Sex and Scruff

Not too long ago, I was reading a great book by Bill Bryson called "A Short History Of Nearly Everything." It is the kind of book that Dr. Paul Weston would give me as a Christmas present, because it simplifies complicated scientific ideas and pronouncements in a way that makes them easily accessible to gormless lummoxes like me.

I got to the chapter that was talking about the human genome and I read a line that made my skin tingle:

"How fast a man's beard grows, for instance, is partly a function of how much he thinks about sex (because thinking about sex produces a testosterone surge)."

I had to go and check this out for myself (no offence, Mr. Bryson but, seeing as how you yourself sport a fine face full of fuzz, I figured you might have a vested interest in explaining how testosterone levels lead to beard growth.)

It was also reported in Time Magazine that one hapless researcher, when deprived of female company, noticed a down-turn in the rate at which his beard grew. I'd love to know how they measure this stuff. Any rate, apparently there IS a direct correlation between levels of male sex hormone and the rate at which a guy can grow a beard.

For some reason, I was not aware of this. I really am a gormless lummox. I needed PROOF, dammit!

I decided to use my slightly rusty scientific skills to try and to find out more about this crucial subject, and, of course, how it relates to My Ideal Test Subject.

Male, Caucasian, mid-to-late fifties. Yeah, you'll do, buddy. Saddle up, we're movin' out.

Scientific Observation I: "Note the test subject's slightly glazed expression, provocatively parted lips, elevated respiration levels, consequent healthy and robust skin tone ... clearly a sign of heightened responses due to sexual stimulation brought about by the persistent and repeated automatic thoughts of a sexual nature. And .. Oh my goodness gracious me check out his BEARD GROWTH! Er - I have to go somewhere private NOW! CAN'TSTOPBYESEEYOULATER."

(It is also worth noting that hair grows at the same rate all over the human body. In a radio interview a couple of years ago Gabriel said that his hairdresser remarked that she didn't know anyone who's hair grew so quickly.)


Scientific Observation II: "Here we see further evidence of wild testosterone surges resulting in a marked increase in facial fuzz. You are here observing twenty-three minutes'-worth of beard growth. Note also the unconcernedly salacious expression. Excuse me, I must now go take a (cold) shower."


Scientific Observation III: "The Test Subject appears entirely unable to stop thinking about sex. It's like someone has said to him: "Whatever you do, DON'T THINK ABOUT BLUE ELEPHANTS!" He just can't help himself. Here you can see a look of anguish as Test Subject struggles with yet another thought about sex, and how he has to go and do YET ANOTHER Question and Answer session before he can put his Pecker down, then go out and get some. Poor fellow. God, it's so hot in this lab. Actually I've very pressing appointment. Can I take my lunch break now?"

Scientific Observation IV:
"Test Subject's automatic thinking is getting out of hand. It's beginning to piss him off. He attempts to hide the excessive growth of facial hair behind the collar of his coat, pretending to be Severus Snape. Um - excuse me a moment, I think he might need me in the dressing room - "

Scientific Observation V: "In a further effort to disguise the sudden onset of facial furriness, the Test Subject attempts to distract the observation team by garbing himself in loose-weave chain-mail and a full suit of armor. However, this too proves ineffectual: Later on that same night the Test subject Manages to father a child without ever removing said armor. This would indicate that his testosterone levels had risen to such a degree that it was able to propel sperm through solid metal."

Scientific Observation VI: "The Test Subject is now becoming more accustomed to the status of his beard, which seems to also be affected by the wearing of an extraordinarily attractive-looking Black Tee-Shirt Of Hotness."

Scientific Observation VII: "The Test Subject has a set back and in one hopeless, last-ditch attempt to disguise the amount of time he spends thinking about sex, shaves once every two hours."

This has little or no effect, as best I can see -

So. My carefully-considered, meticulously researched, peer-reviewed scientific theory is: It was Sexy-type thinking wot made his beard sprout.

We sho' ain't complainin', are we.