Adequacy front page
Stories Diaries Polls Users
Google

Web Adequacy.org
Home About Topics Rejects Abortions
This is an archive site only. It is no longer maintained. You can not post comments. You can not make an account. Your email will not be read. Please read this page if you have questions.
Poll
Body Hair
I'm repelled! 6%
I'm aroused! 26%
Only on men 6%
Only on women 0%
Only on nubile young goats 33%
I hate body hair. It's such a pain shaving it off my entree when I'm indulging in cannibalism 26%

Votes: 15

 Human Nature (the movie) and a question about hair

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Apr 20, 2002
 Comments:
If you're like most people, you probably expect Human Nature, the new movie by Charlie Kaufman, the writer behind the bizarre and beautiful Being John Malkovich to be something of a letdown. Well, you're right.
diaries

More diaries by Chocolate Milkshake
Which is more important?
Myron Schell, inventor of "first post!", dead at 47
Christmas is child abuse
Fellowship Of The Rings Comparative Movie Review
The Consolation of Melancholy
The Lesson of Black Hawk Down
9/11 and Class Conflict
I'm very disappointed with Noam Chomsky
Thoughts on Lee Harvey Oswald's widow's affair with his Brother
Hmmmmm...
Blade II And The Twilight Of Science
The Time To Act Is Now
Four Spider-Man movies reviewed
Can't Sleep? Blame God.
Don't Do What Scooby-Doo Does
Summer Blockbuster Showdown!!!
Which is not to say the film is badly made. Human Nature, the plot of which (woman covered in body hair meets sheltered, repressed scientist who tries to civilize feral man) should be well known to anyone who's seen the trailer, betrays no lack of effort. The production team does a top-notch job of giving the film's sets, costumes, and camera work a strong late-70's feel, and the visual effect is something like watching an episode of McMillan and Wife on your Grandma's Zenith.

Kaufman throws everything that isn't welded to something else very, very heavy, into the script, including a musical number, a lot of broad slapstick, and one of those surprise endings everyone's so big about (he even - to his tremendous credit - passes up on the fart and doo-doo jokes).

Still, the overall feel is a bit underwhelming, as if Kaufman's heart wasn't in this project, or he was so immersed in whatever unique personal vision was guiding his writing he didn't bother trying to communicate it to the audience.

Human Nature seems to be an extended meditation on self, the ways in which we obfuscate our supposedly "true" selves in order to be loved/desired/accepted by others, and the funny way in which said obfuscation can make us question exactly who we were in the first place. To put it another way, if I "try to "be someone I'm not", which is the authentic "me", the original, unchanged me, the me-who-I-am-not-but-who-I'm-trying-to-be, or the me who desires to be that someone else? An interesting question that is effectively introduced in the film through the actions of the four main characters.

Unfortunately, the tone of the movie is so uneven that one gets the sense the film makers are just fucking around with this question, rather than trying to confront it in an thoughtful, clever, or humorous manner. It's as if a group of mountaineers, confronted with some huge, forbidding, and awesome peak, rather than attempting to scale the beast, content themselves with bunjee-jumping off one of the precipices.

It does not help matters that many of the Human Nature's jokes fall flat - the film's biggest laughs come from an extended man-trying-to-hump-slide-projector-screen bit of physical comedy that's straight out of the Jim Carrey fakebook.

Still, for all my reservations, I still think Human Nature is well worth checking out (I'll overlook a lot of faults for an artist with a unique personal vision). It also raises a question I have been meaning to broach with the thoughtful and observant readers of the mighty AQ. Namely: what is it about hair that grosses us out so much? Why do we expend so much time, money, and effort to banish it from every bit of our bodies but our heads? Is it because of its animalistic connotations, or because it tickles when you're trying to nuzzle yr sweetie's privates? Or is it because it's a fire hazard? Speaking as a man with a bit of a monobrow myself, I have a personal interest in getting to the bottom of this matter. Any thoughts on why our society is so follicophbic would be greatly appreciated.

