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The web's lair of hair

Let's face it: Long hair holds a certain attraction for most people.

Witness the popularity of hair extensions. Note how women drool over Fabio, with his long blond mane, and Keith Hamilton Cobb, that dreadlocked African-American hunk on All My Children.

Generally, however, the fascination is a man thing. Most men love long hair on women. It's erotic. It's the ultimate symbol of femininity _ kind of like painted toenails and feathery bedroom mules.

Keeping long hair beautiful, however, takes work. Washing, rolling, blow-drying and curling are time-consuming and tiring on the upper arm. That's why many women prefer shorter, carefree tresses.

For some women, though, the longer the better. And there's a Web site just for them. It was created by Frank Ploenissen, a 28-year-old electrical engineer from Brussels, Belgium, who says one of his hobbies is taking pictures of long-haired women.

"It is difficult to find models," he says. "Very long hair is not appreciated by model agencies, which is so unfortunate."

Now, before you invoke images of Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, be advised that when Ploenissen talks about long hair, he means really long hair. We're talking 40, 60, even more than 100 inches of hair.

Let's visit the Long Hair Site:

Click on Zamir Akram sitting on the floor. Her 39 inches of hair cascades down her shoulder and rests next to her thigh. Raksha Patel's 47-inch mane drapes over the back of a sofa and sweeps the floor.

The Lady of the Week is Conny from Munich, Germany. It took her 12 years to grow her 49 inches. Then there is the woman wearing an ankle-length platinum blond wig.

There's nothing off-color about it. Just pictures of fully clad women with long hair.

Most are really intriguing images, especially the one of Georgia Sebrantke apparently taken from the 1987 Guinness Book of World Records. She stands on a stool to show off 116{ inches of thick, dark hair.

Country singer Crystal Gayle's floor-length tresses are featured _ of course.

Ploenissen's site includes information about hair care. Most of it's so obvious that anyone who has used shampoo needn't bother clicking on this section.

More than 150,000 people have visited the site since December. The allure is understandable, but the photos raise many questions: How does one wash that much hair? How much does all that hair weigh?

And most important: How do you keep it from falling in the toilet?