By Alan Burkhart
For the last several years I’ve been despairing over what to do about my hair. I used to wear it long, but it grew too thin, so I briefly tried wearing it short with a rat tail (remember those?). I quickly decided that this looked ridiculous and clipped it off. Grew it out long again, whacked it off short, back and forth. By the time I hit fifty the top of my head was pretty much a clear landing strip for insects and small birds.
I have several friends who shave their heads and all of them are happy with it. I considered trying it more than once but chickened out each time. Last Saturday night however, I decided to take the plunge. Perhaps I’d become obsessive about it. I spent an hour looking at images of some of my favorite action heroes with shaved heads, along with photos of some of my friends who shave theirs (you know who you are). What the hell, I decided. If I don’t like it, it’ll grow back in a few days.
I went to Wal-Mart and purchased a Norelco electric shaver so I wouldn’t have to lather up my head every day, and headed home to get started. As with most new things, there was a learning process involved in getting it done.
My plan was to use my trusty old beard trimmer with no attachment and just mow it all off (my hair was still thick on the sides). But this was like chopping hay. The trimmer was pulling, catching and bogging down and causing me all manner of grief. So, I resorted to Plan B – after I figured out just what Plan B was going to be.
I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the scissors. Once back in the bathroom I began whacking merrily away. It’s a miracle I didn’t do a Van Gogh on one of my ears. After chopping it short enough for the beard trimmer to deal with it, I returned to my original plan and it worked well. Lastly, I went over my head with the aforementioned Norelco shaver. Smooth as a baby’s butt!
After a quick shower to rid myself of all the stray clippings, I stood before the mirror to admire my handiwork. That’s when I realized that the part of my head that hadn’t been bald for several years hadn’t gotten nearly as much sun as the rest. Now I have a two-tone head. Sort of like a Volkswagen Beetle with a half-vinyl roof. Nothing a little sun won’t fix.
I quizzed a friend for tips regarding proper scalp care, and he informed me that after each shave he applies witch hazel to his head, and that it’s quite soothing. How convenient for me, since I already have Tucks Pads in the medicine cabinet. Oops… You probably didn’t really want to know about my Tucks Pads. Oh well. Too late now.
Everything feels different. Just going to bed that night, the sensation of the cool pillow against the back of my head was noticeable. Baseball caps feel different than before. Rain feels different. For someone who values sameness in my daily routines, this was quite a change.
But I like it. I’d recommend it. Before going to work today I spent some time working in the yard, and when I came inside to shower I was immediately conscious of the fact that I did not have a mop of smelly, sweaty hair. An old fat country boy like me won’t look as cool as Yul or Telly or Bruce, but I’m not out to win any beauty contests (And NO ONE looks cool like Yul Brynner anyway - he was the King of Cool). It feels great, and it doesn’t look half bad. Who knows? Maybe I’ll dig around in the bedroom dresser drawers and see if I still have any of my old ear rings from my hippie days. Then again, maybe not.
See ya’ll on the road.