When Rob and I met, he had what I think would be considered a healthy, full head of hair. Granted, it was styled in a traditional Marine-issue-high-and-tight, but nevertheless he had quite a bit to work with.
And since Being a Marine was what he did for a living back then, his coif required bi-weekly touch-ups. So, every other Saturday morning he would take off for the barbershop.
Sometimes as he kissed me goodbye, he would kid me saying, “Maybe I’ll just shave it all off this time.” And I would laugh and rub his head whilst reminding him what a bad idea that would be on the grounds that I suspected his cranium might be shaped like a Sleestak’s.
He must have had the same suspicion since he always came home with at least some hair on his head.
Fast forward to a few months ago when I walked in on Rob standing in the bathroom scrutinizing his hairline from all angles with a handheld mirror. From the look on his face, I could tell he had just realized what the rest of us have known for a year or more: That his receding hairline was VERY NEARLY UNITED with his bald spot.
As in: hairline and bald spot are engaged, with the wedding approaching fast. And the two shall become one. Amen.
He looked very depressed and was mumbling something about how he’ll wake up one day soon old and fat with man boobs and HAIR EVERYWHERE EXCEPT HIS HEAD and I tried to reassure him that nonono baby, you’re still HOT, and men just get sexier as they age, and I’D STILL DO YOU, and blahblahblah. But I guess it didn’t help because thus commenced his Daily Cursing of the Follicles and more crazytalk about shaving it all off.
Minus the kidding tone.
This went on until one morning a few weeks ago when Rob appeared in the doorway of our bedroom and boldly declared that he was “ready to do it.”
My first instinct was to fake a headache, but I quickly noticed he was holding our electric clippers and realized what he meant because electric clippers aren’t usually part of our “boudoir repertoire” as it were.
Curling irons maybe.
I leapt out of bed and ran into the bathroom behind him because I knew he needed my moral support and I have to stand by my man.
Plus I’ve never been one to look away from a trainwreck about to happen.
Rob turned on the clippers and stood dead still. I began chanting go go go GO GO!GO!GO! but he suddenly shut off the clippers and tossed them down on the counter without having even touched a single one of his [five] hairs.
“I can’t do it,” he said in exasperation, “You do it.”
A tempting offer, to be sure, but not without risks. I could foresee this whole thing going very wrong and Bald Rob becoming the butt of endless jokes and taunts and next thing you know he’s telling the story like it was all my idea and after a few years of telling it that way he convinces himself that it really was my idea and even when it’s just the two of us behind closed doors he blames me for giving him The Haircut That Ruined His Life and then I put a pillow over his head and smother him in his sleep (since his life was all ruined anyway) and I go to prison for life without parole and then WHO WILL RAISE MY CHILDREN?
I figured we’re pretty much all stocked up in the Blame and Resentment Department around here so I politely declined to be an active participant in the process.
At this point, Emma, the five-year-old, tuned-in from her perch — a barstool in the kitchen where she was eating some strawberry yogurt — and came to see what was going on in the bathroom. (On a related note, that kid has a sixth sense for knowing when anything is going on in the bathroom. I can’t even pluck an eyebrow without an audience.)
Rob motioned her over and stood her up on the vanity stool. He handed her the clippers and said “Emma. Shave Daddy’s head.” Which was a brilliant idea really since her hairstyling résumé includes two previous asymmetrical whack-jobs to her own mane.
She’s a PRO.
Emma giggled, and I detected a somewhat lunatic sparkle in her eyes as she picked up the clippers and made a single pass right down the middle of Rob’s scalp, forehead-to-crown.
Kind of a reverse Mohawk.
And apparently exactly the statement she wanted to make since she then put the clippers down and skipped off to the family room to help that bonehead Steve find the third Blue’s Clue.
Defeated and all alternatives exhausted, Rob finished the job himself.
And died a little on the inside when he was finished.
Because he looked exactly like a Sleestak.
But a HOT Sleestak.
(Originally published 4/1/08.)