       
Tweet

Human nature and hair (5.00 / 1) (#1)
by hauntedattics on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 07:31:06 AM PST
I have heard mixed reviews about Human Nature but, as someone who really liked Being John Malkovich, I'll probably see it at some point. Right after I catch The Scorpion King.

The reason people think body hair is so nastoise is because it is. How can we move beyond the base, animalistic instincts that the Evil One so loves to manipulate if we don't keep the reminder of those base instincts (i.e., body hair) in check? Taming your body hair is an indication that you respect yourself, and respect your fellow human beings in wanting to present yourself to them in the noblest and cleanest way possible.

It's also aesthetic. Imagine a performance of Swan Lake. The lovely, regal swan queen dances onto the stage and lifts one arm/wing to reveal...a huge tuft of underarm hair! Just the thought of it makes me want to yuke.




I concur (5.00 / 1) (#2)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 08:15:44 AM PST
The thought of sitting through an entire performance of Swan Lake makes me queasy as well.


 
Eh? That's shite! (5.00 / 1) (#3)
by bc on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 08:40:39 AM PST
It's also aesthetic.

I think you mean ascetic. Ever heard of Samson and Delilah? Cut off someone's hair, and you are shearing them of their power, their fertility, at least metaphorically (though I really wouldn't be surprised if they end up less randy as a result).

All those damned South Americans and USians shorn of their hair, you can keep em mate. There is something so horrid about bald armpits, bald nether regions, bald heads, ugh. So insipid, so unearthy. Most of our hair is, after all, what the boffins call "secondary sexual characteristics," cut it all off and you end up with weird asexual creatures, neither man nor woman.

I agree with Nelson, and his famous instruction to his mistress - "I will be in port in three days. Don't wash."

Hooray for the earthy, I say, and hooray for earthy things. Hair choppers and flossers and obsessive washers, all their ilk, they can go away to somewhere they are welcome like (I dunno) Utah and leave us all alone with our disgusting habits, and our fun!

NB: Beards are excepted from above, unless they are vengeful Old Testament two footers, I always found those impressive.


♥, bc.

What's wrong with beards? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
by tkatchev on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 11:02:30 AM PST
No, really?


--
Peace and much love...




They are just annoying (none / 0) (#5)
by bc on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 11:15:21 AM PST
I think it is because they are styled more often than not. The old testament thing is OK, it is the goatees and all that crap that annoys me. If you are going to have a beard, make it sullsome and in your face (heh).

just a matter of taste.


♥, bc.

Oh come on. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by tkatchev on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 11:18:36 AM PST
What's wrong with a goatee?


--
Peace and much love...




duh (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 11:43:35 AM PST
The Satanic connotations are too obvious to be seriously discussed.


pshaw (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by tkatchev on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 12:31:34 PM PST
Look, there are numerous ethnic groups that cannot grow a "normal" beard for various genetic and historical reasons. Are you going to call these people "satanic"? Get real.


--
Peace and much love...




pshaw right back at you (none / 0) (#12)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 01:08:54 PM PST
there are numerous ethnic groups that cannot grow a "normal" beard for various genetic and historical reasons...

Yeah, like 1337 h4x0r5?

Some ethnic groups can't safely smoke pot either. If you can't do something without transgressing, you shouldn't do it at all, period.


Oh come on. (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by tkatchev on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 01:36:59 PM PST
e.g. the Mongolians have been growing goatee-like beards for centuries; it comes natural to them and looks quite normal.

Perhaps you meant something else by your statement?


--
Peace and much love...




to tell you the truth, (none / 0) (#23)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Apr 21st, 2002 at 04:06:24 AM PST
I was questioning the wisdom of trolling slashdot, but that's neither here nor there.


Trolling slashdot. (none / 0) (#24)
by tkatchev on Sun Apr 21st, 2002 at 05:35:24 AM PST
Trolling slashdot is like the sin of onanism -- anybody can do it, but all you have left as a result is a disgusting stain and a guilty conscience.

In short, don't do it.


--
Peace and much love...




