So in the latter half of my 20s I had a red flattop. This was starkly different from the way I had worn my hair in my teens, but it was the mid 1990s and times were different. No longer did I have the fluff and go hair that could rival of Flock of Seagulls, but rather I had something that would make a military commander proud, if the likes of me were allowed in the military at the time. Because of the crispness of my haircut I tended to get it cut once a week and this was something I enjoyed. I had a couple of different barbers that I went to depending on which office I was working at when I felt my hair had gotten too shaggy. At some of the shops I would also get my mustache trimmed and if I had time, I’d get a shave as well. This was when there were still old-school barbershops with older barbers who were scary but really weren’t once you got to know them.
I remember I was at the shop on the former Air Force base when the barber indicated that perhaps a flattop wouldn’t be viable for much longer and would I rather buzz my hair down instead. The stark reality set in, I was going bald at age 28 or so. This was kind of weird to me because I had heard horror stories of men finding clumps of hair on the pillow and in the shower drain and the like but I was not finding this to be the case. Of course it was because my hair was so short to begin with, there wasn’t much to find on the pillow.
My husband and I were in our first apartment together when I decided to stop buzzing my hair (or getting it buzzed) and started shaving my head. Shaving my head betrayed my aging self and was already starting to become popular at the time. It was not as common as it is today but it was not unheard of. Plus, Gillette had recently leashed the “Mach 3” onto the masses and this made it easy to do.
I regularly shaved my head for over 20 years before I decided I was getting sick of it. I’m not able to “change up” my hairstyle in anyway. I either have hair here and there or I don’t. But I’m now in my early 50s and I’m not trying to hide the fact that I’m a naturally bald guy anymore. I’m not angry or upset about being bald, though all of my male cousins are blessed with full heads of hair. It is what it is and I’m almost at the point where I’ve been a bald guy for longer than I haven’t been a bald guy.
I’m just sick of shaving my head every morning.
So now I have a very short buzz cut around the fringe like every other bald guy in dad jeans in his mid 50s. I do miss going to the barbershop and hanging with the guys, though. Even when I shaved my head on a regular basis I would occasionally go to a shop for a head or face shave just because I could. Some men find it weird to have another person shave their face but I find it relaxing and I’ve never had a bad shave from anyone, young or old. The most startling experience was from a heavy Russian woman in Hells’ Kitchen in New York, but it was still awesome and she was friendly in a gruff, vodka laden way. The only disappointing shaves I’ve had from a barber have been in a past couple of years where the younger barber opts to skip shaving cream and just wipes some sort of thin, clear goo on my face and then uses a very cheap disposable razor to do the deed. That can be a less-than-relaxing experience.
The key is to find some of the old guys that are still working.
I’m curious to see how many barbershops and related salons close down permanently in the coming months because they were unable to survive the mandatory shut downs during this pandemic. Will I want a man or woman in such close quarters to me again as to allow them to drag a razor across my face? I’m not sure.
One thing I do know though, when this whole pandemic thing is merely a memory, I’ll still be a bald guy, whether with some bits on the back and sides or with a clean shaven cue bald head.
And I’m perfectly OK with that.