Yesterday I had my haircut. Dispiriting isn’t the word. Not that any blame for this should be inferred as being the fault of my hairdresser, the frankly wonderful Julie, who is actually my support worker, but handily for me has some hairdressing skills.
No. In fact the blame doesn’t lay with anyone at all, but instead with one of life’s greatest misfortunes, one that is as cruel as it is inevitable. Ageing, getting older with every passing second. The fact that we can do nothing whatsoever to alter that fact only adds to the tragedy. Compounding this is another fact, the folly of youth, which never once gives us cause to consider that we may not always be young. One of the ironies of youth is that even as one is enjoying it, it is being used up, and that that we are too busy using it up to notice it’s passing.
Which is where hair comes in. When I was young there were many follicle follies in my youth. The perm, the wedge, the highlights, to name but three. Granted nothing was bad as the skinheads my mum made told the barber to give us when we were both at primary school, just weeks before there was a spate of tabloid articles denouncing skinheads as the most dangerous of public menaces until the next one. But whatever, I was safe in the knowledge that my hair would grow back, just as thick and plentiful as it always had. Sure, it’d take time, but being young, time wasn’t something I ever thought about. My hair would grow back, the seasons would change, and the sun would set in the west. All was good with the world.
Until, that is, things started to change. Imperceptibly so to begin with, as changes often do, so for a while I didn’t notice that changes were afoot.Then I began to notice what was falling into the cape the hairdresser would wrap me in. Or to be exact what wasn’t falling into the cape. There would always be slightly less and what there was, wasn’t as thick as it was. And it was starting to change colour. Again, imperceptibly at first, but unmistakeable once I began to look for it, bits of grey here and there, but ‘speckled’ is a euphemism for ‘starting to to go grey, and once it starts it doesn’t stop.
Losing one’s hair is one of natures the practical joke that awaits all of us, one that is as as inescapable as it as so blindingly obvious such that no-one ever mentions it. Well, certainly not when you’re young anyway. In the same way that no male relative ever took me to one side and said, “Look, you may not believe this, but one day your testicles will drop. They may like two apples wrapped up tightly in a bag now, but one day the’ll look like the pendulums on a grandfather clock. It will happen and there’s nothing you can do about it.” It’s almost as if there’s a conspiracy of silence, an on-going and mean one, whereby no-one ever tells the young that this will happen, a sort of ‘well it happened to me and no-one ever told me about it, so why should I tell you?’ mindset. I confess to being not only amazed and appalled by this sudden turn of events, but also fascinated, so much so that I invite my house-mate to bear witness to this. “They’ve collapsed, look at them!”, I exclaim, just as intrigued by this as I am by her frankly insulting lack of disinterest. I hasten to add we were once more than house-mates a long time ago, almost as long as my elastic gonads are.
And if it’s happening to men, it follows that it must be happening to women. But everyone else is well, other people. I’m me and this is happening to me! Me!
So I wonder what other japes no-one has told me about, what other ‘delights’ getting older has in store for me?
Perhaps my pubic hair will turn grey. Wouldn’t surprise me, way things are going.