Last weekend I went to a family barbeque, and I wore a hat. That is not a rare occurence for me. As I mentioned in my essay on the male barbershop experience, I have a pretty thick head of hair –I’ve never had a barber who didn’t make a sheep-shearing joke at some point in our relationship– and so hats come naturally to me: It saves me having to bother with a comb or hair gel, or all those other tools that I lack the vanity to make use of on anything more than a special occasion basis.
Anyway, I mention the family barbeque and the hat because, upon doffing my cap for one reason or another, my sister exclaimed, “Are those grey hairs I see?”
I have been aware for some time of a single silver thread somewhere about half an inch behind my hairline, roughly on the centre of my head. I admitted as much, but my sister was on her feet, craning over my crown to examine places I can’t see in my mirror as I brush my teeth. “No, there’s… Seven of them there! Seven!”
I have my father’s hair. Everyone says so. My father didn’t have a grey hair until well into his fifties, so that his lifelong friends muttered among themselves that he must use hair dye to hide the ravages of age. He didn’t, and a few stray shots of salt are now working their way through his mane to prove it. I laughed off my sister with the thought that perhaps I will not follow my father’s hair-based footsteps after all. She changed the subject, suspecting she had embarrassed me. Actually, I’m rather pleased.
From my early teens until my early twenties I was easily mistaken for a fourteen year old. Aside from bars and liquor stores, this has also been an impediment to a great many social interactions, and so I’m quite happy to be leaving that part of my life safely behind me. I have no fear of looking my age, and the idea of having a few silver strands at twenty-seven doesn’t trouble me at all.
My whole life I’ve wanted to be about five years older than I am, and I must admit the prospect of actually aging strikes me as something to look forward to. It holds fewer terrors for men than women, and even less for me, as from my perspective my peers all have several years’ head start on me to begin with.
My mind has since turned to the last time I remember vividly feeling older than my years –proud of my seniority, and ridiculously pleased with myself for something that really isn’t easy to explain– and as it’s an amusing story that literally dozens of you will enjoy in the months to come (my personal anecdotes remain the least visited portion of my blog), I thought I’d share it. It was the night I told off a young whippersnapper who tried to tell me I wasn’t a real Beatles fan.
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