Why Is Finding a Hair in Your Food so Disturbing?

A few weeks ago, I was cheerfully chowing down on some leftover Korean food when it happened: I picked up a chunk of rice, only to find a long, black hair protruding from it.

My stomach dropped. There was something about that hair, pieces of rice stuck to the strand, that made me lose my appetite. The only thing that kept me going (after removing the hair) was that the food was really good.

Since then, whenever I think about this particular restaurant, as much as I enjoy the food, I can’t not think about that hair. In fact, there’s something about finding hair in food that wedges into my memory like none other. In fact, I can still remember finding a hair in my popcorn at a certain St. Louis movie theater nearly 5 years ago!

What is it, exactly, that makes hair so gross when it ends up in food? It’s not like finding a testicle in your mashed potatoes or an eyeball in your green beans. It’s just a strand of hair. But there’s just something about it that is truly unappetizing, especially when it’s clearly someone else’s hair.

I’m sure I’ll eat at the Korean place again–it’s too good to miss out on. But I’ll have to try really hard not to think about the hair.

Has a piece of hair in found ever made a mark on your memory? If it bothers you too, why do you think it’s so gross?

14 thoughts on “Why Is Finding a Hair in Your Food so Disturbing?”

  1. Just last weekend, we found hairs (and crumbs) under the sheets in the bed at the condo we had rented overnight on our road trip. It was especially offputting for Melanie. (Though not as bad as the time we found toenails in the bed – clearly a memorable experience.)
    I think hair is such a big deal for a couple reasons. 1) it makes you wonder what other lapses happened ascend if there isn’t perhaps something more to be afraid of being inn your food, and 2) the hair is distinctly noticeable in your mouth, which is quite unpleasant, especially if it is looking and has gone partway down your throat. We’ve all had horror stories, and seeing the hair on the plate evokes the memories of the times we didn’t notice it until too late.

    • Chris: I have to agree that toenails are worse than hair. 🙂

      That’s an excellent assessment of why hair is such a big deal. I’d add that my perception is that hair in food is greasy hair (even though not all hair is greasy), which heightens the grossness.

  2. Thankfully hair doesn’t really bother me. I totally see why it does bother people but I guess it is a self preservation thing… having long hair, my house is full of hair. It sheds all the time. You guys with short hair really have no idea. 🙂 If I was grossed out by hair at all I would probably never eat anything. 🙂 Of course when preparing food I do my best not to allow any hair to get in it! 🙂 But I am generally not squeamish about food things. I’ve never stopped eating food at a restaurant when I found food it in. I would eat or drink after pretty much anyone I knew even a little, and I’ve eaten food that fell of the floor, many times. Recently I was scolded for eating a piece of candy bar that I had dropped on the Marta (metro) parking deck. LOL. I guess I have no standards. I’m gross. I should have an excellent immune system by now.

    • Interesting…so even if it’s clearly someone else’s hair, it doesn’t bother you? For me, I think it’s something about the unknown. I’ve seen my own hair and my cats’ hair in my food, and I just pull it out and keep eating without a second thought. But someone else’s hair is a different story! 🙂

      As for eating a candy bar that fell on the floor of the metro…kudos to your immune system!

      • No not really. I suppose if it was a big wad of hair it might. But I actually pulled a hair off my bacon this morning and didn’t even consider not eating it. Of course, bacon… so yeah I was going to eat it. 🙂

  3. I have absolutely nothing to add but to let you know I almost choked on my coffee when I read “testicle in your mashed potatoes.” Great job, solid work.

  4. Hair has an intimate and constant relationship with the hair’s person who prepared your hair garnished meal. The hair has been with them through their day of sweat, snot, tears, and whatever else has clinged to it. I’ve found hair in restaurant prepared food about 4 times in my life. Today, I found what looked like a half inch beard hair in a salad . I decided to abandon the salad after that discovery, out of disgust. I am also grossed out when I find my own hair in food i have made, but in that case, I’ll pick it out and keep eating since i basically am already steeped in the same biological detritus my hair has been exposed to as well.

  5. I searched and found this because I just found 1 of my hairs on the table while eating and it so grossed me out. Once I found hair in special k cereal. It was stuck like baked into the flakes in s string. I never would eat that cereal again in my life. Idk why it grosses me out so bad even if it’s my own.

  6. I find that I have an irrational fear of eating out because I feel like I will find hair or other things in my drinks or food. For drinks I fear I will find a booger, for food it’s hair, for utensils it’s un cleaned left over spit on them. If I’m at a restaurant I’m uncomfortable to eat because I know that the cooks in the back are talking over my food and just thinking about their sprit landing on my food is just disturbing. I also find it hard to grasp at the saying “food is food” which people will say when I tell them about this. And the worst part is it’s not even just at restaurants or fast food places, it’s at other’s houses, especially when they have a pet that sheds. I don’t know how to explain this but I hope I’m not the only one that feels like this please reply if you have the same struggle…

  7. Man, I just came here because I found a hair sitting on top of my fries from McDonald’s and now I don’t want to eat any of my food 😐 something about it is just so gross, but I’m also grossed out by my own hair. I finally got over my fear of eating ramen after a whole year just because I accidentally ate one of my hairs with my noodles. 🤮

    • Oh no! I can relate to that. Just today I ate a hair while nibbling on a cookie…I just told myself it wasn’t a hair baked into the cookie, which kind of helped. I can’t give up on cookies.


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