Be careful when picking a topic — especially if it’s your nose

Building a connection with readers has its drawbacks.
Building a connection with readers has its drawbacks.
From time to time, a column strikes a collective nerve with readers. These readers then respond — in many cases — by calling me collect. After my column “Study reveals male pattern baldness doesn’t include ears”, it’s obvious that excessive ear and nose hair has been on a lot of people’s chests.

And by that I mean in terms of subject matter, not actual hairs falling from men’s ears and noses during the course of conversation, eating or… whatever.

It seems I have become the “go-to” guy when it comes to ear and nose hair confessions. The subject is generally brought up by wives, such as while standing in line at A&W and ordering a chili cheese dog for their husbands. One minute they’re talking about the origin of the Coney dog, the next I’m being told what it’s like trying to carry on a conversation with a spouse who doesn’t seem to notice he has hardened Cheez Whiz in his nostril hair.

This puts me in the difficult position of trying to sympathize with the wife while, at the same time and being a male myself, trying to defend his honor by saying something like, “Uh… has he tried the chicken strip basket?”

And this isn’t to say the topic hasn’t been brought up by men. In fact, it has come up several times — while getting gas, buying groceries, attending a funeral mass, standing at a urinal — and usually starts off with, “Have you been talking with my wife?”

There have also been e-mails and letters, wherein readers feel safe describing, in frightening detail, nose and ear hair abominations they have witnessed, are married to, or are currently cultivating.

One individual even sent a photograph, which arrived by email under the heading:

Look at my NOSTRILS!

Sure, I probably should have known better than to open it. Especially before I’d had my coffee or gotten within arm’s reach of a defibrillator. As a result, I now meet once a week with a psychiatrist, who says I can begin the next phase of my recovery as soon as I’m able to look at the photo without wearing a welder’s mask.

I should point out this photo was intercepted by Homeland Security because agents believe this person’s nose hair could be hiding a small terrorist cell.

Don’t get me wrong. As a columnist, you hope to illicit a response so you know that people are reading. My thanks to all of you for your emails and letters; it’s good to know you’re out there.

And I’m in here.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439, or email him at

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

15 thoughts on “Be careful when picking a topic — especially if it’s your nose”

  1. OM hairy people!!!! Ok! I did not want to lower me self!!! But I work at a clinic. And this older lady was waiting to be called back and her daughter was sitting next to her… My co-worker emailed me and asked “what is that daughter doing?” I looked up and gasped and began laughing in horror mixed with shock and had to walk in back to catch my breath! Other co-workers asked what was wrong? I replied “who comes to clinic and does that?” They of course had a sudden craving for a cup of coffee… The daughter was using a tweezers on the older woman picking hair off her mothers face, nose, etc…. So now you can have that story and image 🙂 have a grand nights sleep! 🙂

    1. AAAAAAAAHHHH! Gee, thanks for that, and just as I was heading to bed! I think I’ll stay up for a while to take my mind off of THAT image. Try to find something more pleasant. Like watching someone clean a portable toilet…!

  2. Ewwww- ewww-eww! My husband looks in the mirror and grooms what’s necessary on a regular basis. I assumed all men did. What grosses me out even more are those men that have things hanging off their mustaches or beards. That’s a whole other topic! (shivers)


    1. Haha! Good for him (and you!) Early in our relationship, I asked my wife to promise me she’d never let me become one of those old men with so much hair sticking out of my ears it looks like I have ear muffs, or enough nose hair to make a mustache comb over. And I promised her I’d let her know if she had any chin hair. As you can see, we’re a heavenly match 😉

      1. She could keep her promise by going over to ebay and looking for a new little gadget called the Eazy-Puller, Nose Hair Remover. People are literally able to remove (not trim) all their nose hairs in minutes and with little or no pain.. or so it seems. She could do it for you Ned, if you are too scared to do it yourself.. (respectfully, of course)

    1. Hahaha! That’s definitely true! Sometimes, when I’m watching a movie with gross aliens, I think to myself, “We’ve got to be just as disgusting to them… especially if they don’t fart or eat things with MSG.”

No one is watching, I swear...

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