Connacht Tribune - Opinion Piece
Hair on your head today – in your ears tomorrowJune 6, 2012 - 12:41pm
Did you ever wonder just how old our eyebrows were when they decided it was time to shed their perfectly groomed past and grow out like a wild briar at a ninety degree angle to our heads?
Was it the realisation that the hair on the top of our heads was disappearing faster than the icecap – and that the only chance it had of survival was to make a run for it in a new direction? Or did word reach the brows that the ears were suddenly in the game, growing hair like a roadside bush?
You know the sands of time are weighted against you when the barber takes as much care trimming your ears, nose and eyebrows as he does with the area that once was commonly known as your fringe.
And yet so many men refuse to see baldness as the next step along the road – they comb from the back to the front or (a la Bobby Charlton) from way down one side over the top to the other.
That’s all very fine until the wind catches you and you have a sort of poor man’s take on Phil Oakey, the guy from the Human League who deliberately grew his barnet long on one side and short on the other. It isn’t quite as cutting edge when it looks like loose straw in a storm.
Once upon a time, you were told by the teacher to get your hair out of your eyes – now it’s your out-of-control eyebrows that are interfering with what’s left of your ever-fading vision.
You could trim them yourself, of course, but then again you could end up looking like Alan Hanson who appears to have had his tattooed on so that he looks permanently amazed at the smallest of things on Match of the Day.
The problem is that – even if you wanted to take control of your ear, nose and eyebrow hair into your own hands – those trimming devices so commonplace in chemists are about as effective as a spoon.
There’s a bigger danger of tearing the skin from your ears from these trimmers than there is of actually clearing out the gathering fluff. It’s like cutting a high lawn with a stick.
Some Turkish barbers have a way of burning out the ear hair without singeing your ears – although they’d be well advised to tell you what they’re doing before the start because the first time it happened to me, I though the guy had lost the plot and was trying to set fire to my head to save him wasting time on a haircut.
Polite barbers will gently ask you if you’d like to have your eyebrows tended to after the three minutes it took to cut your hair – and you make some joke about it being the only growth area you have left.
Then when they offer to show you the end result of the haircut, you politely decline because you know that the only thing you’ll see in the mirror is your bald spot growing ever more barren around the back.
I’ve found that the biggest problem with increasing baldness is the sun in summer – not that we have much to worry about here on that front – but now when we’re protecting ourselves against carcinogenic rays, we have to put a big blob on the top of the crown. And that invariably leaves you looking like some crack-shot seagull had dumped a huge one right on the top of your head.
More confident men embrace their baldness by shaving off the bits that are left – and indeed many of them look better than ever without a fringe – but most of us agree with Samson; a man without his hair is in danger of losing his strength.
And yet, there are few more ridiculous sights that a bald man with a pony tail – it’s like a shedding dog with some form of mange, and this extension at the back only draws further attention to the absence of any new growth at the front.
But still we don’t want to see the tide go out for good and so we camouflage the crisis, coming up with imaginative ways of trying to hold back time – and really we’d be better off just going out and investing in a big hat.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.