Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
The other Robert in our house decided to get shorn. For years he has proudly worn his carefully curled (by Mom each morning) locks, standing in front of the mirror for what seemed to me a shameful amount of time. Think of him in the recent past as a younger version of Manny Ramirez... or, for those of us who can remember a certain blue drinking glass cherished in every 1930's cupboard, an updated masculine version of everyone's sweetheart, little Shirley Temple.
But, alas (or hooray, depending on your stylistic preferences), Robert decided it was time to cut it close to the skull. In an upside down version of the Samson legend, the haircut, I suspect, was part of his overall design to be stronger and faster. His Delilah clips at a shop at Bishops Corner, where his mother, unlike mine, did not gather up a curl or two for memory's sake.
This dramatic sartorial development caused the older Robert in our house to ponder his hirsute way in the world. Once, long long ago, I had dark brown, almost black, wavy locks, so generously piled atop my head the barber, a recent immigrant from Italy, paused while snipping my waves and commented, "Molto cappelleri"... which I later deciphered from a pasta container must mean, "Lots of hair."
My tousled top came a cropper in college, and not for any reason as independent as Robert twin's. For me the switch from molto cappelleri to brush back short hair was conformity, to the prevailing preppy image at college. Oh, for four years I did steadfastly refuse to wear a grey flannel suit, but I did cave a tad and wore white bucks and a partable crew with nary a hint of the Wildroot Cream Oil so necessary previously.
Nowadays I comb my hair with a washcloth. My barbera shaves my mangy top hair once a month, to keep me from looking like a cross between Grandpa Moses and a Rug Rat.
There are compensations.
God no longer has to spend very much time numbering my hairs.
Head and Shoulders lasts twice as long.
Middle-aged people show me deference.
And hat hair is rarely an issue.
For young Robert too: now that he is as close to being bald as he will be for the next thirty-five years, he can wear baseball hats and do-rags and any other topper which previously could not contain his curls. And maybe he can, with his lighter pate, clip a few seconds off his time in the 400 meter dash.