 
I believe it is Leviticus (none / 0) (#8)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 12:00:28 PM PST
that forbids you from 'cutting the corners of your beard.' The Hasidic take this to mean that you should never, ever, cut your sideburns; a more reasonable interpretation is that you should not grow a goatee. This makes sense from a certain historical perspective, as most Egyptians would apparently have had goatees at the time, and it seems reasonable to think there was some reason behind that having to do with the Egyptian gods. (I haven't studied that aspect myself, so this last bit is speculation)

--Anonymous Reader #24601


 
Well (none / 0) (#15)
by bc on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 01:49:15 PM PST
The goatee is a horrible halfway house. either have a mighty, powerful, masculine beard or kowtow to the feminine culture and shave it all orf.

Plus, goatees just look stupid. I mean really, the sort of men who have goatees have ponytails. It suggests a vain obsession with your appearance, something too sculpted and considered about it.

I don't like blokes with long hair either (hi shoeboy!), the whole idea of hanging around on the edge of the bed farting about with hairdriers and shit, ugh. Myself, I am proudly unkempt, fuck all this obsessive style.

Goatees increase femininty because they demand that men piss about worrying about their appearance and sculpt and shape it.


♥, bc.

One point. (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by tkatchev on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 02:26:43 PM PST
You see, lots and lots of people cannot grow a full-fledged beard due to their ethnic ancestry -- that is, if they just let their facial hair grow completely unchecked, they end up with something that looks very much like a goatee.

So, my point is: do you have something against a goatee per se, or is this a "feminisation" issue for you?

How would you react to a person that had a "manly" old-testament beard, and sculted, shaped, washed and hairdried it every day?

Also, another question: how do you react to people who have long hair because they are simply too lazy to get a haircut? (These are also the sorts of people who rarely take showers.)


--
Peace and much love...




I fucking hate subjects (none / 0) (#17)
by bc on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 02:47:18 PM PST
You see, lots and lots of people cannot grow a full-fledged beard due to their ethnic ancestry -- that is, if they just let their facial hair grow completely unchecked, they end up with something that looks very much like a goatee.

Is that right? I'm not a well travelled man; I tend to assume that everyone can grow a full fledged beard, more fool me.

So, my point is: do you have something against a goatee per se, or is this a "feminisation" issue for you?

It is solely a feminisation issue. I don't think I'd mind blokes who grow goatees naturally; it is the thought of stylising such a monstrosity.

How would you react to a person that had a "manly" old-testament beard, and sculted, shaped, washed and hairdried it every day?

I susect this is a slight oxymoron: I don't think a beard treated like this would remain manly for long, but would rather puff out and start to smell "conditioned." But you'd be correct to think I wouldn't be impressed.

Also, another question: how do you react to people who have long hair because they are simply too lazy to get a haircut? (These are also the sorts of people who rarely take showers.)

Yes, there is a certain minimal level of hygeine and appearance that must be maintained. The difference I speak of is the difference between the peacock and the cockerel; one preens and promotes himself, while the other just maintains a certain level of acceptability required for public behaviour and politeness. The differnce is between that of setting out to attract and be stylish, and just deciding to not give other people cause for offense. One is much more insecure than the other, and pathetic.

You have to decide, are you going to sacrifice yourself in order to impress others as much as possible and maintain & create an identity constructed purely on the basis of what others think of you, or are you going to decide to just be yourself as much as possible within certain social limits and certain degrees of politeness commonly recognised and agreed upon?

This is the big difference to me.


♥, bc.

Beards. (none / 0) (#18)
by tkatchev on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 03:21:50 PM PST
Is that right? I'm not a well travelled man; I tend to assume that everyone can grow a full fledged beard, more fool me.

Actually, people who can grow "normal" beards are very much in the minority. People with even a slight "eastern" or turkic ancestry cannot do it.

This is why, I suspect, that so many Western men shave beards -- (besides the feminisation issue you mentioned) being able to grow a beard is viewed as an indicator of your ancestry from "wild" "barbaric" Northern Europe.

Some people are self-conscious about that fact.


--
Peace and much love...




