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It’s a squeamish moment, finding a hair that doesn’t belong to you snaking through your spaghetti—one that usually warrants a swift return of the plate to the restaurant kitchen, or profuse apologies from whichever family member’s ’do matches the length and color of the sample. In her seminal book, Purity and Danger, anthropologist Mary Douglas outlines the cultural codes that create this aversion. As “matter out of place, ” that stray hair symbolizes a disruption to our established order. We

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This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Eight

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