A Follicle Tale

Life on my typical Monday morning around 4:15am is always rather surreal—nothing appears as it should. It wasn’t a spider, or a mutant cricket in the bathroom that frightened me this Monday though. The image of my own face in the 5X magnifying mirror let me know just how far over the hill my personal train ride had chugged.

Suddenly, I find myself coasting out of the middle ages, gathering speed, and I must have been snoring in the sleeper when the track switched. After routinely tweezing my stray gray eyebrows, and plucking the single black mustache hair that stubbornly re-grows every month, I glanced at my chin.

In all of my life I have never seen such a thick, black hair. Just one, almost an inch long, curling nicely around the roundness of my chin—as if it had every right to be there.

When I was young, I consciously made a vow to myself never to allow my face to give in to testosterone’s victory over estrogen with menopause. I remember not understanding then how an older female could walk around in public sporting a mustache dark and heavy enough to inspire gender identity queries.

I still don’t understand how this happened to me. Not how the offending hair grew, that is easy to believe, but how did it grow to such a length UNNOTICED? Calculating, using a normal hair growth rate of ¼” per month, the radical follicle had been active for well over three months. My eyesight is poor, hence the 5X mirror in my medicine cabinet, so I excuse myself from any blame.

You would think my loving daughter might have pointed out the point my chin was making. No, wait, she is a teenager—responding only to her own image in a mirror or camera, and cute boys.

The person or persons responsible, are my FRIENDS. Friends don’t let female friends grow long, black, wiry facial hairs. The person who doesn’t feel free to tell you that your face has sprouted a pubic hair is not a true friend!

Admittedly, I have spent little time around friends lately, but I was with Cheryl all day Saturday. Surely she had her eyes open while gobbling that Portobello mushroom sandwich across from me in the bistro. How could she not notice the black pencil sticking out of my chin, curling itself to form-fit my flesh? I know I didn’t have my head tilted into my fried goat cheese-walnut-vinaigrette salad more than half the time. I drank my sweet tea through a straw, requiring an upright skull position.

After lunch, we continued our tour of the US68 400 mile yard sale. After a couple of hours, we had managed about a mile, and decided to leave the big city of Paris, Kentucky, and head north to Millersburg. I drove the ten miles while Cheryl sat in the passenger seat. Her position offered her a full view of the right side of my face, and the iron stake protruding from it.

She never said a word.

Had I known she allowed me to walk around town all day with a black baseball bat poking out of my face, the day might not have ended as nicely. I might have reacted differently when she screamed, “A cicada just flew into my hair! I’m ready to go.”

I could have locked her out of the car until she begged for mercy, or promised to at least tell me if she noticed my testosterone leaking again.


When I got to work that Monday, I asked Randy, one of my almost all male coworkers, why he didn’t tell me a curly black toothpick had decided to accessorize my lower lip. “I swear I didn’t see it,” he lied.

I noticed he looked then, to see if it was still there—some kind of twisted, involuntary voyeuristic movement. “I wouldn’t have told you if I HAD seen it,” he continued. “ Men just don’t do that.”

Later in the day I made my way to the side of the building Cheryl works in. She swore she didn’t see it either when I accused her of treachery, then I caught her looking closely at my face for others, just like Randy.

Maybe they really DIDN’T see it. If I am getting old, so is everyone else, and eyesight is the first thing to go, well, after the cleavage droop. It may be time to switch that mirror out to a 10X. I wonder if they make one with a radicle follicle alarm?

A Follicle Tale

linda lowry

Lexington, United States

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

pointless, except for the hair it is written about

Artwork Comments

  • Empress
  • linda lowry
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