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People do this? Really?


By Jonathan van Bilsen

Human beings have an innate capacity for curiosity and creativity, which often leads to some fascinating, bizarre, and at times, downright strange behaviours. Here are a few instances of such oddities, which have really made me wonder about some people:

Competitive beard growing contests have gained popularity in recent years. Participants groom and cultivate their facial hair, sometimes crafting intricate designs and sculptures.

Urban explorers, also known as ‘urbexers’, venture into abandoned buildings, tunnels, and other off-limit places, to document their findings. The allure of these decaying structures and the thrill of exploring the unknown, drive this unusual hobby.

We have all seen competitive eating competitions, but lately they have become a global phenomenon. From devouring hot dogs to ingesting massive quantities of spicy food, these contests test participants' stomach capacity and endurance. The spectacle, of watching individuals consume extraordinary amounts of food, can be both mesmerizing and stomach-churning.

Toe wrestling is a sport with roots in England. Participants lock toes and attempt to pin down their opponent's foot while keeping their own toes off the ground. It is an unusual, toe-twisting form of competition which demands dexterity and strategy. Really?

The next time you need to groom Fido, think about entering competitive dog grooming. An art form where groomers sculpt dogs' fur into elaborate shapes and designs. Competitions showcase these canine masterpieces, with poodles often taking centre-stage for these intricate transformations.

In the village of Willaston, England, the World Worm Charming Championship is a popular event. Competitors use various techniques to charm earthworms out of the ground. The person who charms the most worms, within a specified time, is declared the winner. Fishing anyone?

Did you know there is a ‘Cow Appreciation Day’, where people are encouraged to dress as cows? A restaurant in New York (where else?) will offer a free meal to any participant. The sight of people, of all ages, donning cow costumes in exchange for chicken sandwiches, is a quirky tradition.

In Gloucestershire, England, the Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event, where participants chase a wheel of cheese down a steep hill. The first person to reach the bottom wins the cheese. It is a bizarre and perilous competitionwhich often results in tumbles and injuries.

These peculiar activities and hobbies demonstrate the boundless human capacity for creativity and eccentricity. They not only entertain and amuse, but also offer a glimpse into the diverse and fascinating world of human interests and passions. I guess, I am just a non-adventurous person.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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