at a loss

In a large shopping centre you glance below at a man on an escalator with a similar hair-loss pattern, perhaps a few years further down the line.  Shit, you think, that looks crap.  And you wilt, newly dismayed at your bald predicament.  The man has done nothing ostensibly wrong in his styling but it still just patently looks crap.  Especially from up here.  Clumpy and jagged and misshaped and crap.

You don’t want your hair to look crap.

Your hair is almost certainly going to look crap.  Even more crap than it does at the moment.  (And it does look pretty crap at the moment).  How unfair.  As if you’re not resistible enough to women anyway..

What to do?  Bite the bullet and go with a half blended-in buzz cut effort?  They can look surprisingly ok, but usually above more weathered, tanned heads, perhaps with a fleck of distinguished grey to make it look more interesting.

Or to say hang-it and not care, to carry on as you are and stick with the painful striptease of that ridiculous eggy white crown.  Devoid of any colour, you worry about looking like a cancer patient if you were to shave it.  Is it possible to fake-tan a whole head?  That could get labour-intensive. Plus your ears: not extraordinarily massive or stuck-out but hardly discreet either.  They would be even more pronounced.

You’re not horrendously hung up or you’d have better explored all the medications, shampoos and treatments, or at least googled more than you have.  Perhaps laziness.  It’s not too bad, you tell yourself from time to time. You don’t notice anything from the front – which is what kind people say too, as they struggle against broad smiles.

Catching changing room reflections, seeing photographs – that massive crescent shine in a church at a wedding; or a video – a horrific slab of head whilst playing with your nephew on a zipline.  It’s inexplicably galling.  Being nervously aware of new people noticing but not saying anything when you’re sitting down and they’re standing up, or if they’re following you down steps or a slope.  Even if they say nothing, you know they see it and secretly comment in their head.

It’s been on the cards for a good number of years.  Your Dad was bald from a fairly young age – his lusty Beatles fringe dropping away to almost nothing by the time you started school.  Although they say it skips a generation and your hair was never as lusty thick as his seemed from those pictures.  You envy strangers their hair: middle-aged and older gentlemen on the street, particularly older ones who seem to have never markedly suffered.  And any men at all over your age with a decently covered crown.  In his latest book Julian Barnes mentions how alcoholics don’t lose their hair, something in the alcohol keeps it strong.  An option?

If only you’d receded from the front to the back, rather than back-front.  That looks infinitely preferable.  Much less crap.

You’re bemused by those young footballers who may have a good, full head of hair but choose to shave it.  Having perfectly good hair is clearly better than not having hair.  Lee Clark, Newcastle United’s former combative midfielder of the late 1990s sported a completely bald pate for the entirety of his playing career.  Now a young manager with a remarkably solid head of hair he looks much less of a thug, almost a completely different person.

You’re still scared about doing it, going to a hairdresser and giving the instruction.  You still could easily bottle it again, like you have for years.  It’ll grow back, they say, no big deal really.  But it is.  Of course it is.  It’s shedding youth, another resignation, another defeat, nothing can ever be the same again.  This is what it feels like.  And what if the shape of your head is totally unsuited?  What if you look like a legoman, like journeyman defender Paul Konchesky?

Your eyes stay glued on the top of the man’s crap looking head until he reaches the bottom of the escalators and walks away.


3 Responses to at a loss

  1. Redbookish says:

    Don’t worry! Really! All the men in my family have early male pattern baldness. My brother lost most of his (beautiful, copper, thick) hair by the age of 25. My-more-famous-cousin has no hair. Some women actually like not much hair on a bloke. But don’t try to hide it — that’s pathetic.

    Although, I will admit to a little touch of schadenfreude at reading of a man’s insecurities about his appearance. At least you don’t have too many major industries centred around the exploitation of said insecurities (ie welcome to [middle-aged] Womens’ World).

    • swashbuckled says:

      Oh. I’ll bin this wig then, shall I? As I mentioned I’ll always think having hair is better than not having hair, but thanks for your assurances. Not as many industries / companies, granted, but it’s growing all the time. Aussie cricketer Shane Warne’s one pin-up boy for some scalp-growth firm, and Master Rooney’s also had surgery.

  2. Redbookish says:

    Oh, but the hair replanting surgery looks naff. Don’t do it! Be brave and get a good haircut.

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