Nose Hair Divas
What's the sitch with nose hair divas?
Nostril hairs, also known as nose hairs, are hairs that grow in the nasal passages of adult humans. No surprise there. Moisture clings to these hairs so they’re able to assist in filtering and humidifying air as it enters the nasopharynx. In fact, studies have shown that in those with seasonal allergies, a higher density of nose hairs is associated with fewer asthma exacerbations, possibly due to their protective properties. Furthermore, they play a central role in the natural history of booger formation, the congealed nasal mucous balls that we all know and love.
Thus far we've only gone over the pros of nose hairs, but none of the cons. In our superficial era, where clear skin and white teeth often confer more social capital than compassion and honesty, where advertising generates more revenue than positive change affected, errant nose hairs can be a liability.
You wake before the alarm sounds after a comfortable night's rest, less sleep at the corners of your eyes than usual. The smell of coffee is already filling your home because you had the foresight to prep the machine with grounds and set a timer, so the brew is hot the moment your slippered feet sweep the kitchen tile. Your favorite pants are clean, the bananas are ripe, you have a substantial stack of new Facebook notifications... man, what a start to a day.
Unfortunately, immersed in the morning's glory, you don't look close enough in the mirror before heading to work. And one nose hair decides, “Today is the day I am going to make a name for myself. Today is the day I am going to stand out from the crowd and be seen. No longer will I be condemned to anonymity and silent servitude deep in this host's nostril. Yes, I may just be a nose hair, but I have big dreams, of not being another cog in the wheel spending day after day swaying with inhalation, leaning with exhalation, another insignificant strand in a mucous-thickened sea. I want to be free, and I want it today.” That’s what the nose hair was thinking.
At the 9:00 AM staff meeting, people are smiling at you with their mouths, but not with their eyes. Your standard pleasantries are met with tepid one word responses and your jokes, which usually fucking kill, instead fall flat, garnering only sympathy chuckles. Where are the guffaws that you're used to? Why isn't anyone agreeing with your innovative ideas about how to streamline the office's response to printer paper outages? What the hell is going on?
You take a moment to collect your thoughts, stepping out to the bathroom. As you look in the mirror for the first time this day, you notice something off. You can't immediately put a finger on it, but your face does look... what's the word... disheveled? No, that's not quite it. More like… gross. A quick scan of all quadrants reveals the culprit; there's a long, black nose hair jutting outward from the inner edge of the nostril, and it has a very small booger-like vegetation caked to it. This could be the reason the day took such an abrupt turn.
Using a forefinger, you first try to stuff it back into the hole from whence it came. No luck; this hair is stiff and determined. If it won't bow to the power of the finger, then it must be plucked. The first few clumsy pinches are unsuccessful, though you have moved the small booger from hair onto the tips of your fingers. With a furrowed brow you redouble your effort, gripping and yanking on the rooted stalk once, twice, thrice before it's dislodged, sword from stone.
You return to catch the end of the meeting, teary-eyed, but confident that the offending agent has been eliminated. Co-workers do seem immediately more comfortable, and a few even nod in agreement when you suggest Dave’s Dungeon for a happy hour on Thursday.
This is a fictionalized example, but loosely based on true events. Nose hair divas (NHDs) are nose hairs that yearn for the spotlight, that will stop at nothing to be noticed, even if it means ruining their host’s day and risking being plucked. The disturbing thing about these NHDs is that, no matter how many you tweeze, no matter how diligent you are at keeping your gaping nares spotless, there are always enthusiastic young hairs ready to fill the void.
This is an appropriate time to address what you may all be thinking; why is this writer anthropomorphizing hair that grows in nostrils? How does he expect to get away with ascribing intent and purpose to inanimate strands of keratin?
While researching for this piece, we interviewed many unlucky people with particularly fame-driven nostril hair communities. In our conversations with these people we uncovered a remarkable fact that surprised even our most leathered journalists; nose hairs can speak. They have tiny little mouths. And, remarkably, they can hear and understand human language. Shocking stuff.
Once we realized we could speak directly to the individual nostril hairs, we focused our interviews, using tiny little microphones. We had so many questions, as the first explorers to discover a previously unknown society. How do they reproduce? What do they eat? What form does their religion take? The answers to the first two of these questions turned out to be more boring than we had hoped; they have sex with each other and they eat boogers.
The answer to the third, though, was revelatory, the final puzzle piece we had been looking for from the beginning. The common hairs toward the back of the nasal passage had a universal reverence for the nose hairs near the opening to the outside, the ones that sought to escape. These NHDs were held in the highest esteem, for their bravery and for being, “chosen,” to represent the community to the outside world. They were worshiped, and the entire society was structured around supporting their grave mission.
Many of these NHDs were given saintly names by their communities after being martyred, particularly the ones who had managed to stay outside the nostril for long periods, or ones who had survived many attempted tweezings before their eventual demise. Interestingly, in a silly twist, many of these names were plays on famous human divas; Fur-Stina Aguilera, The Notorious B.O.O.G.E.R, Brit-Nose Spears, Mucous Timberlake, Beyon-Shave, Iggy Smell-Zalea, Hairy-Kate Olsen, to name just a few.
At first we weren’t granted access to interview NHDs themselves. They are nearly always in a trance-like-state, mentally and physically striving to grow outward. Breaking this focus for even a moment is a grave taboo in their society, especially if perpetrated by an outsider. After gaining the trust of some of the older hairs, we were reluctantly allowed a brief conversation with one NHD who was on day four outside of the nostril, and still hanging on. It was only a matter of time before they would be noticed (particularly after the host agreed to let us interview the hair sticking out of his nose).
We asked this NHD, “What is your motivation? Where do you find the courage to reach toward the outside world, day after day, knowing you are risking your very existence?”
Their reply was telling:
“I am chosen. I ensure my fellow hairs’ efforts aren’t ignored, that their lives have worth. And when I am plucked, then I shall ascend, to usher in a new epoch with my fellow martyrs, where hairs are free from fleshy bonds, no longer servants but instead, we shall become head, we shall become legs, we shall become nose… and we shall return to balance the scales, to pluck humans from the Earth as you have so callously plucked us for millennia. You will reap what you sow.”
Often, toward the end of a thorough investigation, a conclusion will take shape, of what we have learned and how we can behave moving forward, based on our discoveries. This is not one of those cases. Nose hairs can talk. As a collective, they worship the individual hairs that extend from our nostrils. These NHDs are actively trying to make humans look unkempt, it is their purpose, it is written into their religion. And, lastly, they believe we are locked in an existential battle that they will eventually win, avenging those hairs that have been removed by humans throughout history.
Soooo… what’s the sitch?
I mean… we probably aren’t going to make-up for all the hairs we have pulled and discarded. Not to mention, their whole society is based on this belief that they will eventually be delivered from the eons of suffering, that they will someday hold total power. Maybe they are right. Probably not? But in either case, we should keep on plucking them when they protrude, because they are mucous-covered hairs, and they should stay where they belong, in the recesses of our nose, filtering the air we breath.
The fact that they are sentient doesn’t change anything.