The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

how I learned to stop worrying and learn to love going bald.(part 2)

I had longhaired friends that would try to commiserate by pushing back their flowing locks to point out a small trangle where hair might have been at one time. “ See, I’m going bald too!” “yeah, whatever”, I’d sniff halfjokingly, “I’m in the shit, man, I AM bald!” If they where going bald, it was going to be ever rougher on them than it was ever could have with me. My relationship with my hair ended the way a lot of unheathy ones do. I hated it and it hated me, so it left. The glue of familiarty was not enough to keep to keep us together. For them it would be like a good marrage ending. You think you’ll be happy and together forever, but fate has other plans.

The last time I grew my hair long, I grew it it’s longest. never letting the back and sides break the quarter inch mark, my hair that would steal my virility had it’s last good run. I could pull my hair over my eyes and halfway down my throat. That doesn’t sound like much, But it was enough to cause concern in my Mother. “It’s just so hard to keep neat that long.” She should have realized that I was only going to think that she was trying to bring me down. But I would realize soon enough how right she was.

I saw a video tape of my old band at one of our best shows, at an outdoor festival that had happened a few weeks before. My rockstar headbobs caused my hair to fuse into sweaty waves, rolling in one by one. And as one crashed into the side of my face, the part left in my scalpas wide as my thumb. Parting like the rea sea, with ample room for Moses and a few Israelites. I was horrified.

I knew my options we’re dwindling. I lived close to a college, so hats were very common, but I couldn’t bring myself to wear one for too long. Heaven forbid that I may fool a young woman with an tonsorial covering only to cause a “crying game” like surprise when the hat would eventually come off. If I was talking to woman and things were going even remotely well, I would make sure to take off my hat. Better for her to be disappointed sooner that screaming into the night later. Once at a cap dophing mid toga party my pate inspired a surprised “AAAAHHHHH” from a young lady. She might have said that much softer than I remember, but to the male ego, volume is a formality. Self doubt elevated it’s memory to sound downright deafening. I was even less appealing than I thought I was. At age 24 the “horseshoe”,as I called my hair, made me look like the oldest guy no matter where I was.

My last attempt to fight the inevitable came in the form of hair layering. I grew the remaining hair on the top of my head a little longer as I buzzer the back and sides with clippers. The shortness mixed with the sparseness gave the “illusion” of hair uniformity. Or so I thought. My inability to see the back of my head made me unaware that the ravages of Male pattern baldness had extended past the top of my head to the back of my scalp. So when I buzzed the back of my head it made me look bald from the back of my crown to the southernmost scarceness. It gave me a half moon bald spot that I didn’t know existed until I saw the pictures of a friends wedding and remarked, “who is that guy with the smiley face on the back of his head?” only to quickly realize that it was me. I asked a friend why he never told me he said,” I thought you wanted to look like that”.

That was it for me, it all had to go. It helped my that one of my best friends had gone bald about the same time and was going through a lot of the same of the same self doubts. I’d shave my head, but not all the time. I hadn’t really gotten very good enough to do it regularly. I’d gotten over enough of the shock of going bald to realize that my luck with women had greatly approved the more comfortable with the baldness I had become. It was really me being comfortable with myself, as lame as that sounds. I don’t know much about women but I do know that most of them don’t like the smell of despiration, and the ones that do, you want to stay away from. I must have been lousy with it since I was a teenager and I just didn’t have to energy to keep that up forever. Bald or not that was the real key.Whitney was right! Learning to love yourself truly is the greatest love of all! It didn’t hurt that I had total strangers paying me un solicited compliments on my appearance. “You look really good bald” “shucks, ma’am, Thanks.”

My Dad always told me that I could have gone to the”dark side” of coping with baldness. Hiding behind the fingerlike tendrils of a “combover” or investing in some god forsaken hair transplants. People always describe hair plugs as looking like “barbie hair”, but to me it resembles Vietnamese rice patties. Tiny, hopeful sprouts, jammed methodically into the stillness of bare scalp. Neither of these methods seems to work piticularly well, and the men that resort to these tactics seem to be immune to evidence to the contrary, from the snickering of co workers to the jokes of countless stand up comedians. Men who wear “speedo” bathing suits suffer from a similar immunity. “They’re not talking about me!” Yes, in fact, they are.

Now I shave my head about every other day or so with a 3 blade vibrating razor (yes, it does make a difference). I do it in the shower without the benifet of a mirror, although i need one to touch up, apres shower. I do it at night, because I’m a little to blurry in the morning to touch up and I go to work with a stubble stripe on my head. Which is hard to pull off, self confidence or not. Or sometimes I don't shave, no real reason. The point is that I am not my hair and my hair isn't me.

Now the only evidence I have of my unruly past are my increacing erratic eye brows. for the past few years I’ve had to deal with a COWLICK in my eyebrow. It’s made up of one hair, one thick, dark hair, pointing shoe-ward. I try to pluck it, but it’s growth goes unchecked once and a while. It can be distracting enough for people that on more than one occasion people I’ve been talking to have attempted a mid-conversation extraction.
“I’m sorry, it was driving me crazy.”
I know these are the first shots in the next war I have with my hair, the front:eyebrows. The war with my hair has had victories for both sides, with me winning my ears, face, nose and head with hair claiming most of the rest of my body. I will not allow my ‘brows the take the extra furry catepillar look of a tenured physics professor.

I often see parents admonish their kids when they state the obvious ,”mommy, that man has no hair.” But there is no reason to correct them,I do actually take a buzzing razor to my head to look this way. They’re just telling me that I succeeded.

My friend Shawn is the only person outside of my family to have known me with hair. When I show people pictures or home videos of when I wore younger man’s hair, I always get the same reaction. “I think you look better now.”, I hear. I think so too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Chicks dig the bald man!