The Tiny Little Hair That Ended My Marriage

I didn't know him at all, and he didn't know me ... I just hadn't realized it until that moment.

Woman looking in mirror after finding chin hair Kevin Malik, Reshetnikov_art | Canva

"You have a hair!" he shrieked. From his tone of voice, one might have thought he'd seen a zombie from Night of the Living Dead heading right for him.

"You have a hair!" he repeated vehemently, as if I were hearing-aid dependent, "... growing out of your face, right there!" I was wounded by his obvious dislike of the hair, so I paused before answering to give the moment a bit of drama.

"Thanks for informing me," I uttered in a less-than-thankful tone, "I'll pluck it." He nodded in a manner suggesting that sooner would be preferable to later.


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While digging through my makeup bag in search of the tweezers, I began to ponder the conversation of a moment ago. Why was I so put off when my husband drew attention to the random black hair that had sprouted forth, full-grown from my face? At least it wasn't gray and curly, too. But it was quite long and had mysteriously sprouted sometime between breakfast and the cocktail hour. How is such a thing even possible?!

woman with both hands opened with tension for exasperation and frustration


Photo: STUDIO GRAND WEB via Shutterstock

Deep down inside, I recognized I should be grateful to the man for helping me avoid a potentially awkward social situation.

After all, I could have left the house with the hair in tow for all the world to see. But couldn't he find a kinder, gentler way to break the news I was eligible to up and join the next carnival sideshow that rolled through town? Couldn't he at least say something endearing like "Honey, you've got cute, little hair growing out of that beauty mark on your cheek? Maybe you haven't noticed it; you are a bit far-sighted." Guess not.

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Let's face it, that conversation would never take place here on planet Earth, where unrealistic expectations crash head-on with reality more often than I care to admit. Conversations such as this had become the norm around our house: him shouting about things like the hair and the fact I had stopped cooking for him altogether and me trying to find some peace among the searing bullets of his disappointment.



What had happened to civility? Was it gone forever? I wondered as I searched my face for other unwanted foliage.

And why, I asked my mirror image, did the sighting of a UFH (Unwanted Facial Hair) inspire the same level of fear and loathing as a dead rodent? Was the hair really that awful? Hadn't he ever seen a mini-beard in the making, and if not, couldn't he just for once have a little empathy? Control his visceral reaction to the hair that ate Manhattan?


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It was at this moment I realized my husband had no intention of reigning himself in. He was going to continue in his burgeoning career as an insensitive and insufferable bully when it came to facial hairs or anything else he found distasteful about me. And I realized I either had to accept this fact or make plans to move on.

I started making plans. I was uncertain what I would do next or how I was going to reconcile the growing feelings of loneliness and abandonment within my marriage. The only thing I knew for sure was the hair, in all its tangled beauty, had been my wake-up call.


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Rachel Gladstone is a writer whose work has regularly appeared in Dish Magazine and Divorced Moms. She is the author of a book about aging, menopause and trying to find a solution for hot flashes.