There is the knowledge, always there in every mirror and every Facebook tag, that it is inevitable.
Every shower reminds you of it, every hoodie put up, every beanie pulled down, every brim curved just so, reminds you that your hair is fading. Retreating. Dying.
Which, in and of itself, is fine. This is the way of things, the nature of the universe. The world will take your hair away, strand by strand.
What’s terrifying is knowing that you will have to, at some point, decide that the fight is over. You will surrender, on your own terms, and shave your head. You will keep your beard, maybe get it down to a goatee, and then you will look like Stone Cold Steve Austin, but flabby, which is kind of the opposite of what Stone Cold is all about.
You’ll have to do it, go right at it with the razor, knowing that there is no going back to running your fingers through your hair, knowing the last time a woman grabbed your hair by its roots had already happened, and that you probably hadn’t even appreciated it. There’ll be the moment when the hair will start to tumble down off you in clumps as the clippers howl a swan song.
That’s when you will know that you have taken matters into your own hands. (You can’t just let it wither and die).
You will reassert your autonomy, your humanity, your power to control your environment, all at once. You will be refusing to engage in an agonizing campaign of attrition against the inevitable. So you’ll trim it down to stubble with the clippers, and then finish the job with the razor on bare skin. There might be a little blood. You’ll be choosing to cut your losses, to blow up the bridges, to burn your own crops. You’ll set the oil fields on fire, and watch the flame grab at heaven from the tops of the derricks, burning the night apart.
You will leave nothing behind.
You’re going to have to shave your head. It’ll be a woman who does it, who convinces you. One who swears she’ll love you after it’s all gone. Who gives you the courage.
Or maybe it will be the next one who convinces you. The one you don’t know yet, the one waiting for you to rip up the carpets and find out what’s underneath before she walks into your life.