Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blueberries And Baldness

The poisonous graffiti has been on the wall for a long time. Rather unartistically, or apoetically, it reads:

Ian, your hair is falling out. What are you going to do about it?

On more than one occasion I've launched a preemptive strike, shaving my head before my hair could leave the departure lounge on its own. It wasn't a bad experience. I loved the feeling of getting up in the morning with no hair. I loved the thought of not having to fork out $2.99 for a barrel of Shoppers Drug Mart's cheapest Life brand shampoo. I even loved the feeling of rubbing my hand over my stumped and stubbled clear-cut brain. I loved everything about shaving my head, except knowing that the hand that shaved my head was forced. And then there was the whole issue about mirrors.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who's the fairest geriatric neo-Nazi skinhead punk of them all.

Baldness does weird things to white guys. It makes us mental. It's male menopause. Baldness should be considered a defence in a court of law.

The jury finds Mr.Varty not guilty on account of baldness.

Watch an NBA basketball game sometime. The African-Americans who shave their heads look strong, attractive, manly, athletic. The Euro-Americans (the white guys), for the most part, look like anarchists. Johnny Rotten in gym shorts. Let's face it, a shaved head doesn't work for everyone, but it sure beats a comb over.

The comb over. The beehive. The mullet. There have been many legendary melon tops popularized over the years. They survive to this day, in remote places such as Trump Tower, Cambridge-Narrows and Minto.

Last Sunday I drove to St.Andrews. Along the drive there are many landmarks...the blueberry fields of Scotch Settlement, the port of Saint John, Reversing Falls, the Oland's stunning home in New River Beach (my favourite architectural masterpiece of the Maritimes), the blueberry pie place (McKay's) in Pennfield, Ossies, and the Algonquin.

We're just on the cusp of blueberry season here in Atlantic Canada, so I thought that a pitstop at McKay's was warranted. As a hundred mile diet devotee, fresh blueberries are on my list of most wanted. I parked my car in the dirt parking lot and walked toward the cosy and quaint, brightly painted blueberry stand. I peered lustfully into the stand and gasped. It wasn't the pies, jams or blueberry shortcakes that got my attention, it was the saleswoman's hairdo. It was, in a word, spectacular.

The saleswoman was probably in her mid-sixties, though I was so enthralled by her 'do that I barely looked her in the eyes. Underneath a hairnet, or perhaps a fishnet, was a towering masterpiece of a beehive, reminiscent of the best the 1960s could offer, combined with the most unnatural blond highlights for a woman of her age. She looked like something that would pour itself out of a gold accented, ivory Cadillac. I actually gasped, audibly, when I saw her hair. Wendy, upon hearing my gasp, no doubt wondered if I was having one of my daily Megan Fox episodes. Or perhaps she thought I had been stung by a bee (getting warmer).

I can't imagine what time in the morning this woman must rise every day to prepare her Katahdinesque mountain of a mane, but it's got to be before the sun comes up. I wouldn't be surprised if the morning sun hits her hairdo before any other landmark on the eastern seaboard, including Cape Spear. Her team of coiffures (you must understand that this is not a job to be tackled by a lone stylist) must use scaffolding, or crampons, to reach the summit. If I was her stylist, I'd plant a flag at the top, then call the people at Guinness. For a world record measurement, that is, not a beer, though a celebratory beer after a steep ascent would be in order as well.

I'd like to thank this woman. Single-handedly she made me feel not so bad about going bald. Maybe the old saying 'bald is beautiful' has some merit, though I've always equated 'bald is beautiful' with 'cancer is fun' or 'Brian is honest'.

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