MEXICO – Danny Ramos Gomez, dubbed the “wolfman”, loves being covered in hair.
Gomez, who appeared on ABC’s investigative series 20/20 on Saturday, has a condition called hypertrichosis, which causes his body to produce an abnormal amount of hair.
But while some people in his native Mexico tease him for his unconventional appearance – laughing and howling at him – the ladies love the extra hair.
He has a girlfriend named Hilda and a daughter from a previous relationship.
Before he dated Hilda, he was with his ex-girlfriend Lucy for six years. She told ABC that she found his hair ‘quite sexy’ but that she had particularly loved his eyes.
She added that it was his personality that won him over: ‘He’s very noble. He’s very affectionate. He’s a very good person.’
But not everyone has been so accepting of Gomez and his brother Larry, who were exhibited in a circus side show as ‘wolf children’ when they were young.
Betty Tampa, one of Gomez’s closest friends, told ABC that people often insult him because of the way he looks.
‘They perceive him as a wolf — actually as a person from another world — and they insult him,’ she said. ‘They say things to him and they howl at him.’
Of the teasing, Gomez said: ‘I don’t take it seriously. I know who I am inside.’
He insisted that he’s a normal guy. ‘I play football, I play video games,’ he said. ‘I go to the movies. I am the same as everybody, except what you see on my face, that’s all.’
Gomez still works in the circus, performing daredevil feats on the trapeze and trampoline.
Geneticist Dr. Luis Figuera, an expert in hypertrichosis, has studied people with the condition for more than 20 years.
Figuera has collected blood samples from Danny’s family to map the hypertrichosis gene.
‘This kind of hypertrichosis as shown in this family is very rare,’ Figuera told ABC. ‘As far as I know, there are two or three families in the world [with it].
‘We believe that this is a gene which was functioning a long time ago in the evolution of man when primates were becoming men.”
He believes that as humans evolved, certain genes that were no longer required for survival were turned off.
But Figuera thinks that the gene for hypertrichosis was somehow accidentally turned back on in Gomez’s family – in which 20 people, both men and women are affected.
Rumors are that Gomez may be related to Selena Gomez, who also might have the gene for the disease:
Aside from the odd trim, Gomez has not changed his hair, even though he could easily shave it.
‘I don’t think I will ever change it,’ Gomez told ABC. ‘That’s the way they love me. That’s how they will always love me. Imagine if I changed my face — who would know who I am?’