Hello. Apologies that it has been a while but I have been pre-occupied with a mission of great importance. I was asked to be the photographer for a friends wedding and that took up most of my spare time. But don’t worry, I’ve still been Grumpy and you, my little Grumpyans, all four of you, have not been forgotten!
So with the stress levels of the wedding photography it’s fair to say I have lost some hair. Not that there was much to hold onto in the first place!
But this brings me onto something that shocked and appalled me in the space of ten minutes the other day.
I was at a DIY superstore looking for bark. I know what you’re thinking. How do I get to live such a rock and roll lifestyle? How do I jump on that sex, drugs and home improvement tour bus to hedonistic utopia? Well, let me tell you, it is not for the faint of heart!
I was strolling around the garden section when I walk past an employee of Homebase. I recognise this man. His name is Steve. I used to work with him at my first job when I was a fresh faced, less grumpy, blonde haired 16 year old with no idea of the journey towards Grumpsville ahead of me. I’m not sure if Steve recognised me. Probably not because I’m not so fresh faced, grumpy and have hardly any hair.
As Steve passes me, I catch a glimpse of the back of his head. Steve is going bald. Steve does not embrace the baldness. Instead of taking it like a man, taking the path of least resistance, namely, acceptance of his follicle waning, Steve is clinging on by his fingernails.
I feel a lack of respect for men like Steve who fight with all their might to try to convince the world that they are not actually bald. I wish I could grab his oval face in my hands and say, “Steve! What are you doing? The vast majority of people are not blind and everyone can see that at some point, perhaps this very morning you reached above your head and unevenly sprayed some sort of aerosol can containing brown paint onto your bald patch! It doesn’t look like hair. It looks like some large mammal with diarrhoea has flown over you and had an unfortunate accident.”
It was not even ten minutes later, when driving home I passed a man on his driveway. This man was yet another example of many I have seen before although this was a particularly tragic sight. This man was clearly in denial also. Yes. This man had a comb-over. But this comb-over was something more than the average one-sided sweeping motion. This man has drawn on the hair from all possible sides of his head and combined their powers to create the mightiest comb-over in the world ever! This guy had a parting that literally spanned from the top of one ear, around the back of his head, all the way to the other ear. Both ears joined by a parting. That first coming together being as monumental as when the British and French sides broke through the last remaining piece of rock to the joy of onlookers and therefore completing the Channel tunnel! But when this parting was created, it was not to the celebrated cheers of jubilation; there was no swapping of flags, no corks of champagne being popped. There was the demise of a bald mullet combo, a bald head being sheltered from the Sun’s harmful UV rays and a parting that resembled the elasticated strap from safety goggles worn in school science experiments.
It wasn’t long ago that I too was trying to fight my receding hairline. I would sit in the hair salon and ask how bad it was and whether I should just bite the bullet and shave it all off. The hairdresser would say there was no need yet because by stylishly brushing forward certain parts of hair in certain directions, my recede was invisible. The hairdresser duped me like this for about a year. It was no good. Despite looking in the mirror after and admiring the work of art on my head, as soon as I stepped outside and a gust of wind blew in the wrong direction, I returned to looking like Art Garfunkel.
I used to bump into so many things because I would walk into the wind with my head down so as to keep what effectively were miniature comb-overs in the right direction.
So you can’t really trust anything a hairdresser says. After all, was it actually a hairdresser who invented the comb-over? One day with bald Derek in front of him, looking depressed, he actually said, “Derek, I’ve got an idea. If we cut 90% of your remaining hair to a normal even length but leave the left hand side long and if we just sweep it over the top it actually looks like you have a full bodied, beautiful head of hair.” Then Derek looked in the mirror and much like I did, thought, “Oh my God! They’re right! What kind of sorcery is this?!”
Similarly, you’ve got the comb-over carriers who sit down in a barbers chair or hair salon and say, “Yes I’ll have a grade two all over please except that bit on the left which I have been growing for three years now. Can you just trim the ends and sweep it over the top because believe it or not, I am actually bald!”
Being bald is to enter into a brotherhood. In the UK, motorcyclists give each other a nod as they pass. It’s a mutual respect. It’s a feeling of belonging that they are part of an exclusive community that most will not be able to appreciate. Being bald is exactly the same. Bald brothers walk past each other and there is an instant knowing, an instant bond. It must be something to do with domed heads.
But we’ve got some of the greatest men to have ever lived. Bruce Willis and Jason Statham. Two of Hollywood’s finest who are never typecast.
Richard O’Brien, who used to present one of the greatest game shows ever in the history of visual broadcasting, The Crystal Maze. By the way, please check out http://www.facebook.com/bringthecrystalmazeback
My final choice of great bald men but by no means any lesser great is none other than Thespian actor Ross Kemp. Ross came to fame playing a character in the depressing British soap, Eastenders. Ross played the part of a tough, aggressive barman called Grant Mitchell. He was intimidating, violent and bald and a household favourite.
Ross left Eastenders to later take on a completely different role from the macho testosterone pumped role as Grant Mitchell. Ross played a highly trained operative of the Special Forces in Ultimate Force.
After showing the world that he does actually have the ability to take down terrorists in real life if he had to, Ross embarked on documentary making. He moved away from the adrenaline pumped violent world of Special Forces. Ross went in a completely different direction. A documentary series about the toughest gangs in the world.
It was after this that Ross remained in the documentary game but clearly wanted to move away from the violent, machismo and adrenaline of facing the toughest gangs in the world and in very intimidating circumstances, interview them. Instead Ross decided to go to the front line in Afghanistan with the British forces!
In all seriousness, respect where respect is due, he was with soldiers who were under fire and he had bullets flying over his head. That takes big balls. If only they had allowed him to use his Ultimate Force training. I believe that if it hadn’t been for some much needed voiceover work commitments back in the UK, the war in Afghanistan would be over now.
So on a Friday night, if The British 80’s hair stylist of the time, Nicky Clarke wants to go for a beer with me, but I’m already going out with Richard O’Brien and Ross Kemp, I’d have to say, “Sorry Nicky. I’m hanging out with my bald brothers. Ross is ex Special Forces and Richard has the key to the Crystal Maze. What have you got? A successful salon business and a hairy plug hole!”
Besides, trust a hair stylist and you run the risk of a comb-over. You don’t chose bald. Bald chooses you.