They say you never forget your first time. I can remember it all too well, the shaky hands, rapid heartbeat and quick, shallow respirations as the actual moment approached. It mattered not how much research you had done, or what those who had lived through the experience had to offer. The anticipation, fear and expectations were all tossing about wildly in my head. You have looked forward to this moment with dread, a degree of self loathing and deep concern about the effect this was going to have on the relationship that you have worked hard to nurture. Wild expectations aside, you steel yourself……..gaze downward and begin slowly, making every effort to avoid discomfort as you……..pick up the razor and begin shaving your head.
I should have seen it coming. Had I not been so self absorbed, I would have realized that I chose the wrong parents……Paternally and maternally, there wasn’t enough hair in my lineage to make a skirt on a crappie jig. The luxurious mane that Richard Gere flaunts or the thick, nailed down precision of a Tom Selleck haircut was never in my cards. As the realization set in, I avoided the tense moment described above by relying on the ageless duo of denial and avoidance. When in the barber’s chair, I would wave off the handheld mirror proffered by the sympathetic hair meister…a ritual by which you offered your approval for the precision of the man ( or lady) in the final trim around the hairline and ears. I should have noticed the time in the chair was shrinking, ever so slowly, and that I no longer required the layering of the cut that accompanies a full head of hair. I adapted subconsciously. First there was the pathetic attempt to capitalize on the thicker hair that circles the head, you know, the hair that looks good when you are wearing a hat, but elicits gasps when you remove your hat and the folks around you see that you are growing taller than your hair. Then there are ever shorter cuts, again relying on the “monk circle” to carry the freight for you. I will never forget a dear friend in the office, standing in the coffee line ahead of me on a Monday morning, turning to face me and gasping at my mall procured cut, done out of frustration, and asking me if I had cut my hair myself. I knew then the time was near. Finally, the services of a barber were really no longer necessary…….a horrible time in the life of those of us who welcome the barbershop banter, sound of clippers and the smell of talcum powder on the brush used to wisk the clippings from your neck. You reach for the handheld mirror, gather your courage and look squarely in the big mirror at the vast expanses of skin that used to be covered in hair. Sharon had been pressed into service to keep my neck clean, a exercise in futility, usually executed on the back deck. One beautiful spring morning, she squared up, walked in front of me and suggested sympathetically, “it is time……you are out of usable hair.”
The advantages of shaving your head are many. It is neat. You no longer waste time in front of a mirror worried about the part line or mussed hair that accompanies the constant on and off activity associated with wearing a hat professionally. When queried about hair color on license renewals, it is fun to respond “transparent”. You are in great company with the likes of Cal Ripken, Vin Diesel, Charles Barkley, Shaq and Albert Pujols. You discover how resilient the scalp is. It doesn’t cut as easily as you might think, although it will bleed you out if you do nick it. I must acknowledge there is far more maintenance than one would think, the razor is applied every other day lest you look like you are developing a form of mange.
If you are not hair challenged, good for you. Being ordinary can be a blessing. For me, I prefer the style and flair of Dennis Franz or the Blue Man Group. I know that the 70’s are never coming back…….
……..and neither is my hair!