You think? (none / 0) (#20)
by bc on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 03:49:21 PM PST
Very interesting point actually. Certainly, where I live (scotland), it is regarded as a bit wimpish and pathetic if you can't grow a beard, but nonetheless everybody shaves, almost. It is the ability to grow a beard if you wish that is prized, not actually being a beardy, which is despised.

This is in wild, barbaric northern Europe though, so it is pretty much taken as a given that everybody is from Northern European stock, so nobody is ashamed of that, but instead proud. Scotland is a relatively young though, not being civlised, as we would understand it, until 1000AD or so (the beginning of a written historical record, if we exclude untranslatable pictish shite and the occasional scrap before then). As such a young country, it takes pride in its recent barbarian past, whereas perhaps countries round the med, Italy, Greece and the like, who tend to regard barbarian heritage as something to be ashamed of, having forgotten about their *extremely* distant barbarian origins and only regarding barbarians as people who occasionally invade from the North, so many Vandals and Goths and Vikings, well, perhaps they think of "barbarians" and therefore beards as something other and and alien, rather than the root of their identity. A threat, not an origin.

Southern Europe has for almost two thousand years lived under the threat, at first diatant, then growing and finally triumphant, of the north. beardy northies might figure large in their collective unconscious.

And, given that these southern European nations were civilised so much earlier, and inherited their civilisation from progressively further east, towards the fertile crescent, they may have a fundamentally different attitude to beards born of their non-beardy inheritance. One might imagine that they could pick up an early cultural bias against beards, and that it would be maintained as a hallmark of the barbarian for millennia.

*hic*. Anyway, excuse me tkatchev, I'm sort of drunk on vodka and rambling (not Russian vodka though :\ - I heard recently of a nice New Zealand vodka that earned a world championsip medal, funnily enough, I must get it if only to see wtf a southern hemisphere vodka is like) incessantly.


♥, bc.

 
unkempt is feminine (none / 0) (#21)
by GhostDog on Sun Apr 21st, 2002 at 12:21:03 AM PST
Real Men love to groom. Look at the animal world. Who looks more flashy and vain, the male or the female? Almost invariably the male. This is true of many birds such as pheasants, peacocks, and chickens; in the mammal world we see it in lions, gorillas, and humans. It's all about strutting your stuff to impress the ladies. If women never groomed, men would still go for them no problem. If men never groomed, most of them would never get laid. It is a masculine trait for a man to be concerned with his looks.


 
What's wrong with a goatee?!?! (none / 0) (#19)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 03:26:56 PM PST
*AHEM*

WARNING: Do not click link


Jeez, who's arguing? (none / 0) (#22)
by tkatchev on Sun Apr 21st, 2002 at 01:23:52 AM PST
Everybody knows that Malda is an infantile retard and overgrown baby; however, that doesn't mean that goatees are now "against the law" -- from where I'm coming from, a goatee is a sign of ethinicity.

Sitting next to the Mongolian Steppe (figuratively, it's something like several thousand miles from where I'm at) probably has something to do with that viewpoint, though.


--
Peace and much love...




 
Hair today, gone tomorrow (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by Chocolate Milkshake on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 12:51:23 PM PST
Funny how deep society's aversion to hair runs. A person can get all manner of body modifications, pierced septum, tongue ring, tatoos, whatever, and it's: hey, no problem. But if an otherwise ordinary woman happens to sport unsgaved gams, people climb the walls in horror.


Big correction. (none / 0) (#14)
by tkatchev on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 01:40:46 PM PST
In the part where you have the word "society", please replace it with the phrase "American society"

Thank you for your cross-cultural consideration.


--
Peace and much love...




My impression... (none / 0) (#26)
by hauntedattics on Sun Apr 21st, 2002 at 07:51:11 AM PST
is that many Asian societies aren't big on body hair either. But I could be wrong.

Not a lot of body hair on women in Brazil. Or on the men, for that matter.



That's because... (none / 0) (#27)
by tkatchev on Sun Apr 21st, 2002 at 08:19:50 AM PST
That's because they are naturally hairless. Which is a bit different from somebody who shaves him/her- self every day, no?


