Hair! Or lack of it. It’s got a lot to answer for. One person’s idea of a joke can quickly turn into an Oscar winning slapping offence. The Nearly-Beloved, who himself is follicly-challenged, generally pre-empts comments on his appearance by announcing, ‘I’ve got wavy hair… It waved goodbye.’ In fact, it vanished from his scalp whilst he was still a youngster, in the days when balding pates were associated with middle-aged darts players, rather than handsome X-men. So, he took the ribbing with good-humour, was forced to grow a thick skin and discovered that inner confidence is even more attractive than a shiny mane.
Our elder son thought he’d escaped this hair loss heritage. In his teens, too lazy to visit the barber’s, he sported a massive ‘Wafro’. Marge Simpson would’ve been proud of it. He got invited to a lot of parties since his parlour trick was hiding pencils and miscellaneous objects inside his giant birds’ nest. But then common sense, age and genetics kicked in. Thankfully, he’d mastered his father’s self-assurance, so no need for expensive toupees or footballer’s hair transplants. And luckily, close-shaven heads are now in fashion.
Grunting Teen, however, is not convinced. As the one remaining male in the family with hair, he’s decided to embrace the shaggy dog look. Unfortunately, his beauty routine is less high fashion model and more grunge down and out. A comb or brush have never touched his barnet, so his tresses are of the tangled variety. Only time will tell whether he too has the ‘wavy’ gene.
And it’s not only men who have issues. Darling Daughter, whose crowning glory glistened and gleamed throughout her pregnancy, now finds her hair falling out in clumps and its lusciousness rapidly dulling. She at least though does have a reward for this fall from heady glory. Creating a brand-new human being is surely worth a tumble down the charts in the hairdresser’s style book?
But neither has Little Angel remained unscathed. Born with an impressive head of hair, sadly, several months of lying on her back have worn patches where curls used to be. She’s currently sporting a monk’s tonsure, which society no longer deems acceptable. Hence the sharp rise in the accessory market, with bows and baby scarves being this season’s must-haves.
I, on the other hand, have the opposite problem. For years I cultivated a short hair-style that was quick to wash, easy to manage and required no styling skills. Then lockdown happened and my locks grew down, until one day I realised I now had shoulder length-hair. Oh, the novelty of swishing and flicking. And the realisation that I actually had the ‘wavy’ type, with the added benefit of it being still attached to my head.
It’s been a subject of many comments, the vast majority favourable. I’ve even gone unrecognised by some, more used to my GI Jane look. But every silver lining has a cloud. It now takes forever to blow-dry my coiffure. Grips, slides and bobbles have become part of my vocabulary. What’s more, the Nearly-Beloved has bequeathed me the task of unclogging the shower. He hands me some tweezers and the baking soda. ‘Just keep my wife’s hair out of your drain,’ he jokes. And for a moment I feel like slapping him…