In Which I Morph From Jolly Old Elf to Fat Nazi, Which Alters My Sleeping Arrangements
For most of my life (until recently) I've had a thick, lustrous head of hair. It's always been jet black, somewhat long, and early on in life pretty shaggy looking. One of my nicknames in high school was Bear, and rightfully so, given my thick black mane and burly weightlifters appearance.
I've sported a short pony-tail for much of my adult life. It isn't a statement, and isn't meant to be an expression of my political, social or religious views -- it's simply an aspect of my character, like my love of reading and my toy collecting. My wife loves the pony-tail, and always has. In fact, she likes long hair on men in general, which is somewhat surprising considering her rather conservative views on many things. Although I am a professional, I'm fortunate enough to work in an area where the length of my hair isn't an issue, so I've never taken any flak about being a "long-hair."
Several years ago I noticed that the ole' hairline was moving back a bit, and things were getting thinner up top. I started having to wear a hat whenever I worked outside for any appreciable length of time or else I risked getting a pretty good sunburn up there. At first I was quite dismayed -- I'd taken that head of hair for granted, and assumed that it would always be thick, like my grandfathers. Alas, it was not to be. The back and sides remained as thick and shiny as usual. I could tell that I would be one of those who goes bald up top, with plenty on the sides and in the back.
What to do? I puzzled over this for a while, and eventually came to a logical conclusion -- since my hair was falling out already, why not get the jump on Mother Nature and beat her to the punch? Namely, why not just take a pair of clippers and trim it right down to the shiny bone? I broached this subject with my wife.
"Don't cut your hair. I like it the way it is now."
"But it's falling out anyway. Why not just take care of things now? I won't shave, I'll just get a buzz-cut."
She studied me for a moment, head cocked to one side. "You'd look like a fat Nazi. Don't do it."
I pondered this for several days. The more I thought about it, the more attractive the idea became. No shampooing, no combing, no hair-spray to keep things in place. No maintenance. Hmmm.
One day I simply decided to take matters into my own hands and do it. My spouse left to go shopping, so I took the clippers I'd bought to trim my beard, and walked into the bathroom. I stood in front of the mirror for a moment looking at myself, took a deep breath, and ran the clippers right through the center of my hair. There, no going back now.
When it was all over, there was hair everywhere -- and I mean everywhere. In the sink, on the bathroom floor, all over my shoulders and chest -- everywhere, but I'd done it. I'd taken the plunge. I stooped down, picked up a palm-full of hair, and sifted it between my fingers, musing. Goodbye, Bear. Hello, Bare. I swept up the floor, cleaned the sink and prepared for my wife's return. I pulled a knit stocking hat over my head and positioned myself in the living room where I could see her as soon as she entered. Aw, she'd be a little upset at first, but she'd come around. No problem.
When Ann came in, lugging a bag of groceries, I stood up. "Hi honey. Guess what?" I dramatically swept the hat off my head. "Ta-da-a-a-a!"
She studied me for a moment. Then, quietly, ever so quietly, she stooped down, set the sack of groceries on the floor, turned and walked down the hall. I head the door to the guest bedroom creak open, and a moment later all was silent.
So that's how it went for the next three months. She slept in the guest bedroom, or on the couch in the living room. I asked her when would she "get over it and move back into the bedroom"
"I'll move back in the bedroom when your hair is an acceptable length."
She studied me for a moment the way you'd study a toad or a road-kill, lips pursed, eyes squinted slightly, then nodded her head at me and said ,"THAT'S not it. I don't like the fat Nazi look." She started goose-stepping around the living room. "Heil Hitler!"
And so it went. I enjoyed the absence of any hair preparations during and after shower-time, and before work. It was convenient and efficient, and if I indeed looked like Santa in the Third Reich, at least I was comfortable with it. At night I tossed and turned, restless all by myself in that huge bed. Sleeping alone doesn't work for me, so of course I capitulated. The hair grew, was pulled back into a pony-tail, and life progressed as usual. I've watch over these past couple of years as the attrition rate of my hair increases. My spouse swears that when I go bald, she'll be fine with it, but in the meantime, I'd better keep the 'do, or get accustomed to sleeping alone again. In order to keep the peace, I'll keep the hair. One day I'll join the Fraternal Order of Bald Guys -- but not yet. The neighbors might get the wrong idea if they see my wife goose-stepping around the house and singing "Heil Hitler". And I hate sleeping alone.