--
Peace and much love...




 
"Hairy swans"? (none / 0) (#9)
by Chocolate Milkshake on Sat Apr 20th, 2002 at 12:30:52 PM PST
Sounds like something off of Derek3000's bizarre sex acts list... There's already been an all male swan lake. Perhaps some transgressive arts types will put together a brilliantly choreographed, flawlessly danced production of SL in which the dancers do not shave their legs, underarms, etc. as some kind of comment on repressive society or whatever.

In a somewhat related note, I just found out that antiperspirant deodorant was not invented until 1888. Just think, all those people in Dickens and Jane Austen novels went around smelling like a combination of perfume and rank armpits. Yux0rs.


Hairy swans (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by hauntedattics on Sun Apr 21st, 2002 at 07:46:31 AM PST
Here's the thing about ballet, philistine AR's notwithstanding: it's supposed to be otherworldly, remote, idealized, on another plane from our pedestrian life of odors, disease and bodily functions. "Proletarian" ballets, such as were often performed in Soviet Russia and China, were ludicrous because they attempted to bring real life (tractors, medical procedures, etc.) into ballet. It just doesn't work.

I don't really see the point of doing a flawlessly accurate version of Swan Lake with body hair. It would be like seeing a beautiful woman with an enormous zit on her nose. If you're going to skewer repressive society, I think you have to make it a bit more obvious. From what I've seen of performance art (which, admittedly, isn't much), 'too obvious' isn't the problem.

I'm aware that there is an all-male version of Swan Lake, and I've seen parts of it. The men are all shaved. Really. It's not any less idealized than the mixed-sex version.



Excellent insight on ballet (none / 0) (#28)
by Chocolate Milkshake on Sun Apr 21st, 2002 at 03:21:33 PM PST
I'd never thought about it that way.

So, if Mr. Attics started sprouting tufts of hair on his back and shoulders, would you insist he shave/wax/get electrolysis?


No. (none / 0) (#31)
by hauntedattics on Tue Apr 23rd, 2002 at 05:31:59 AM PST
I might ask him to shave/wax/etc. but if he didn't want to, then I'd have to get over myself. I wouldn't leave my husband if he sprouted extra body hair, any more than I'd marry someone just for the way he looked.

Thanks for the ballet compliment. After 25 years of training and study, it's good to know that something stuck.



 
It depends of course (none / 0) (#29)
by First Incision on Sun Apr 21st, 2002 at 05:00:26 PM PST
I don't like how so much of this discussion has been phrased as all or none. I have found that a person's beauty is really quite holistic. Beauty is not simply a face, or a pair of breasts, or a lack/presence of hair.

I have seen some women that looked amazingly beautiful with body hair. (but as an American, I may have a lower tolerance for this type of thing)

But these women were not beautiful because of or even in spite of body hair. They were beautiful because their beauty was more than the sum of their parts.

To me, saying "All body hair is unacceptable" is like saying "I only like women with long hair" or "I only like Asians." I wouldn't want to put myself into such a small box.
_
_
Do you suffer from late-night hacking? Ask your doctor about Protonix.

 
Hmm (none / 0) (#30)
by DG on Sun Apr 21st, 2002 at 10:38:30 PM PST
if no one has posted on this point, i'll give it a shot.. hygene to me is really a big thing, i think why it began was becuse of the fact that long hair could mean lice, and such things, i find long hair sexy but not if stuff is crawling through it
2002, DG. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

 

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments are owned by the Poster. The Rest ® 2001, 2002, 2003 Adequacy.org. The Adequacy.org name, logo, symbol, and taglines "News for Grown-Ups", "Most Controversial Site on the Internet", "Linux Zealot", and "He just loves Open Source Software", and the RGB color value: D7D7D7 are trademarks of Adequacy.org. No part of this site may be republished or reproduced in whatever form without prior written permission by Adequacy.org and, if and when applicable, prior written permission by the contributing author(s), artist(s), or user(s). Any inquiries are directed to legal@adequacy.org.