I was in a barber shop years ago unsuccessful in getting a by the follicle rate, when the barber’s scissors paused on the left side of my head. I glanced up into the mirror and met a sheepish look on the man’s face.
“You want me to leave the hair alone on this side?”
Leave the hair alone! Why would I want him to leave the hair alone? Why would anyone want the hair on one side of his head to be longer than the hair on the other side? That would be lopsided, unbalanced, like the two loops of a paperclip. Who in the world would ever want a paperclip haircut?
The realization washed over me like a rancid wave of bay rum. My barber was offering me a comb-over!
I watched with a mixture of fascination and nausea as he lowered my part to just above the ear and showed me how I could miraculous fool myself into thinking I was fooling everyone into thinking I was still growing hair on the top of my head. I remembered all the bad comb-overs I’d seen in my younger days and how I had prayed earnestly for a healthy gust of wind to raise the unmistakable bald guy flag that all fully-follicled-folk love to salute.
My chickens had come home and somehow roosted on the top of my head making it as bald as one of their vindictive eggs.
Fleetingly, I considered actually doing it as a public service. I could get a tee-shirt that read “Hey bald guys! See how bad it looks?” on one side and “Mother’s don’t let your babies grow up to be wind toys” on the other. I weighed the cost of printing up such a tee shirt against its value to society and had found it as unbalanced as the ridiculous hair I saw in the mirror.
I had him cut it even.
After coming home, I started feeling bad for the barber. The comb-over hairstyle had to be a hard sell and this poor guy must get a lot of abuse for recommending it. What his barber shop as well as barber shops across the nation needed was a comb-over brochure. Barbers need something like those discrete like those “So You’ve Got Herpes – It’s Not the End of the World,” pamphlets that doctors hand out to roughly half of their sexually active patients.
Of course I’ve never seen one of those pamphlets, but a friend of mine got one.
We could title the brochure, “Is Self-Delusion Right for You?” In the brochure the future lock-flopper would learn the discrete international barber sign to tell his hair professional to leave one side unshorn: a q-tip casually inserted in the ear canal of the shaggy side.
Sporting a stick in your ear is far less embarrassing than discussing a premeditated fashion faux pas like a come-over.
The next day I went to Jeff’s Irregular and Sometimes Hot Bargain Shack and purchased a North Korean hair cutting system (Guaranteed to make you look like a third world despot.) I selected the half inch setting and turned the top of my head into a pink and gray peach. No more barber shops – no more embarrassing encounters.
Though sometimes I run my hand across my stubbly head left-to-right and ask people what I just created.
“What?” they ask.
“The world’s shortest come-over.”
Of course when I was younger the embarrassing hair style was a duck tail (some didn't use the word, tail.)
Yeah, the post is over, but I had to include these extra pics.