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An average human head is filled with 100,000 of them and the whole body grows a total of 5 million. Strictly speaking they are a fungus and parasitic at that. Among all the land mammals, the human animal is the one who has the least number of hairs on his body. We know that animals have hair to keep them warm, but what purpose does human hair serve? There seems to be none, but hair is given a lot of importance and a few industries exist because of the importance paid to hair.

It is highly probable that in the beginning of time, men were more hairy. Even now for some reason, men are hairier in some parts of the world than in others. Weather seems to have nothing to do with it, since there are men in warm climate zones who are hairy and there are some in cold climates who are not. Seeing that early man had much more hair than modern man the trend seems to be that as man evolves, he will have less and less hair.

This should make women happy, since they have much less hair than their menfolk. Women do not have hairy chests and do not have as much facial hair and hair on their limbs as men. If is true that more evolved beings have less hair, then since women have less hair, they must be more evolved than men. Before you shrug it off as unlikely, think a while - there seems to be some truth in it. Women seem to be ahead of men in many ways. For one thing, they live longer. Also, they can take more stress than men can.

Hair on the head is believed to make a man handsome. It is no wonder that it is called the crowning glory. Nothing makes a man look older than a receding hairline. No definite cure has been found to prevent or cure baldness. There are a lot of cures which seem to work for some but not for all. Acupuncture is effective for some, for other's certain tonics work. One thing seems sure; the man who discovers a cure for baldness will make a fortune.

Already fortunes are being made by organizations which have mechanical means of providing hair. Wig makers are established in every country. Wigs are made from synthetic hair or from real hair. The best types are made to measure. The wig maker matches your hair with the exact type of hair and makes a wig to fit exactly. Almost no maintenance is required, other than washing. The wig is stuck on using tape and clips and for all purposes looks like the real thing. Contrary to popular fear, it will take more than a strong breeze to blow it away.

There are two other popular methods. The first is hair weaving. This is almost the same as a wig except that it is weaved into a person's existing hair. The wearer will feel very secure because it is difficult to take off even when he wants too, so it will never get blown off by the wind. The manufacturers usually boast proudly that the wearer can swim in it. Hair transplanting is quite different from weaving. It involves pulling out hair from one part of the head and planting it on the bald patches. Of the three methods, the wig is the least expensive and the transplanting the one that costs the most. In spite of all the availability of cures for baldness, the majority of men who go bald don't seem to be bothered by it. They accept gracefully the coming of age and in fact seem to know that it takes much more than hair to decide whether they are good looking or not. Perhaps that is the best thing to do.

   
  Questions
   
  1. (a) What makes the writer describe hair as a parasitic fungus ?
    (b) Why does the writer dismiss the notion that weather could have a bearing on human hairiness ?
    (c) How is evolution connected to hair ?
       
  2. (a) How does the writer use the concept of hair to argue that women are more evolved than men ?
    (b) What other proofs does he offer for his view ?
       
  3. (a) What are the cures for balding that work for some men and not for others ?
    (b) What three mechanical methods of curing baldness are discussed in the passage ?
    (c) What does the writer suggest is the best thing to do about balding ?
       
  4.   For each of the following words give one word or short phrase ( not more than seven words ) which has the same meaning as it has in the passage.
      i.   strictly speaking   v.   receding
      ii.   exist   vi.   tonics
      iii.   trend   vii.   maintenance
      iv.   shrug it off   viii.   coming of age
       
  5. Briefly describe the measures employed to cure balding as discussed in the passage. Your summary should be in about 160 words.
       
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  Answers
       
  1. (a) Hair is indeed a parasitic plant, a fungus, and lives off the body.
    (b) Since some people in warmer climates are hairy and some others in cold climates are not, there seems to be little connection between hair and the weather.
    (c) As man evolved he seemed to have got less hairy.
       
  2. (a) It is obvious that women are less hairy than men. Women have no facial hair or hair on their chests. It does seem reasonable to assume that they are more evolved.
    (b) He also draws our attention to the fact that women seem to live longer than men and that they can handle stress better.
       
  3. (a) Some cures are acupuncture and the use of tonics. They seem to work for some.
    (b) The three are : wigs, hair weaving and hair transplants.
    (c) The best thing to do seems to be to accept balding.
       
  4. i actually
    ii survive
    iii fashion
    iv minimize the importance of
    v to become less clear or less bright
    vi medicines
    vii upkeep
    viii reaching its full successful development
       
  5. Hair on a man's head i often described as the crowning glory and is seen as making a man handsome and younger. Though no definite cures for baldness have been found, a few cures have been found to be effective in some cases. Some have been cured by acupuncture and others by tonics. It appears that a person who discovers a cure for baldness will become very rich.

Mechanical means of providing hair is already popular and a gold mine for manufacturers. Wigs are available in artificial or real hair and found worldwide. They are easy to maintain. Another method is hair weaving. This is very secure on the head and the wearer can even swim in it. The final method is hair transplanting which means hair from one part of the head is pulled out by the roots and replanted in another. In costs, wigs are the cheapest, followed by hair weaving and the most expensive is hair transplants.. ( 160 words )

           
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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