What is it with this going bald thing? Aren't you supposed to get your bald pattern from your mother's father? Until a few years ago, I used to feel good about what was gonna happen with my thick copse of hair. Then it started.
The hair began migrating south, away from my head and toward odd places like this little spot under my left breast and sections on my back I'd like not to discuss.
The problem I have is, no one in my family has this pattern. Not even the mailman. I used to look at my grandfather and feel good about what was going to happen to my head. He had a little receding on the forehead, a little bald spot where it normally forms, and that was it. I always said that if I went bald, I'd never do a comb-over and I'd never do some whacked out hairdo to hide it. I'd go Capt Picard style, cut it close and maybe pick up a British accent so people wouldn't notice the shiny dome as much. I'd look distinguished. Men can get away with that, you know.
But this … this … this bald airstrip that's forming on my head, what's up with this? Then, to make it worse, I have two little tufts still hanging on, grouping together right where the horns would be should my alter-ego emerge. What the? Who made this pattern up?
Thin I can handle. Thinning I can work with. But this cowardly migration to other parts of my body that aren't supposed to have but anything but that cute little hair you can't see … now that's just asking too much of a man. I can't handle it.
You know what scares me the most? I think I'm going to become one of those hairy-rug gorillas you see on the beach that takes off his shirt and suddenly, you can'y stop staring. And not the good staring, the bad staring. You want to look away but you can't, like a gory ten-car pile-up. You squint your face, make a little 'ugh' noise, and maybe even exhibit a gag reflex. Who wants to look at a hairball wearing swim trunks? Ape-men could wear Speedos and still, everyone on the beach would only notice how much hair he had on his back. How it takes him an extra hour to dry in the sun after he's been in the ocean. How when he puts his shirt on it never actually touches his skin.
I can do bald; cut it close or even shave my head completely, maybe invest in a close-knit hat and look tough and burly like a TV cop. But back hair? Foot hair? Long black curly velcro hair that spills out of my shirt at every opening, occasionally even corkscrewing through the threads for an impromptu appearance where it shouldn't be?
I must confess that when I saw this coming on 10 years ago … with wife number 1 … I let her wax my back. Just to prove to her I could do it. Take the pain like a man. Be okay with my sexuality. Have something in common with her. Make her happy.
I'll be honest with you, it hurt. It hurt like hell. I've never done it since.
Every once in a while, I shave my back where my long non-limber arms can reach, leaving this semi-hairy spot in the very middle. But never will I ever do waxing, ever again. Don't get me wrong, we men appreciate what women go through when they wax their legs and bikini line. We really do.
When I waxed my back, it wasn't even bad yet. There were little sections of hair cropping up back there, it wasn't a full-out assault yet. Now, they've called in reinforcements. They've let the troops know there's no one fighting them; it's safe to migrate and come to The Back.
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free …