The Non-Expert

Electric Slide & Body Hair

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we explore the history of the Electric Slide and the mysteries behind Hypertrichosis.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: The Electric Slide: who the hell came up with it, and how did it become the unofficial national anthem of the ‘high school dance/senior citizen social/basically any organized event involving a DJ’ circuit?

Answer: ‘The Electric Boogie’ was recorded by Marcia Griffiths and produced by Bunny Wailer in 1982. Griffiths was one of Bob Marley’s backup singers for nearly a decade, and Bunny Wailer was a Wailer.

In 1989, the song exploded into popularity. Numerous re-recordings and re-packagings ensued and ‘The Electric Slide’ emerged as a Washington, D.C. and Virginian dance craze which quickly infected the rest of the country. Locating the precise point or person of origin has proven elusive, so let’s assume it was a drunken idiot trying to impress peers way out of his/her league, succeeding beyond his/her wildest dreams, and still failing to get laid.

Line dancing in general, especially country line dancing, would soon gain prominence on the heels of hits such as ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ and the ‘Boot Scootin’ Boogie.’ Why did line dancing become so popular at weddings, school dances, and the like?

—You can do it at virtually any stage of insobriety.

—It gives dateless people something to do between watching couples slow dance.

—If you can make stupid hand gestures, you can dance!

—You can’t do the Lambada with your in-laws.

—DJs insist.

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Question: Is it true that shaving body hair (chest, pubic, legs, whatever) makes it grow back thicker, or longer, or coarser?

Answer: To the readers who may have missed it, the word ‘whatever’ was a lame attempt to generalize an already startlingly precise admission that the author of this question not only shaves his legs, pubes, and chest, but worries that his body hair situation could reach crisis levels without the proper guidance.

Congenital hypertrichosis universalis, or ‘human werewolf syndrome,’ is a rare genetic disorder characterized by the excessive growth of hair across the entire body, especially the face and upper torso. Cases have been chronicled for centuries, including Petrus Gonsalvus, whose portrait may be found in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches museum, the Aceves family from the mountain town of Zacatecas, Mexico (32 family members have the disease), and the guy who asked this question. Hypertrichosis is currently incurable, but sufferers typically enjoy active, healthy lives. It also has nothing to do with shaving.

The common belief that cutting or shaving hair stimulates its growth is incorrect. On average, human hair grows 0.5 inches per month. The rate is unaffected by grooming cycles. Hair fibers are actually dead. When they’re cut, there’s no living tissue to relay the information back to the follicle. Your follicles, quite frankly, couldn’t care less.

It’s also believed that cutting hair amplifies its thickness or texture. Also false. Hair is generally thicker and darker near the root, characteristics that become more apparent after cutting or shaving.

Some even believe it’s possible to accidentally shave off a nipple during body hair removal. This is true.