Whoever is in charge of my senescence has an odd aesthetic, but at least an effort is being made in terms of staging. For instance, my sweaters are now a museum-worthy display case for my hair. Not, you know, the First Corinthians hair-is-a-woman’s-glory hair: no. The individual hairs that have jumped ship.
Added up, I probably spend five minutes a day plucking hairs off my clothing. There’s always been a certain deciduous nature to hair, of course, but now the suckers are just plinking off for no reason. Like they’re tired or something. I look at the collection on my sweaters and think: is there anything left up top? Is anyone guarding the fort?
It’s not like I can feel them falling off. There’s no yanking involved. They just up and sail off with a little wheee! and I don’t think the follicles themselves get all worked up about it, either. Not enough to see about sprouting new ones. Remember that woman’s-glory thing you used to have? my scalp says, biblically. Well, I’ve got a few revelations for you.
I sleep on my hair wet, get up, and run a brush through it once, and as far as I’m concerned I’m done for the day, but all over my head, 24-7, my hairs are all: Hold my beer.
It’s no big deal. I pinch them off my sweater because they offend me in that venue, and I drop them on the floor, and tell them to go under the furniture and make bunnies. I’m more ruthless about the ones that fall inside my shirt. I probably nip out twenty of those every day. I go in under the shirt or I dive down from the top and the neighbors quit looking a long time ago. The strands are seventy microns thick. That’s not thick. They fall with the force of a flea’s fart but I can detect them the second they breach the authorized haircut length and slink down my neck. I will paw at them all day long. I will comb the interior of my underwear like a bomb-sniffing dog. I can feel every single one in there and as insubstantial as each strand is, my skin will squawk if I don’t evict them. My breasts have no particular assignment anymore if they ever did, but now they’re fully employed corralling retired hairs so they don’t get away. Fabulous: what used to be another example of the Glory Of Womanhood is now a functioning lint trap.
There’s no reason to take hair loss personally. Just like my muscle tone and whoever’s in charge of my available vocabulary, my hair is retired. My hair is going to lie out next to the pool and think about hitting the casino. It has nothing better to do. I suppose I could lecture it about duty and love of country but I’m generally sympathetic to retirement.
If I were going to get all upset about this sort of thing, I’d focus on the ridiculous development south of my chin. My neck looks like it’s one pin-prick away from sending me flying around the room backwards. I always knew it was coming but in my wildest imagination I didn’t visualize anything quite this unsightly. If I were a Russian nesting doll, Mitch McConnell might be right inside. But life presents plenty of perspective on things like this, from pain to Ukraine, and I’ve made my mental adjustments. It’s not that bad, I think. Kids aren’t laughing and pointing and horses aren’t shying away.
There are no horses.
I can’t say I’m completely on board with all this. But for the most part, the situation and my acceptance of the situation have tracked pretty closely. Yeah, there’s a little delay lag in there, but not much. That difference is called a “waste of time.” Best to keep that to a minimum.