A couple of weeks back I went to the loo in the swimming baths.
Not in the pool, obviously, but in the loos at the entrance. Near the coffee shops.
It’s okay, I have been to the loo since, lest you think this is a post about not being able to pee for weeks. I don’t have a problem urinating. I don’t suffer from Shy Bladder Syndrome. When urinating in company, when people are on either side of me while I’m pointing Percy at the porcelain, if there is any sudden shyness in the pissing then I simply hold my head up high and say, out loud, “I AM A MAN, AND I CAN PISS LIKE ANY OTHER MAN!”
Works for me. Unsettling for those around me, but I digress.
Washing my hands post-pee on this occasion a couple of weeks back, I looked in the mirror and saw a man behind me. First thing I thought was ‘He’s got the same jacket as me.’
Always fashion. Gok taught me that.
Then I was blinded by something shiny.
Wow, I thought. This guy needs to sort shit out! BALDY! BALDY BALDY BALDYMAN! Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt baby, his bald patch is MASSIVE. He should get it shaved off as the sun’s shining off his baldy baldy baldyness! There’s two suns in here! It’s like being on Tattooine!
I laughed to myself, because I thought the Star Wars reference was funny. And called him a complete fucktard in my head. He had loads of hair but this MAHOOSIVE bald patch at the back was visible for all to see and could be used as a landing spot. I’m surprised Magpies don’t land on his head and start pecking!
I turned to leave the gentleman’s facility giggling to myself then… I went cold. I saw a full length mirror behind me. I did not see a man in the same jacket as me.
I was alone.
The man I could see in the same jacket as me WAS me. While washing my hands I was simply looking at a reflection of the behind of The Me in another mirror
I looked again. This time not checking out my own peachy bottom, but fixated on my bald patch at the crown of my head.
I stood shocked and dry mouthed.
Was I really THAT balding?
Using my own eyes and vision as a measure, then yes. I was.
No wonder they call it a crown I thought. Fuck me it’s SHINY.
It was a sobering and frightening moment.
I’m 41 and I’ve been deluding myself for years that my baldingness was a minor thing and hadn’t grown.
The first time I ever saw my scalp in this way was while looking at photos of my wedding day. Lots of people smiling, a laughing couple cowering as confetti is thrown by friends and loved ones.
My ex-wife’s smile, like a sun shining, and a baldy headed bloke in a suit next to her.
I remember saying as we looked at our wedding photos back in 2004
‘FUCK MY FUCK! Am I really that bald?’
‘Yep.’ She laughed. Probably at the stupidness of the question. ‘Did you not know?’
‘Well it’s not often I see the back of myself! I’m not vain enough to put a mirror above my head while looking in a mirror and rearrange it so I can see my head! I’m a busy man. I’ve got shit to do.’
I have never done the head, mirror thing. I was a busy man.
I remember my mum once took her boy cat to the vet, in the middle of the night, because she thought it was having a stroke. The vet said the hideous noises it was making was not because the cat was having a stroke, it was because he was a she, and she was on heat.
The cat, not my mum. That’s a terrifying prospect.
I told a friend and they asked ‘How could you not know this boy cat wasn’t a girl?’
I don’t often spend time looking at cat’s genitalia I replied. I’m a busy man. I’ve got shit to do.
Same goes with mirrors, hair and keeping up with all that.
‘How could you not know you’re going bald?’ my ex-wife said at the time. ‘What about when you get what’s left of your hair cut?’
‘No! I don’t pay attention. ‘
‘But how can you miss it?’
Ten years on, after seeing the reflection of my reflection and realising it had grown so much I couldn’t recognise myself in the mirror, I realised I couldn’t miss it, and anyone who saw me knew of its existence. In fact, it’s practically visible from space.
My uncle was going bald, and for years had a combover held down firmly with hairspray. Using the bathroom after he went to work one ran the risk of inhaling an entire can of Silvikrin.
He was a scaffolder and was used to being up high, so his combover had to be held firm in high winds. You know Bobby Charlton and Arthur Scargill? When their combover got blown out-of-place they quickly moved their hand to sweep the long strands over to cover their head? There was no danger of my uncle ever doing this. He used so much hairspray this thing never moved.
One day he decided he’d get his hair shaved off and embrace the bald. He looked better for it.
“Nice one Rog. Looks good” I said.
“Everyone’s saying that. I must’ve looked fucking stupid before.”
My aunt said the day he got his hair shaved short she got a letter from Friends of the Earth on behalf of the ozone layer saying thanks.
After seeing my reflection a couple of weeks back, I’ve had a period of reflection. I think it’s time to do a Roger, so to speak, and shave my hair off.
And remember that baldness is a sign of virility, awesomeness and you can’t stop progress.
Plus, it’ll be a cheap job as there ain’t much left. *Weeps for the lost hairs of yesteryear*
Thanks for reading.