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At 52 years of age I had much of the usual characteristics of a middle-aged man.  I bit of a belly though not much walking 5 miles a day and eating carefully.  I also have the good fortune of having a full head of hair though it had gone from a sandy blond to grey in just a few years.

It was a Friday evening while Kathy and I lounged on the couch watching a movie when she muted the TV and turned looking me squarely in the eye.  I knew she had been thinking of something all night.  You can tell after 28 years of marriage when the partner is preoccupied.

“Can I ask you something?” she asked.

“You can ask anything you want.  That doesn’t mean I have an answer though.” I said with a smile waiting for what had been occupying her mind all day.

“Would consider coloring your hair?” she said sheepishly.

Laughing I emphatically said “NO WAY!!”

“But your hair is almost all white and grey.  I thought you’d like to look younger.” she responded appealing to my vanity.

“Why would I want to look younger?” I responded with smile then added. “If I looked younger people might expect things from me that I can’t longer deliver.”

Seeming a bit embarrassed having brought it up she began “I was just thinking you.” but I cut her off saying “I will keep my hair just as it is or it will have to be shaved off.  Coloring it is NOT an option.”

“Okay, that’s how it will be then.” she said as we finished with the movie and went to bed.

The next morning was Saturday.  A day of sleeping late and enjoying time snuggling, maybe even love making before spending the day doing whatever seemed to come our way.  This Saturday morning I woke when she finished in the bathroom and without a goodbye she was out the door.  Figuring she must have forgotten to buy milk or something the day before and needed it with her breakfast I rolled over and went back to sleep.

I didn’t know the hour had passed until I heard her say “Tom, could you come into the kitchen?”  

Blurry-eyed I made my way into the kitchen’s doorway.  The first thing I noticed was the chair in the middle of the room.  Next I say the clippers, razor and shaving cream.  

“What’s this all about?” I asked though I had an idea.

“This is about last night.  If I can’t color your hair you will have no hair.” she said with a touch of sarcasm and determination in her voice.

Taking off the pajama top I sat in the chair expecting to keep most of my 3 to 4 inches of hair when all was said and done.  She’ll chicken out I thought.

Having let my beard go for 5 or 6 days she first clicked on the clippers, tilted my head back and after 8 strokes it was gone.  Not satisfied with taking the beard she clippered the sideburns all the way to the top of the ears.  Whew, I thought, I could live without the sideburns for a while.

She then applied the shaving cream and with a new blade in the razor finished with the beard, mustache and sideburns.

Hearing the clippers going again and her pushing my head forward so my chin rested on my chest caused some concern but I reassured myself that she’ll just outline the hair in back like she has done in the past.  I lulled myself into this false sense of security until after she had placed the clipper on my neck while saying “The beard was just practice.” as she thrust the clippers with a quick pass up to the crown.

“What!?” I shouted more startled than angry.

“I am getting rid of the grey.  Like we talked about last night.” she said with Mona Lisa smile.

Feeling the damage on the back of my head I wasn’t sure to laugh or cry.  Finally, shrugging my shoulders I said “Well there’s no turning back.  Finish it up then.”

“That’s better.  Sit back down.” she suggested.

After I sati down she turned the clippers on again and finished the back three or four passes.  I was feeling the coolness of the air but the clippers as she clipped the right side, left side then removing the hair from the clippers with her fingers then letting the clippings float on to my lap.  As she did she commented on the grey, ask it I knew how grey I had become punctuating her comments with “I’m going to take care of this for you though.”

She was right.  IT WAS GREY!  While I was regretting having a clipper shave as she placed the clippers on my forehead moving it towards the crown slowly, purposefully apparently enjoying the process, the option of coloring my hair would still have not been an option.

I could feel she had gone over my whole head with the clippers but it was rough and I began to wonder why.  Trying to escape I suggested “Well that’s it.  You got it all haven’t you?”

“Not yet” as I heard her shaking the can of shaving cream.  “You just as well let me finish.  Afterall we are getting rid of the grey.”

I felt resigned and I began to think of this morning differently.  This wasn’t her solution for my graying hair.  This was mine.  I may have been a bit flippant the previous evening when she suggested coloring my hair.  I had been definite in saying no and made it crystal clear that the hair would have to be left alone or shaved.

I relaxed a bit as she applied the cream to my head and then with water running in the kitchen sink and another new blade she began to scrape away the stubble.  Not wanting an accidental cut I remained still and silent as she methodically began at the forehead and began working on the right temple, moving towards the back to the left side, rinsing the blade clean until all that remained was the crown.  Finishing it up I suggested that she might want to see if there was any place she had missed to go over it again.

“I have other plans” she said apparently to get me wondering what’s next.

I then saw a paper sack I hadn’t noticed before.  I was not able to see what she was taking out only that it was a grey plastic bottle.  I could hear her shake it and then squeeze some of the contents into her hand then she began to dab a thick layer all over my head.  

“What’s this then?” I asked.

“You’ll see.” she said as she set the timer on the microwave.

Ten minutes I could see as the seconds went by.  Then when there was about 45 seconds left on the clock Kathy instructed me to come over to the kitchen sink.  She ran the water until it got to the temperature she wanted.  “Okay, put your head down in the sink.  Cover your eyes, pinch you nose closed and keep you mouth shut.” she instructed.

As she rinsed the cream from my head I could tell my head was slick, there was no resistance as she moved her hands around my head removing the cream as she did.

As she helped me get my head out of the sink pat drying it as she did I asked “Done?”

“Not yet” she replied.

I knew I was completely bald but now what.  I saw my dim reflection in microwave’s glass door. “We have to finish the beard.” she said as gave it the same treatment as she did my head.

When she was done she asked me to close my eyed as she escorted me to the bathroom.  “You can open them now.” she said and I got the first clear look at this stranger in the mirror.  “No more grey,” she said adding “and we shouldn’t have that problem for several weeks now.”

While I wasn’t sure of having no hair it was certainly true there was no more grey.

“Now” she said with an impish smile. “Let me find out what it is like making love with a bald man.”

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