January 28, 2014

An unloved, unwanted crop

The Disease Called Cruising
5. Hair, Hair, Every-Bloody-Where

HAIR IS EVERYWHERE on cruising yachts. You seem to notice it most when you’re at sea. Only yesterday I had to ask my wife to start brushing her hair outside, in the cockpit. I’m tired of lifting the cabin floorboards to clear the limber holes in the bilge. Know what clogs them? Hair. Long blonde hair. Well, blondish, anyway.

So I jiggle the chain running through the limber holes and the water drains into the bilge sump. Great. So the sump is now full and I can pump it out. But guess what. The pump strainer is clogged. With hair.

And now, every couple of days, I’ll have to lift the cockpit grating and flush away sickening globs of matted hair and goo.

There’s hair everywhere. It’s in the cabin carpet, it’s in the chart drawer. There are hairs, long hairs, twisted into strands, on the face of the compass. It’s enough to drive you crazy.

Last week I emptied the chain from the anchor locker to find out what was blocking the drain hole through to the bilge. Hair, of course. How the hell does hair get in there?

“Underarm hair,” says June. “You should shave under your arms. While you’re working the anchor winch, the hair falls down the hole with the chain.”

This is ridiculous. I examine the hair. It’s not my hair. It’s blondish. I show it to June triumphantly. “Who is the one with blondish hair, then?” I crow.

“It’s not blondish,” she points out. “It’s grey.  Who is the one with the grey beard then?” she mimics, breaking into that irritating, smug, tight-lipped smile of hers.

Did I mention the binoculars? No? Well, gigantic hair, blurred and thick as ropes, lives on the front lenses, obscuring everything you want to see. Probably breeds there. 

Bloody hair. The damn stuff doesn’t seem to rot. It’s not biodegradable. It’s indestructible. I bet it’s choking fish everywhere. One of these days the world is going to disappear under a thick mat of it, you mark my words.

Depilatories? Don’t think I haven’t considered them. Maybe compulsory all-over shaving would be the answer. Or plucking. Or even singeing. Yes, that could be the quickest way at sea. A swift singe of the whole body once a day, maybe.

Okay, we’ll be in port in a few days. I’m gonna get me a kerosene blowtorch.  I could fix June in three minutes flat. A swift flash all over. It wouldn’t hurt a bit. Too quick to hurt.  Just a bad smell for a while, that’s all.

Anything would help. Ten days at sea and we’re awash in blasted hair.  I’m a reasonable man, calm and sane, but . . . damn it all, there’s only a certain amount of hair a man can put up with.

Today’s Thought
Interest in hair today has grown to the proportions of a fetish. Think of the many loving ways in which advertisements refer to scalp hair—satiny, glowing, shimmering, breathing, living. Living indeed! It is as dead as rope.
— Dr William Montagna, dermatological researcher, Brown University

“Why is that police officer wearing a white suit with little black squares all over it?”
“Oh, it’s just a routine check.”

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1 comment:

Don P said...

And if that's not enough you should try sailing with a cat on board. Not only do they shed vast quantities, they yack up hairy sauseages on the cabin sole and in the quarter berth!