I’m not usually a vain person.
I’ve been bald for going on 20 years, which, for vain men (I’ll say people since some women lose the hair on their heads), doesn’t really save any time in the mornings getting ready, like the non-bald citizenry would think. We don’t have to blowdry or style with combs, brushes or gels, but keeping a smooth pate requires a lot of mastery with a combination of razors, trimmers and scissors. And it really helps to have a partner or a roommate around to ask the inevitable question at the end of the grooming process: “Did I miss a spot?” It can take 20-30 minutes and a practiced dexterity with a hand mirror to achieve the gorgeous, “natural” bald look so many in society assume we just hop out of bed looking like.
A Norelco 7000 rechargeable waterproof beard trimmer is my main weapon of choice when fighting to maintain a proper pro-basketball-player-level head shine. I assume the pros keep a highly trained follitician on their staff so that the TV stations’ HD cameras don’t set upon a rough patch, just below the ridge of the occiput, alerting all viewers to a grooming faux pas.
But for me, being a simple layman, the chances of public mockery, should I be so unlucky as to leave the house without proper headscaping, are minimal at best and would most likely come from the mouth of Jeff, the douchebag in HR who thinks embarrassing a man who dresses for work before putting his glasses on is actually possible. And the truth is, most errant hairs, nicks, cuts and uncertain bumps, are hidden behind a hat or cap of some sort, as the exposed noggin is a beacon for all manner of sun-related burn, spot or rash. Not to mention the unpublicized truth that our hairless tops tend to resemble bullseye targets for gastrointestinally loose birds.
But it’s bad enough that I don’t get all this assumed added time to my life (OK, I save money on barbers and stylists, I’ll grant you that), now I have to deal with (emotionally, mechanically) the sudden increased hair growth from places that no one in their right mind would ever desire. Ears, nose, eyebrows — those easily viewable facial areas become a veritable hotbed for unwanted follicle stimulation. And you think those nose/ear trimmers that come with grooming packs actually do anything? Ha! The only tool that even marginally trims ear and nose hair is a pair of (Blunt! Must be blunt!) scissors. And even then, it’s worth investing in one of those magnifying mirrors, because chances are, your perfect eyesight has followed your perfect hairdo into the land of the dusty photo album, which you still are unable to pry the dusty pages open without tears and gnashing of teeth (which, by now, are mostly expensive products from the world of dentistry).
And that’s just the orifices. Now try shaving the outside of your ear — where you might stare dumbfounded, wondering how such a pattern of vibrissa could possibly sprout from the earlobe — and not end up holding a wet piece of toilet paper to the ridge for 10 minutes afterward.
But, thankfully, I’m not a vain person, and now see these physical changes of maturity as outwardly directed manifestations of virility, wisdom and masculinity. A reminder not to cling to a stagnant view of self. That no matter what is happening, good or bad, at that very moment, soon enough it will end, and become something else.