To complete the trilogy, I turn my attention to my defining attribute; Baldness. A much loved topic of Blackframes reader's, and one that I am well qualified to expand upon. People like to to tell me that I have gone bald quite early, however I look at it differently. I feel my hair has done really well for itself and was able to retire early.
Growing up, Children often know that one day an inheritance awaits them. This informs their character as they anticipate the day when that fortune, family business, talent, vintage car, property or throne will be theirs. My character was injected with fear, stress and an acute need to make the most of the time I had, as I was due to inherit my family hairline...or lack of it. Here is the Geneology of Baldness in my DNA. Dad - Bald at 28. Papa- Bald at 22. Uncle Ross- Bald at 24. I made it to 24.
It was a sweet 24 years we had together. Good times! I often look back on old photographs and the memories flood back. There was that time just into Primary School, when I discovered hair gel. It was the 80's and this stuff wasn't carefully balanced, it was pure hair glue mixed with a light paint gloss. My young locks looked like a wet, electrocuted echidna. Then in high school, it went to another level. The natural waves of puberty crashed upon my scalp, causing a hormonal impact that took my previously straight follicles into thick dark brown waves. I fought it hard in bad-taste, punishing myself through side parts and bowl cuts which helped to highlight my mild acne...even my old friend Gel and his Euro cousin Styling Mousse couldn't help during this period. It seemed to hit rock bottom sometime around Year 8 with the Undercut. The undercut was among the worst things the 90's produced alongside Riverdance and bum-bags/fanny packs.
I clipped it back to a classic short back and sides around 15, and enjoyed 4 golden years. We would flirt with a newly released assistant called wax, which was a modern and tame version of Ol' Gelly. The barber treated my head to cut after cut of excellence. My hair was alluring and proud like a tini-peacock upon my head. It lured ladies like a lighthouse of locks, with many pairs of hands coming to ground upon its shores. These were the Samson Days for me. From my hair I drew strength and inspiration and did great things! I kissed my first girl, won games of football drenched in sweat, fronted a garage band and headed overseas. Then when I was 19 it all came to a sudden halt. My hair and I didn't click the way we once did. To the casual observer it all seemed the same. Maybe longer but more mature and contemporary. What they didn't see was that it was all coming apart at the edges. My hair was thinning and so was the facade.
I went and saw the doctor. He told me there wasn't much I could do. There is a drug, called Rogaine (its like Re-gain...get it? Pharmaceutical puns are just the best!), which is used by middle age, middle class types and actors and sportspeople. It works to slow the balding process if started early enough, but also has potential heart related side effects. So I resigned myself to the inevitable, and enjoyed the last moments with my hair.
I created a hair bucket list. First off was to dye it peroxide blonde. Then I died it black to cover the regrowth. This was also around the time I started Uni and Emo was getting big. I tried to move with the times and grow out my bangs...but it didnt quite work. I ended up with thin long bits, and a thicker back patch...kind of like a wavy, upward mullet. During this time as a student, visits to the hairdresser were both embarrasing and costly, so I started cutting my own hair like a crazed hermit. I was also using a product that was big at the time with the young bucks called clay, and kind of putty, and I used it to fill the gaps by pasting strands over the blank bits. Still, not many casual observers would pick the grunge mess on my head for the thin lie it was.
At about 22 it came to a head (pun not intended). I was due to appear on a national breakfast program live, for a Comedy Festival show I was promoting. I needed a TV ready head. So I bravely indicated to the stylist what needed to be done, and she shaved it off. It didn't look bad at all- just sleek. I got away with it! No one still suspected my impending baldness. Filled with a new confidence this could go longer, I grew it back into the most current style- the Beckham Fauxhawk. It looked great...for a month. Then my genes decided to graduate, around the time I did, and my hair follicles moved out and got a real job.
I held onto a version of the fauxhawk until the last days. I believed it was the best choice for the following reasons; it was contemporary, was a nod to punk culture and it acted like a modern comb-over for my front bits. My goal at this stage was to be married with hair, before I gave into the inevitable shave for a cure...a cure for my receding hairline. I got there. I limped across the line for my wedding day, at 24 years old, before shaving it on the honeymoon. Looking back, knowing what I know now about the power of the shaved head, I wish I had have gone the shave before the big day. I look, like most of the men in my family did in their wedding photos, silly. We were all hiding something, and you can tell by our faces that we didn't quite think we were getting away with it.
Today at nearly 30 years old, I am OK with my baldness. I don't think, given the choice, I'd go back. I admit I often browse the hair products section at the Supermarket and fantasize about the possibilities of the new hair lubes and pastes. But those days are gone. I now love the routine of taken my Salon grade Wahl clippers to my head every fortnight and giving the scalp a good going over with a #1. Some people talk about the great feeling of the wind going though their hair, but I swear you haven't lived until you've felt a chilly blast over your freshly shaved scalp.