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Tuesday, April 15, 2008 

Hairless

I ran the clipper through my beard to trim it, then stopped and looked in the mirror.

I'd been trying to decide whether to keep my facial hair for weeks. There were things I liked about it (it's red, people said I looked good with a beard, it had filled in nicely). And then there were things I didn't (it was scratchy, there were still patchy bits, maintaining it would be a pain in the ass, and shaving my head would look a little weird). Eventually I decided - screw it, I can always grow another. I ran the clipper with no attachments straight through the middle. Now I looked like a Scottish innkeeper in a bad film. As I kept going, I was surprised at how relatively natural muttonchops looked on me. Then they were gone. All that wiry red hair in the sink.

I got a nasty surprise as I shaved my head. The wispy stuff up on top no longer grows fast enough to really show up when I shave my head normally, but due to the beard it'd been extra long. As it wafted down into the sink, it looked oddly pale next to the dark brown clumps from the side of my head. Upon careful examination, it was a dull shade of light grey. All of it.

The top of my head had gone grey! This was only unsettling because I'm not even 27, not because I dislike the colour. In fact, I kind of wished it was showing up somewhere visible. It's kind of weird to have all that grey hair and not realise, because it's too transparent and all anyone sees is scalp.

I just went to rest my head on the palm of my hand. You have no idea how nice it is to feel my chin and neck and face again.

Bravo- it's a harder decision to make than one would think- I've been pondering it myself... But then... what if I want to go back? It's all so complex

I know! I had a pang of doubt this morning, but I think it's for the best.

I only knew of the beard because of your Facebook photos, which I admit I check rarely. However I was highly impressed with the red mane.

I too recently went beardless. The trend the past several years has been to grow the beard nice and thick for Ski-season, then shave on my birthday.

Too bad about the Grey. At least the Red provides a nice cover.

I actually kind of like the grey... but even when it's there, it's invisible, because it's only on the most bald parts of my head.

I admit, the weather was part of my decision.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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