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THE THINNING AND THE CREW CUT

It was around this time that as I caught glimpse of myself in the mirror, I realized that there was a tad less at the back of the scalp than there used to be. I had to come to grips with a new issue: male pattern baldness.

My father decided to `hide’ his balding pate by coming extra long hair over his thinning scalp. My brother and I decided that the last thing we would do would be to grow a “comb-over” and try to so obviously hide what stood out like a sore thumb. We both shuddered at the thoughts of toupees and comb-overs. We were starting to agree on more and more and grow closer.

My brother started to play the guitar and slowly as I came to appreciate current music, he convinced me to pick up the bass so we could “jam” out whenever the opportunity arose. Most of the time we worked out for songs by U2 but Pink Floyd was a big favorite of mine (still is) and we would attempt songs by both bands. Meanwhile, our hairlines were receding in opposite directions.

I came to realize that a brutally short crew cut made my hair look more even than letting it grow out and since I had always liked the short cuts, I decided that maybe this was the cut for me. Now, I started to look at the crew cut as less of a release and more as a “way of life” for me. I was tempted not to let it grow out again, and for the most part it was then that I realized that I might not ever let my hair grow out as long as it had been in high school and junior high. I was growing up, and I was growing up with the admiration and love of the crew cut.

During the winter I let it grow out a bit, but when the warmer weather came, I padded down to the tiled floor and proceeded to shear myself of that excess hair. It was about now that I played around with different lengths for clipper attachments. I had tried on the #4 and the #3 as well, so I well versed. But, as always the #2 was my premiere choice if I had a choice. Even later as I tried even shorter styles, I found the #2 cut the best, all around.

The business with the three roommates didn’t last as long as I would have liked, due to some internal strife. Eventually I ended up being the only one left and someone I worked with expressed some interest in moving out of his parents’ place. I invited him to check it out and he agreed and soon moved in. That was a great relief to me since I didn’t have to go cowering or scraping home. In fact of all of us that had moved into that apartment, I am the only one left who has never moved back with his parents after moving out. The rest basically gave up and returned to not paying rent and living pretty well `scot-free’ with their parents/guardians.

But I didn’t want to do that, if I could avoid that, and so far (knocks on wood) I have upheld that belief. Now I am more independent and responsible than I used to, but I also value my independence. I have become me at long last.

One of the things that defined me was my choice of haircut. I had desperately, I think, tried to deny the truth to myself, that I was losing my hair. But when I realized that a brutally short haircut would let me look less obvious, I started to relax. What was so bad about that? I began to shy away from letting it grow it out and I started to embrace it. It was my life, after all, and I was going to live it as I saw fit.

So, slowly as I came to grips with this, I opted to start giving myself a whiffle haircut more often. After all, as I saw it, it saved me money and I already had the clippers. Haircuts gradually grew in price and I had to stave off that ogre. What better than to run those inexpensive clippers over my head and so what if I wasn’t exactly a fashion model for my coiffure? I gradually came to care less and less about what other people were thinking about me. I came to the realization that I needed to give off a “fuck-you-all” attitude to get anywhere.

This wasn’t the real eye-opening experience I wish it were. I still had no car and didn’t have a great deal of independence. My roommate and I ended up moving to another town and trying to make things work there. But soon enough he moved out of state and I was left holding the rent bag by myself.

I tried to keep up with my `regular haircuts’ but it was tough. I soon had to work two jobs to make ends meet. I was the store manager of one store, and I still had to work another job to make my rent. I did eventually make assistant manager at one place I was at, after a bit of effort. Apparently being the store’s manager didn’t mean a whole lot when it came to a career. I struggled to pay my rent and my bills.

Luckily I had a pair of clippers in reserve, so haircuts were at least pretty inexpensive. I had learned over the years and periodic haircuts, to cut my own hair better than I ever had before now. At least I was saving money on haircutting!

What with my current roommate moving out of state, the cost of maintaining a one room apartment with precious little money (working two pretty well full-time jobs) I got two breaks. I got a new job selling computer equipment and I got a new place not far from where I had grown up and lived in my first apartment days. This was great for me. I got out of a terrible situation, and I also got a new job with a better salary.

Slowly I got myself out of deep debt and got myself squared away, perhaps my low-cost haircuts had something to do with that. Of course, I did occasionally take the luxury of getting my hair cut by someone else. But nothing ever satisfied me as much as taking the clippers in my own hand and shearing my own head. Nothing beats that.

My brother, then one day, decides he is going to go `all the way’ and shave his head completely bald. I mean here all the way down to bare skin. I had always felt like I would be the first one to do that, being the fetishist over hair that I am. I had told myself I would shave it when I moved out, but I chickened out and went with a simple crew cut.

My brother was always the one to push the edge with my parents and to be honest; I guess if he weren’t so daring I would wonder a lot `what if?’ instead of `what now?’ I guess I’d rather have the latter after quite a bit of introspection.

So anyway I moved into my new place and soon afterwards I got a roommate to help with rent and bills. That roommate changed not long afterwards and I was lucky to get a new one, which I still have now. That much luck worked in my favor.

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