Feeling Old Women

I’ve just had my haircut and I’m not happy with it. The barber did that thing of showing me the back and saying “How’s that?” and I did the usual thing of going “That’s brilliant, thanks.” It wasn’t brilliant. It was fine, there wasn’t anything wrong with it, but you always have to seem over-appreciative, don’t you? It’s not that I’m not grateful but it’s his job, yet I still feel the need to wax lyrical about it, as though he needs the constant reassurance. I’m pretty sure his self-esteem is better than that. Unlike mine after having it cut. I’m always holding out for compliments. Not because I’m big-headed (although I am) more because I need a second opinion about the hairstyle. I’m always convinced it looks stupider the further you are from it. Anyway, he said “How’s that?” I said “That’s brilliant, thanks.” And then he did something I’ve never seen before; he kept cutting. I’m not just talking about neatening the edges. He kept hacking away at it. For at least another ten minutes. I was horrified. Clearly he didn’t understand the small print on our verbal contract.

To cut a long story short (no pun intended (yes there was otherwise I wouldn’t have written it)) I came out of that barbers, or salon if you’re that way inclined, with my hair devastatingly shorter than I was comfortable with. The reason I don’t like it too short is because my hairline starts quite far back. It’s not receding you understand, it’s been like that since I can remember – I like to think of it as a deep-set fringe – but having short hair only highlights this issue, which others feel bound to address. I don’t know why having short hair suddenly turns everyone into a follicle expert, but they’re all on hand to tell you how fine your hair is or how it’s receding (it’s not). It wouldn’t happen with plastic surgery; you wouldn’t come out of an intense course of liposuction, only for your friends and family to say “Good one, but next time you might want to have a look at that backside. It’s starting to spread.” You keep your comments to yourself and I’ll keep my vastly deteriorating scalp to mine. If I can, I make no promises; I’ve had a lot of problems with malting recently.

None of this would bother me, however, if today wasn’t my 25 birthday. Suddenly I feel that pang of age (could be angina?) and I don’t like it. I know most of you will say 25 isn’t old but you try thinking that when your fringe starts so far back you have to comb forward. I’ve stopped smiling altogether because my wrinkles are becoming too deep. You could literally use my face as a toast rack. You wouldn’t want to though, there’s no place for the jam. I am desperately trying not to think about age but I’m halfway to 50. If I was a dog I’d have been put down long ago, or at least be wearing one of those plastic cones 24/7. Trust me; it’s not easy getting old, you can wear all the trainers and ride all the bikes you like but you’re not young anymore, you’re just that weird guy in the stupidly big shoes, who cycles to work.

I’ve given up trying to fight it anymore, there’s no use. I’ve booked in at the solicitors to get my will drawn up and I’ve cancelled my subscription with Bupa. I would sign up to one of those life insurance plans but I doubt I’d make full use of the free Parker pen. No, that’s me done, I don’t want to make a big deal of my birthday; they all merge at this age, anyway. No party, no cake and no presents. Well, maybe one – I could do with a hat.

From: 12th September, 2012.

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