The Show & The Shave: how it all started

Monday, June 10, 2013

Life as a peeled onion, slightly skewed

From the moment my shearer... er... hair stylist flipped off the razor, my world had shifted a degree or two on its axis. Looking into the mirror at my newly bald head was like going back in time and hearing the voices of my two older sisters:  "You look like a peeled onion."

That was their assessment every time our mother pulled my hair away from my round face into yet another unflattering 'do that was never in style in any era.

Flash forward a half century to the mirror at Aniu Salon. Yup. They have a point. Oh, and guess what? So do I!

When The Shave was complete, friend and videographer Dennis Thayer commented, "You have a nice head for baldness. Good thing you weren't one of those forceps babies." Then I noticed The Ridge. A slight rise runs down the center of my head, suggesting fertile ground for a Mohawk or that a distant relation was a Rhodesian Ridgeback. 

The days following The Shear had certain similarities to an amputee's Phantom Limb Syndrome. When pulling clothes over my head, I exercised care not to catch my hair on zippers or buttons, then began to flip non-existent strands away from my collar. Coming home from work, I wanted nothing so much as to pull my tresses back, away from my face and off my neck. Reaching for a chopstick to fasten my "after-work knot", I would realize my head was well free from encumbrance.

Despite recalling childhood slings and arrows, discovering a continental divide on top of my head, and overcoming habits of the haired, the "peeled onion" has offered some lovely gifts. When I rub my head, my fingertips are tickled with velvety bristles—making me, I suppose, my own Chia Petand my scalp has so much sensation as to make scratching it feel almost illicit.

The maintenance is great. No drying. No styling. Taking advantage of this, I joined a masters swim class. Easy in/easy out, with only that tedious 75-minute swim workout in between.

Sometimes I forget about The Bald and am momentarily puzzled when in public someone turns a curious look in my direction. I love those brave souls who charge forward and just ask, "Are you battling cancer, or is this your extreme response to summer?"

Then there's the sense of identity so closely associated with appearance. Sometimes I feel exotic. Sometimes I feel odd. But I mostly like being out of my comfort zone and feeling slightly off balance—tilting at a new world that, in carpenter lingo, is a bubble off center.

What are you doing to challenge your balance and make your world teeter a little? I'd love to read your comments.

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