17 June, 2006

Hirsutes you

The mirror in my bathroom, most probably like every mirror in every bathroom in the world, never fails to show me in my most unflattering light. This is even more the case when there is an unflattering light streaming through the bathroom window, which there is without fail every morning during the month of June, when the sun is already high in the sky by the time I wake up and the temperature is rising as fast as my hackles.

These particular circumstances are, at present, conspiring to show up one particular aspect of my appearance which is only increasing as the years go by: grey hair. I never realised I had so much of the stuff until I moved into this flat and had to get used to a bathroom mirror which was nothing less than a showcase for every single one of your unwelcome blemishes, flecks and creases.

I first spotted one about five years ago - or rather, someone spotted it for me, when I turned my head slightly and the sun decided to catch one specific incidence of my advancing age, a strand of grey glinting in an otherwise unassuming mop of brown. I thought nothing of it at the time. Well, I thought quite a bit about it somewhat later. 30 minutes or so later, to be precise. Since when the topic has floated through my brain fairly regularly, but never in an especially malignant fashion. Rather I've come to view it as a betoken of bidding farewell (a thankful one) to the vagaries of youth and a welcome mark of experience.

Not particularly positive experiences, mind; I'm sure the various stresses and strains of my jobs these past five years have accelerated the ageing process and given me, oh, at least 30 or 40 strands of grey to call attention to themselves with reckless abandonment.

Still, while it's always more pronounced when my hair is about to be cut and there's more grey on view, at least - to my knowledge - I'm not losing any hair. Indeed, I remember once having a conversation with a barber who assured me that because my grandfather (on my mum's side) had a fine shock of hair until the day he died, I would be the same and would never go bald, unlike my dad, his brothers, his father, his grandfather and so on.

This sounded to me like an old wives' tale, more so because it was being spoken by somebody who bore a remarkable resemblance to an old wife. Any rate, it's good enough for me. Grey is and grey does, as John Major probably would have said, were he not too busy telling people to put up or shut up, and how, when your back is against the wall, the only thing you can do is turn round and start fighting.


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