There are these individuals who when stressed out either grind their teeth

There are these individuals who when stressed out either grind their teeth, bite or pick at their nails. I pick at my face, scouring it for pimple or in their absence anything else to exfoliate.
And so you see, it is during one such tour that I unearthed the horrific_ discovery I best articulated in a panicked email to a friend: “help me”. I said: “its official… I’m growing a beard!”
A topic of my laughter amongst my friends’ facial hair was always just that-something to laugh about. But now, having discovered a few strands of my own, it suddenly didn’t seem too funny. I was in a hairy situation and I didn’t like it.
Indulge me for a moment and understand where I am coming from. I am not referring to microscopic fuzz. This here was a very bold and aggressively developing mane, which I could pluck, shave, tweeze, have electrolysis performed or damn it, just grow and groom.
I would not have been the only one. The problem of unwanted facial hair extends to approximately 41 million women in the United States and more than a few I have bumped in to at Westgate shopping Mall in Nairobi.
And some of these bearded ladies have been smart, leaving their mark in history. There was Lady Olga, born in 1874 as Jane Barnwell, who had a 65 year long career side show attraction, travelling with the Ringling brothers and Barnum and Bailey. And remember Vivian wheeler, the IIinois woman who for her 11 inch beard, made it into Guinness book of world records for having the “longest female Beard Hair? Having shaved since the age of seven, Vivian endured four marriages before setting “Rapunzel” to grow.
But be as it is, beard and all, nature is still kinder to women than men. Despite challenges such as comparatively lower access to wealth, employment, healthcare and education, women are still on top when it comes to living it out… life that is. Not only are women ahead in numbers but they also have a greater life expectancy, than men. In the US, for instances where the life expectancy averages 79 years for women, it is about 72 for men, and women over the age of 65 outnumber men by a ratio of three to two.
This is particularly interesting when one considers the numerous physical and cultural advantages men have over women. We are shorter and hence more prone to weight gain and poorer hence less likely to get medical care. Even in US, older women are the single poorest group with 35 per cent living alone and 52 percent widowed as compared to men, where only 14 percent live alone and 23 percent are widowers.
So how does this happen? Men it seems are doomed well from the start. Not only do they die more frequently than girls in infancy but in each subsequent year of life.
Come puberty many speed it up. Succumbing to what has been termed “testosterone toxicity”-the increase in testosterone that prompts boys to thump their chests and take greater risks than girls-nothing like knitting when you can jump off a wall!.
In their 40s, many begin to see symptoms of heart disease such that by the time they are aged 55 to 64, they are twice as likely to die from heart disease and accidents as women of the same age. And in developing countries they are also four times as likely to commit suicide.
If women are, indeed, the weaker sex, little evidence proves it. While their husbands puff on a kiraiku (unfiltered tobacco roll), our kamba women fetch firewood, water, cultivate and cook meals. And in our cities, others work longer hours for peanuts hand washing clothes and scrubbing floors to feed families they only see in evenings, as their second job that of parenting, begins.
Despite all these, women have been conditioned to rely on men and to paradoxically believe that they are lifeless-cripples, without the support and companionship of a man. While our longer lives don’t necessarily translate into healthier lives (we have our share of osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension and HIV\ AIDS), our worth amounts to more than we hear. It is exhibited in our inner strength and in our ability to grow stronger when weakened.
Isn’t it time we learned from Madame Jeanne Calmert who died at the age of 122? Her life teaches us one thing __it is that women shouldn’t count on marriage to finance their old age. Ladies, you may try it but he’ll be long gone when you’re old. You may have a companion, a loving dog, Perhaps, but you’ll otherwise be alone in your rocking chair stroking your beard.