Nose-Hair Scissors

My grandpa would remove his unwanted nose hairs by yanking them out with his fingers. I watched him do it once.

We were in a car. He was in the driver’s seat, and my grandma was sitting next to him. I was in the back. We were stopped at a gas station, and while we waited for the car’s tank to fill, Grandpa took nose hairs one by one between his thumb and forefinger, and when he had a good grip he’d give a strong, sudden pull, like he was trying to start a tiny lawn mower lodged in one of his nostrils.

Makes your eyes water just thinking about it, huh? 

I didn’t notice any tears rolling down Grandpa’s cheeks, but he lived through the Great Depression and fought in Korea, so he was tough. Folks were made of sturdier stuff when he came into the world. 

Where Grandpa differed from his peers, though, was in his commitment to nasal grooming, even if his methods were a little rough. Of the men his age whom I have known, most allowed their nose hairs to flourish. I like to think of those lush bristles as the facial victory gardens of the Greatest Generation.

I was born during the Carter administration, so I trim my nose hairs using a delicate little pair of scissors with rounded tips. 

I read once that you shouldn’t pluck the hairs with tweezers (or, presumably, your bare hands) because doing so can lead to infection. I’m guessing the risk of infection is greater in the slimy caverns of your nostrils than in dry, tweezable areas like your eyebrows. 

I also own an electric trimmer intended for nose and ear hair. The device is small and black and shaped like a starter dildo, only with a whirring metallic nub that you stick up your schnozz so that the trimmer’s teensy blade can get to snipping. 

Now, that really does feel like having a lawn mower up your nose, so I don’t use the thing very much. It makes me sneeze. 

Aside from poking yourself, the principal danger with scissors is that you’ll miss a hair. It’s my experience that you’ll only notice the oversight when you’re doing a mirror check in a harshly lit bathroom during a party where you already feel self-conscious. 

In those circumstances, you have my permission to attempt my grandfather’s pinch-and-yank technique, risk of infection be damned. Good luck catching hold of the errant whisker.

My snout-scaping journey began while I was still in college. That’s when the first hairs began poking out. Twenty seems like a young age to start dealing with a grooming issue commonly associated with the elderly, but we all have our burdens to shoulder. 

On the other hand, while I was still in my early twenties I read a magazine article about the extensive beauty regimen of Ryan Seacrest, who had just started hosting American Idol, and he mentioned dealing with nose hair. And he’s only five years older than me, so maybe I wasn’t alone after all.   

Not that I have ever been or will ever be as dedicated to skin and hair upkeep as circa-2002 Ryan Seacrest, a passionate evangelist for frosted tips, waxed eyebrows, and frequent tanning sessions. While I can admire his devotion to upholding ridiculous standards, I have no desire to get my eyelashes tinted.

I like to think there’s a happy medium between looking overgroomed and looking like you’ve stuffed a chinchilla up your nose. And I think most men’s style experts would agree, nodding their heads and thoughtfully tugging at stubborn nose hairs of their own. 

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