Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Truest window to the soul? Could be the ears.

You can tell a lot about a person by their ears.  Ear are like rings on an oak tree.  They are natures’ little snitches.

 

With men, age brings the Great Hair Pilgrimage as it migrates from the forehead and crown area to eventually sprout in ears (and noses).  What exactly is the evolutionary purpose of that?  Does hair in the ear serve some greater function as a man gets older?  You know, additional protection of some sort or one more barrier to prevent their ability to hear the sound of their spouse’s voice?  Or maybe just the laws of gravity, as heavy follicles have to land somewhere.

 

For women, there are these tiny vertical wrinkles that gather in what’s called the tragus, located between the cheek and the opening of the ear canal.  With men, those tragus lines aren’t much of a problem, because they can grow groovy sideburns.  After all, they have all that extra hair they’re harvesting in that general location anyway.  Women cannot follow (hir)sute.  In fact, our lifetimes are spent in pursuit of hair removal that most men will never understand through methods like depilation, epilation, electrolysis, waxing, shaving, laser beams and eflornithine hydrochloride (which has the bizarre added side effect of curing sleeping sickness).

 

Folks who have plastic surgery sometimes have telltale scars behind their ears, so while you may not be able to tell how old they are from looking at their ears, you can ascertain that it bothered them enough to do something about it.

 

There are those who believe that a crease or line on the earlobe is an indicator of heart attack risk, but the jury is still out on that in the medical community, as just getting older can be a factor, too. 

 

Superstitions about ears range from “itching or burning ears means someone is talking about you” (quite possibly chatting about how a dab of cortisone might help with that) to “a faint ringing means someone is praising you” (like maybe your mother, who thanks you for listening to your iPod at 60 decibels instead of 130 db, also known as the Threshold of Pain that can cause lifelong tinnitus).  There are a whole bunch of superstitions and folklore about feet and palms that are entertaining, but I’ll let you look those up on your own.

 

Yup, you can learn a lot about people from their ears.  When it all comes down to brass tacks (and diamond studs or gold hoops) ears are the best way to get to know someone, by how we listen to one another.  Not just the function of listening, or how the auditory system works, but the art of communication – the keys to really hearing someone.  It can be so easy to walk through your days so distracted by life that you minimally hear what is being said to you — or as my husband describes it “the sound of distant buzzing.”

 

When I was young I was told that true communication between two human beings was when one person talked for 15 minutes and then the other for 15 minutes.  I don’t know if I believe that to be true.  To me, it sounds an awful lot like dictation, not communication. 

 

Walking down the aisle of your local bookstore (which I highly encourage, by the way) you’ll see shelves upon shelves dedicated to learning how to communicate effectively.  Flip through the pages and you’ll see loads of helpful suggestions, like: make eye contact; try to be a “reflective” listener (“I hear what you’re saying…”); be aware of body language, facial expression & tone of voice; and try to keep statements brief and clear.  Of course, that’s involving a lot more than just ears – but they are, after all, the intended target.

 

Good communication takes a lot of work when it comes to the exchange of ideas, thoughts and feelings.  Is it any wonder then, that after half a lifetime, we develop wrinkles on our ears?  Maybe they are just one more “badge of courage” to show off how far we’ve come and the beauty of what we know.

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