Let’s talk hair.
When I was a kid, I had wild, wavy hair that had a mind of its own. I’d be in our tiny little bathroom and I’d comb it one way and by the time I’d walk out to the kitchen for my mother’s inspection, it would have gone in a completely different direction. Of course, I wanted the feathered look of the day, made famous by Shaun Cassidy, John Travolta and a million other Hollywood stars and athletes, but I could never really count on my hair behaving the way I wanted.
Bold, beautiful hair
I don’t remember much of my hair in my 20s, but vaguely remember trying to imitate Brad Pitt’s locks (imagine A River Runs Through It and Legends of the Fall.) Surprise, surprise, I could never quite muster the look, but you can’t blame a guy for trying. Things got serious though in my mid-30s. Shortly after my 35th birthday, I noticed that my hair was starting to thin out in spots. I blamed it on the price of having kids. Yes, those damn kids again. I tried to not worry too much. I figured I would be okay once the kids got older and slept through the night. To hide the thinning, I kept my hair trimmed short so that I could just wash and run.
When I turned 40, though, things started to get serious. I remember looking in the mirror one day and wondering where in the heck the hair in the middle of head had gone. Did it run away in the middle of the night? Did my wife take a razor to my scalp as a sadistic ploy to get back at me for failing to bring home flowers? Was I dreaming? It was quite scary! My bald spot in the center of my head was getting bigger and bigger. I was bothered too when I looked at my two brothers and saw that they still had plenty of hair remaining on the top of their heads. I wondered out loud why I kept hearing about your mother’s father determining your future hair. Before he passed away, my grandfather had tons of long, black hair. Common thinking is if your mother’s father was bald, then you’ll be bald too. If he’s not, you won’t be. So I should have a full head of hair, right? Well, um, wrong. With few options, I called BS and cut my hair even shorter.
Giving in to Mother Nature
It’s been ten years now and I’ve pushed my hairstyle back until there’s really not much left. It felt strange to make such a big deal about the small strip of hair in front, while not far away I had a bright, gaping hole the size of the sun. So in July with COVID keeping me working from home, I decided to bite the bullet and shave off whatever hair I had left and have been following up with touch-ups ever since.
I didn’t want to cut it. I had always found an excuse to keep it longer out front (or should I say, long where I still had hair.) I’d been resisting it. I came up with countless excuses, but, in the end, the time was right. It felt like the bald spot was taking up more and more of my head and my hair was actually covering less and less real estate. (To keep to the real estate example, I felt like a real estate developer losing more and more land to beach erosion, until he finally gets sick of it and throws in the towel.)
When I’m finally out with friends or acquaintances, I’m sure I’ll get my share of Mr. Clean, Lord Voldemort, Michael Jordan or, even for those old enough to remember, Telly Savalas, jokes. My hair though was a dying battle.
Oh, I may try to let whatever hair I have left grow-out at a later date; I may even take one look at my oldest brother with his full head of hair and get sick of it and let my hair come back, but I doubt it. In the weeks since I’ve started shaving my head, I’ve gotten used to the new man looking back at me in the mirror and, in the words of the incomparable Larry David: “Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair. But a confident bald man — there’s your diamond in the rough.”
Or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself.