are splashing some primary colors in their hair, as if to say: “you don’t have to be young to be foolish.” I can just imagine what some young rebellious teenager must think when she finds mom has gone nuts too. Her only recourse might be to shave her head and have it tattooed.
Tattooed! As my regular readers will know, I have written a history of this so-called art. Titled “Tattoo Mania,” in a mere 873 words it told the sad story of the transition of this body desecration from primitive peoples to drunken sailors to its present presumption as “body art.” Art shmart! I have yet to see a tattoo that improved upon Mother Nature (or Father Nature or Them Nature if you wish). As it happens, some people I know and respect have gone to the neighborhood needleman in a weak moment. Since I may myself have an as yet undiscovered fault, I am inclined to forgive them. Body piercing is another matter, however.
I have no objection to piercing one’s ears. This has been done for so long that I would have thought that Darwinian evolution would have provided humans with pre-pierced ears. But can I argue for one hole per ear? Sufficient to hang an attractive ear ring? Rather than the six or eight studs or loops that crawl up the unwary ear? And what can one think of (mostly women) who line their lower lips in a similar way? Or their eyebrows? And who punch a hole in their nose to insert a ring, much as one does with a bull? What, I wonder, do they do when they have to blow their nose? Yikes!
I have no particular objection to plastic surgery if it’s done to repair, for example, a hare lip or a misshapen nose. But its use by the wealthy to stave off natural aging often backfires, as they keep repeating it on a regular basis until they have no more skin left to lift and can no longer even close their eyes.
So let’s face the world as nature intended. Or at least mostly. I myself have a fine head of white hair. What would my friends and relatives think if I suddenly appeared with green hair and a tattoo of Old Ironsides on my manly biceps? Oh, the horror!
Copyright 2023, Patrick F. Cannon
2 thoughts on “Au Naturel”
Hair tinting is one thing. People commonly do it to look younger or, in the case of bottle blonds, sexier. Tattoos and body piercing are something else. They hurt! (Or so I’m told.) Are they just more artful ways of saying, “Wanna see my scar”?
Body mutilation has taken more disturbing exhibitionist turns of late, having become a way of getting one’s image featured on beer cans. We are a jaded society.
In French, “au naturel” means “naked.” But who wants to see a body that looks like a graffitied building or worse, a chain link fence?
Unless, of course, it’s Lydia!
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Ah, Lydia! That great Marxian muse.