A bald man at the hairdresser’s…

I AM sprouting wings so it is time to walk around the corner. Six weeks it usually takes, and there they are. Leave it too long and I end up with mad-professor hair.

It is cold outside and cold on top of my head. Time for the usual: short back and sides, and don’t worry yourself too much about the top.

Two minutes or so and I am inside the small hairdressers, which is warm and my glasses steam up. As I await my turn, I remember a visit here not long ago when a boy was sitting with his father. The lad saw me walk in and turned to frown at his father. He didn’t say: “Why does a bald man need to come in here?” But the thought was written across his young forehead.

This reminded me of the time that our middle one when young stared at an obese man in Tesco’s and said: “Daddy, why is that man so…?” I managed to steer him away just before he said “fat”.

The boy and his father aren’t in here today and no one raises that ungentle topic. But the mental dregs stir and I recall wondering when young why my bald uncle was worrying about needing to wash his hair. And then time played its trick and here I am, a bald man at the hairdresser’s.

“Are you Adam?” one of the hairdressers asks. I am not but perhaps wish that I was. Adam turns out to have a thick quiff of black hair.

My turn comes and the young man who ‘cuts’ my hair sits me down in the chair. Next to me a woman is having one of those mysterious things done: a perm or a dye job or something else beyond the wit of man. Or this man. I opt for an all-over number two head-shave. I don’t suggest copying the hairdresser’s own quiff, which today has a blueish tinge.

I take off my glasses and put them on the shelf. And there it is: my hairdresser’s face. Not the face of my hairdresser, which is there also, but the face we wear in the hairdresser’s mirror. It occurs to me that it would have been good to photograph that face down the years, running from afro-teen head days, through thinning thirties – when for a while I kept my hair long and thick at the back, mullet-style – up to now. A whizz through time as captured by the hairdresser’s mirror.

That’s the thing about hair. You still think it’s there when it’s not. The other day a cruel security camera in the supermarket presented me with a perfect view of the top of my head. Or an imperfect view. I had so much hair when young and now I don’t. This hardly counts as a tragedy, or not to anyone else. But that hair is still there somewhere, like a lost limb or something.

The hairdresser chats pleasantly as he buzzes over the contours of my skull. He takes a surprising degree of care tending to my sparse pastures. In a few short minutes, I am neat and tidy again, and the wings have gone.

Those with a full patch do not realise just how often a bald man needs the attentions of a hairdresser. More often than in the past, as that mad professor doesn’t hang around. I could buy clippers but enjoy the experience for some reason.

It is still freezing outside as I dash for home. And now my whole head is cold, but never mind.

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