As a man grows older, he gains a few things and he loses a few things. He gains perspective and wisdom. He loses a bit of energy, flexibility, and all tolerance for teenagers and their crappy music.

And he also loses and gains hair. He loses it from his head. He gains it everywhere else.

I remember, back when I was a skinny kid in high school, I had a neat kite-shaped patch of chest hair, centrally disposed on my otherwise bare chest. Kind of tidy, I thought. Just enough to prove that I could in fact grow chest hair, but not enough to look like an animal.

Now, when I look south, I see a pelt worthy of a Yeti. How did this happen? Wasn’t I paying attention? It looks like I should be grooming my belly with a pet brush. I’ve actually seen a few stray chest hairs peering curiously over my collar. I used to actually pity men who had to shave down to the collars of their shirt, and now I am becoming one of them.

If this luxuriant foliage only restricted itself to my chest and belly, I could accept it. But it doesn’t. This is the kind of thing I’m hearing more and more often from my spouse: “Hold still, you have a loose hair on your should- OH MY GOD IT’S ATTACHED!”

Back hair, as unpleasant as it may be to contemplate, is at least covered up. But you can’t cover up the other places that the hair starts flourishing, unless you want to walk around with your head in a grocery bag.

I’m talking about crazed, thick eyebrow hairs that spiral up from your forehead like the trajectory of a flawed Delta rocket and a thicket of hairs that crowd from each ear canal like you were some kind of hair-filled scarecrow. But most egregious of all, the nose hairs.

A few years ago, I had a mustache hair persistently tickling my nostril. It was driving me crazy. I trimmed the scraggly hairs on my lip that looked like the most likely offenders. But the tickling didn’t stop. So I trimmed my entire mustache. It still didn’t stop, and by now it was driving me mad. At this point I took a hard look in the mirror, up close, under a bright light.

Dear God. One of my nose hairs had grown so long it was tickling the outside of my nose on the opposite side of the nostril. I was absolutely horrified. I grabbed the little blunt-ended scissors that I kept in the bathroom for beard trimming, and stuck them up my nose, frantically scissoring away.

Since then, it’s been a battle between me and my increasing age, with errant hairs being the principle site of conflict. And I’ve now taken this battle to a whole new level. Last weekend I purchased a battery operated ‘personal trimmer’. This euphemistically-named device has a pair of serrated reciprocating blades that scream like an angry hornet when activated. Last night I shoved the whining monster up both nostrils, neither asking for nor receiving quarter. A tiny flurry of finely diced hair drifted down into the sink. The satisfaction of my victory in this battle is tempered only by my realization that the war rages on.

Oh, and you should never ever pluck out a nose hair. If you need to know why, just try it. Go ahead. Make sure you have some Kleenex handy because you WILL cry. If you still can’t get over your compulsion to pluck nose hair, then head over to the Virtual Nose-Hair Plucker and work it off.