Hairy and the Recedersons

A few days ago, I sat down for a haircut on a barstool in my kitchen. My lovely sister has been cutting my hair recently as economic and practical conditions forced me to leave Amir, the gay Iranian at the Fantastic Sam’s, to ambiguously massage someone else’s scalp. And now, my haircut has been reduced to running an electric trimmer across my head, alternating between the #6, #3, and #1 attachments. As each passing stroke of the clippers separated me from another clump of my fading youth, I remembered my glory days at the barber.

My mother would drag me to the basement of our neighbor and convenient hairstylist, Colette. After much convincing, I hopped up on the barber stool, complete with phone book, and endured the procedure. Every time that I went for this haircut, I heard Colette inform my mother that I had “thick and luscious” hair. Being cursed with a sound grasp of vocabulary at even such a young age, I found it odd to compare my hair to edible foodstuff. But, I did not know much about these things, and so I sat back and tried to determine whether I was receiving a compliment, or an insult. Turns out, it was more of a curse.

I first realized my inevitable future of male pattern baldness sometime during my sophomore year of college. The loveable U shape of scalp skin that would appear around my thinning tuft of hair in the middle of my head began to widen little by little. I went out with a small group of friends (actually some friends of a friend since I didn’t have any friends) to see a brazenly edited version of Pretty Woman brought in accordance with the PG rated and religiously shackled campus life. Before the movie rolled across the screen of the musty campus theater, one of these people, who I had met for the first time, asked me if my grandfather was bald. Apparently, as a Biology major, she was doing intensive research on baldness and genetics. At least that was what she was doing until she found someone to make her a wife and save her from the need of having an education. From that point on I gained a complex, occasionally touching my hairline to see how far back it had squirmed away from its natural position, and was convinced I would lose it all.

My life went on, as it generally does, and several different stress factors were added to it. Each new load of responsibility placed squarely upon my shoulders seemed to drag my hairline back further and further towards them. In fact, one might even be able to construct a graph with the amount of hair left clinging to my head as a Y-axis and the stress and crushing responsibility experienced through life as the X. Something like this, only with photographic evidence:

I knew that the inevitability of my flawed genetic makeup was working hard against me; having a father who resembled Mr. Clean minus the earring and with a Grecian-crown tuft of hair wrapping around his head, as well as a maternal and paternal lineage of balding English coal-miners. I refused to believe in my ultimate fate until one day, I noticed the back of my head from a conspicuously placed security camera at a grocery store. With that rear aerial view, which revealed my bald spot like a satellite image of a North Korean missile launching site, I resigned to my doom.

I have often said that my body is an anomaly, and not the kind that is intriguing in an attractive sort of way, but rather one that must be studied by science and chronicled to help encourage prevention for future generations. One of Newton’s laws of physics, which I do not currently have the strength or will to research, states that matter is constant and conserved. When something is displaced, that same thing merely shows up in greater number elsewhere. Maybe it was Epicurus. Well, the law definitely applies to the matter of my hair being displaced from the top of my head. I will pause for a moment to let the women and faint of heart decide whether to continue reading.

If I were to remove my shirt, chances are you would not be able to differentiate my body from that of a Gabonese ape. It is true. For every hair of my head lost to some emotional stress, a new one seemed to sprout and emerge from somewhere along my torso. Front, back, sides, crevices; the growth pattern is rather non-discriminatory. In the winter, it serves as a built-in blanket to keep me, and any small animals I might be laying next to, warm through the night. I do not deign to go swimming in a public pool as I would be sure to frighten young children. I once had an angry, pitchfork-toting mob show up at my front door to rid me from the village. I am hideous.

It was sometime shortly before my wife and I would say our vows to each other that I realized she would soon be privy to my ursine characteristics come our wedding night. I forewarned her of the fact, to which she lovingly responded that she didn’t care, though I saw the fright in her eyes. A few weeks into our marriage, my wife said that if it bothered me so much, she would help me take it off, all the while asserting her neutrality in the matter. We first attempted use of the Australian hair-remover Nads, so named because the pain resulting from its use can best be compared to a horsewhip repeatedly scourging its namesake. A few waxed strips on the shoulders, and I was done, not willing to let my new bride see me openly weep. So, instead, I opted for the only other solution I had at the time. I sat stark naked, like an ashamed koala, in a shallow bathtub while my wife made use of an entire package of disposable razors to clear the brush between my 6th and 7th vertebrae.

The “old wives” knew what they were talking about when they said that it would just grow back thicker the second time around. They must have spent some time at the shallow bathtub as well. And so today, I bear the curse of a roving, balding, half man/half alpaca like creature. Occasionally, I watch television or go to a movie and I wonder why I don’t see any movie stars with my condition. There is Pierce Brosnon, but he still has head hair, a smooth back with distinguishable shoulder blades, and his chest hair is more like human Astroturf. I sometimes find myself looking at Richard Gere, a man more than twice my age, yet with a head of hair like a graying Chia. If it weren’t for my disfigurement, I bet I could have been acting opposite Julia Roberts whose character, despite her career, (the details of which I am not entirely sure of) decides to pretend to be my girlfriend. If not me, at least Ed Asner could fill the role. Thick and luscious indeed.

Oh, and, when you get a chance, check out the head of hair on Epicurus. That was one hairy hedonist.


Nathan Mulford said...

All that I can say is that was brutally honest.

Cameron said...

I am nothing if not truthful, Nathan. Some might say to a fault.

Kara Thacker said...

I feel slightly awful for how loud I was laughing...even my coworkers asked what I was reading.

mh said...

I never really minded hairiness, or lack thereof, so we can still be friends! I too had a few chuckles slip out while reading!

Rob & Michelle Eberly Family said...

I'll be honest . . .I was downright chortelling over this story. I have only had a small glimpse of the hairiness as being your "hairdresser," so I can attest to the truthfulness of this article. You should have thrown in the comment made last week how she thought your hair was coming in thicker since laying off the soda. : )

Brian R said...

As a fellow traveler on the long, dusty road to a chrome dome and back that would do any 70's shag rug proud, I have little to offer in the form of encouragement, except the words from an old story about King Solomon - "This too shall pass"