Meet the hairiest family in the world who are breaking records and helping science
As a society, we have a real phobia of hair. For whatever reason, we are told that being hairless (apart from on your head), is one of the many standards of beauty that we should all be aspiring toward. Whether it's armpits, chests, legs and yes, I'm going to say it guys, **pubes**, being as smooth as a silk is the goal for many people. However, while some people are gifted with smooth, tanned and chiseled torsos, the majority of us aren't.
So for us chubby, hairy and pasty people, it can be pretty hard not to feel a little like we've been given the short straw in life and ostracised by society's beauty standards. However, one family who will know more about this problem more than most is the Aceves family.
Over 30 members of the family, who live in Mexico, suffer from hypertrichosis; a rare genetic disorder that makes them incredibly hairy. Such is the interest in the Aceves family, they have been recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest hairy family, as well as starring in a film entitled 'The Wolf Man.'
Jesus 'Chuy' Aceves is officially the worlds hairiest man and the dark hair that covered his face earned him the nickname "The Little Wolf" when he was younger. Chuy grew up in the town of Loreto in Mexico where, due to the nature of his appearance, his family were shunned by the local community. At the age of 12, the boy began traveling with fairgrounds and worked as a ticket seller as well as running stools. However, when one circus owner spotted him, his life changed forever.
"My life in the circus started when I was 13," Aceves says in Eva Aridjis's film, 'Chuy, The Wolf Man'. The circus owner asked if any of Chuy's family suffered from the same condition, which they did. The boy revealed that two of his younger cousins, Larry and Danny, had also been born with hypertrichosis.
"The man said he'd pay us well and said he wanted all of us. He said he would house us and there'd be money. I said, 'Yes.'"
The boys began touring with the circus and were accompanied by Chuy's mother at all times. However, while the money was good and there was food to eat, there were aspects of the circus life that he didn't enjoy.
"We were always locked up. They were presenting us as attractions so we couldn't be seen on the street. I didn't like that, being locked up so people wouldn't see us."
Despite seemingly coming a long way since the days of being bullied as a teenager, Aceves says that he still has conflicting emotions about his appearance. However, he says that he does not regret having worked in circuses.
"It's not a bad place where you make money doing something bad. It's a decent job. As an artist you entertain people and make them laugh," he says.
While he earnt good money at the time, due to a complicated relationship with his ex-partner, Aceves is now back at home and works on a farm picking beans. He and his family live in two houses which are next door to each other and were given to them by the mayor as no one would rent them home. Each house contains around 10 family members.
Jesus has three daughters, all of whom have been born with hypertrichosis. His eldest daughter, Karla, is now in her 20s and struggling to find work.
"It's harder for the women because it's less socially acceptable for a woman to be very hairy," says Eva Aridjis.
"Most of the women have been abandoned by the non-hairy partners that fathered their children. But for the men, they are actually considered virile and tend to have a lot of girlfriends."
"Karla is the only one in the family who has finished high school but she still has a hard time finding work."
Despite the taboo surrounding their condition, all members of the family were happy to assist scientists with the analysis of the gene responsible for the disorder. As a result of their research, significant evidence was found for linkage with several markers from the long arm of the X chromosome.
Credit to Jesus and his family for carrying on with their lives as best as they could. Stories like this make you realize that things like that hair on your nipple or unwanted mole aren't really anything to worry about.