James’ bald head is on my mind, which I suppose is appropriate. Since he threw it into the ring, I’ve felt some emollient should be applied without rubbing it in. Does anybody have a silver platter? I feel a dance coming on.

I’ve wakened up thinking about it but can think of nothing to make it better. Women don’t mind. Obviously: they marry bald men and pass on the gene to their boy children inconsiderately. They are not the criterion though I bet they think they should be (on this as on everything to do with men). This is purely a man thing and I’ve done my research into the egregious, eximious trumpeting elephant in the room.

“Still growing your hair,” I said to Nick who looks like a white Maori. “I’m thinking of shaving,” he replied, while continuing to grow it on top. “My uncle’s bald.” He lifted his hair to show me why he was growing it, in response to its receding, so indiscernibly I took his word it was. “What about the body?” I surprised myself by asking. Oh! no concern there, he said ironically; that was well covered, all over. I wanted to see, which would’ve entailed his complete nakedness at Waitrose checkout, “‘for Esau was an hairy man’.” Nick’s criterion for himself is himself alone.

Researching myself: I lost my cow’s lick at twenty-one when I could wear my hair forward but, “I don’t want to go bald, I don’t want to go bald, I don’t want to go bald!” I wished. It wouldn’t suit my face, I added, making my big red nose even more prominent. My sole criterion was myself unless you include my man I was making the wish to on the assumption he could fulfil it should he choose and he is myself too, like a Christ on the cross asking god to take the cup of impending baldness from him but as he willed.

“You might think this rude…,” but Jason’s bald pate was staring me in the face. He lost his hair at eighteen and wore a ponytail – “Compensation,” I offered and he took – but that became inappropriate and idiotic. He wears a beard. “You accept yourself,” I said, and he agreed. Some women accept bald men, others don’t; that’s a matter for them. They’re not the criterion for what he put down to man’s vanity and insecurity. He glanced at my meagre and receding hair but that was still there on an old man. He thought James would be sensitive about his baldness despite his thrusting it to the fore. “Lost another Facebook friend there!” I said.

The Facebook friend who took exception to my start on the subject objected to my saying women were not the criterion but think they should be. I’d been taking a humorous sideswipe at their presumption without having her consciously in mind as prime example. She rebutted, pretending she hadn’t understood, quite unable to refute. “My ex-sister-in-law proved my point,” I said to Cherie. “How many bald men have you had,” I went on. She hesitated, explaining there was quite a number to get through, before coming up with the conclusion, “None.” “Me neither!” The balding young man she was checking out and who’d been evincing interest in me in the queue fled. I am a man who notices such things and kills two birds with the one stone.

To sum up: I’m no further forward; I’m baffled what to do, to say, to make this fault a good. For myself I don’t care …much. If I stumbled out of bed tomorrow to see all my head hair lying on the pillow, ‘For fuck’s sake! What next! Don’t tell me!’ I wouldn’t turn a hair. I’d go to the doctor, of course, and much good does that do. It’d be one more interesting step in my degenerating to death. Young James has a head start.


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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