I wince and look down at the damp bath towel in my hands to see it shimmering weakly in the artificial bathroom light, this golden hair of mine. Another departed friend, gone, never to return.

Although I am still several months shy of being mistaken for an abandoned ostrich egg, the increasingly frequent and furtive upward glances at my hairline from shopkeeper, colleague, bus conductor, parent or girlfriend speak encyclopaedic volumes that can no longer be kept closed: I am going bald.

Those university photographs that once provoked mirth shall elicit only sighs as I wistfully remember the post-shower brushing ritual of my heavy metal mane. One hundred and seven full strokes of the large-toothed comb. No more, no less.

Such attention is no longer necessary, of course. Where only recently a crude dollop of hair wax was casually messed into my bountiful scalp to create a look of dazzling intensity, I must now tackle each morning’s grooming parade with the grim severity of a drill instructor addressing raw recruits. ‘You at the back, stand up straight! Front right, get down, down, I SAID DOWN!’.

Like an amateur topiarist on crystal meth, I no longer have any influence over the final outcome of my daily hairstyling but have instead learnt to enjoy the variety of disguises that are randomly assigned to me by my dissident and dwindling locks. Today’s Adolf Hitler side parting will give way to the Donald Trump combover tomorrow, with many more tasteful variations available.


… and tomorrow

But all hope is not yet gone. I have lost glasses in the past, iPods, wallets, keys and cameras – and many have returned! So why not my hair? Deep down, in the recess of my mind, where leprechauns adroitly jump their unicorns over the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I still hope and believe. Maybe one rainy day in my late fifties, as I trip over a wooden beam in my attic whilst searching for my old Commodore 64, I will chance upon a padlocked jewellery box covered in dust, mould and cobwebs. As the lock reveals itself to be open, I open the lid slowly to discover…


[Author’s note, 10 years on: there is clearly less than 10 years ago, but still not an ostrich egg. Well played, hair, well played…]

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