There is a time in every man's life when the tide goes out on his luxuriant locks. For some, this is in their early twenties, barely enough time for life experience involving hair. In my case, it was threatened but never came into effect, until my forties giving suitable time for my hair to be dyed, to have loved ones run their fingers through it and for my children to arrange it in a "David Beckham in a wind tunnel" formation.
However, my hair began to look a sparse. It no longer reflected my mood or recent activities as it always had done - sticking up (angry or flustered); sticking out on one side (irritated by nits on one side); sticking out on both sides (irritated by nits on both sides) and kempt (hot date and/or recently washed to remove nits).
The state it had become, commonly known as the comb over has been ingrained in me as the ultimate fashion faux pas like tank tops or socks with sandals (although in the latter case, I pray for a resurgence). However, as the natural state of my hair was the comb over, technically speaking it was an "over" as there was no need for a comb.
My wife treated me with the same sensitivity on my comb over as my mother did when I had a poo behind the lounge curtains in my formative years, the beginning of my rocky road of personal life experience. My mother sat me down on her knee and said "Sam, it's not nice to do a poo behind the lounge curtains; promise me you will never to do it again".
My wife gave me a similar message about my comb over although thankfully given the psychological parallels, I was too big for her knee.
I knew instantly that it was wrong to poo behind the lounge curtains and to have a comb over despite there being something comforting about each.
I had the same conversation with James the Barber, a wise owl who had felled his share of comb overs during his career. As I sat waiting in his shop, I heard him say to his current customer with his customary empathy and tenderness "you should stick around - the next customer is going to get the shortest haircut of his life"
I admitted the time had come and sat in the chair as a condemned man.
Aware that I was still reluctant, James showed me two pictures from his phone to prove that he was right. They were of a man who bore a slight resemblance to me - the first taken some years ago with a nerdy hairstyle close to mine; the second, the man looking considerably better following the full shear. And the name of the man - Karl Pilkington, from "The Idiot Abroad".
This was justification enough - it had to go. And so, my comb over went, tumbling to the floor like a mighty oak (albeit with a long term wasting disease) and my hair given a "Number 2" cut.
I knew straightway that I had done the right thing. The family gave me the thumbs up with one dissenting vote from my youngest mourning the passing of the chance to do a Beckham on it.
Since being shorn, I have enjoyed the fact that I look a lot harder. I have been called "bruiser" and "bad ass" in my new incarnation, which works until I open my mouth and put the Lily into my Savage.
I have developed a glare in my dealings with people where I need to have the upper hand. My Achilles heel is however that I am more likely to declare excitedly how much I like their shoes than to head-butt them.
There are practical benefits to my reduced thatch - the nits have nothing to cling to and my shampoo bill has been reduced by the same factor as my hair.
I will never go back to poo-ing behind the lounge curtains, a view my mother always questioned as from that day on she never hung full length curtains in the family home. And I will never return to the comb over, unless of course David Beckham gets one. By that stage however, it could be too late.
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