The Fender Cut

I began worrying about losing my hair in my mid teens. It was only natural. My mum’s maiden name was Fender and she had four brothers; Alec, George, Sam and Cyril all of whom were follically challenged. Alec, the eldest, had spent a fortune on hair restorer, but was only marginally rewarded with a few more strands of hair than his brothers. Needless to say my maternal grandfather, Alexander David, was as bald as a coot and it’s only fitting that I followed the hair loss having been named after my grandfather.

It was probably one of the few times in her life that my mum told me a white lie. She assured me there was no need to worry since I resembled my dad who possessed a fine head of hair. So did his brothers Sid and to a lesser extent Phil. What she conveniently forgot to tell me was the hair genes invariably came from  the mother’s side!!!

However, there are exceptions to the rule, so Shaun please note. My Uncle George’s son Desmond is the spitting image of his dad bearing the identical bald pate and demeanor, so what happened to his mum’s genes? My son has been convinced he was losing his hair since his teens, and to counteract it he cuts  his hair very short; presumably to prepare himself for the inevitable hairless years ahead.

I now confine myself to the standard short back and sides for the hair that has survived nature’s evil trick on 25% of the world’s male population. But once I mentioned to my wife I was contemplating shaving my head in the fashion of Michael Jordan for example. She simply replied: “No way! It only looks good on black men.” I threw Yul Brynner and Tele Savalas into the equation as white males who adopted the style, and she dismissed them as perfect examples of why white men should not shave their head.

According to Medem Medical Library website male pattern baldness affects roughly 40 million men in the USA. I knew I  shouldn’t have emigrated to the States. For all they know hair loss could be contagious. I’m joking people. Approximately 25% of men begin balding  by age 30; two-thirds begin balding  by age 60, so I was somewhere in the middle.

There is a 4 in 7 chance of receiving the baldness gene. It was previously believed that baldness was inherited from the maternal grandfather. While there is some basis for this belief, both parents contribute to their offspring’s likelihood of hair loss. So basically they don’t have a clue and sorry Mum for doubting you.

The nearest I got to having the billiard ball look was by accident. I told the hairdresser to use mark 6 on the clippers for the back and sides and mark 2 on the top to erase the wispy bits. She wasn’t really paying attention and transposed the numbers leaving me dumb struck when I retrieved my glasses and looked in the mirror. I  wore a baseball cap for the next six weeks, and never removed it even at bedtime or take a shower!

Speaking of hairdressers, it always irks me to pay the same price for a haircut  as a man with a full head of hair. They can cut my hair in two minutes while a male with a full mane can take 20-30 minutes. Furthermore, it never fails to amaze me why successive hairdressers make a “dog’s dinner” of my haircut. They only have to take care of the back, sides and sideburns, but invariably I sometimes look like I’ve been pulled through a hedge backwards. They then have the temerity to ask if  I intend leaving a tip.

May I conclude by expressing my surprise for managing to write 600 words on baldness. The topic was quite hair-raising (I’m sorry,) and I was relieved to get it off my chest. I don’t have many hairs on my chest either. What I don’t understand about human hair is why it stops growing on the top of your head, but conversely begins sprouting profusely from one’s nose an ears. Let me know if you have an explanation.

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