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Oddchester: Hair falls as 'baby' grows

Small children have such marvelous and wonderful gifts!

Why, they can find amazement and joy in something as simple as a shiny pebble! They can use their precious and ever-expanding minds to create a world of wonderment through their darling stories!

And their innocent honesty, through a simple sentence, carries the adorable ability to destroy an adult's self confidence.

With such a tiny voice!

Here's an example: Most mornings, about 7 a.m., daughter Emma, 6, crawls into our bed to, inevitably, check on the progress of my bald spot.


It's all very clinical, with Emma searching through my hair with her tiny fingers, very much like you see chimpanzees doing to each other. Except that chimps are removing plant debris, dead skin and ticks.

It is at about this time that my recurring dream kicks in — the one in which I am a chimp with a head full of plant debris, dead skin and ticks.

Luckily, I awake from that depressing nightmare to hear Emma saying something like, "Yep, it's getting worse. You can really see the tiny bumps where each hair should be."

I didn't, prior to Emma pointing it out, even realize I had a bald spot. Now, apparently, I not only have a bald spot, but a bald spot that grows markedly bigger every night.

"I really think you need to get Bosley," she tells me. "You could be just like the man on that commercial. I mean, he goes from being really sad because of his bald spot. But after he gets Bosley he is laughing and swimming on a beach. Then that woman is running her fingers through his hair. Maybe if you got Bosley YOU could go swimming on a beach. Then maybe Mom would run her fingers through YOUR hair."

She also makes a point of commenting on where my hair is growing that it shouldn't be. Especially my ears, apparently, and my eyebrows, which she has described as "jungle-ish."

Then, maybe because she feels bad about all of the subtle jabs of my physical appearance, Emma regularly ends the morning by patting my stomach and asking if my baby slept well last night.

That is how I get to start most days.


Times have changed, apparently for the worse, when it comes to my hair and my kids. When my daughter Hadley was 6 (she's now 14), my hair apparently was so thick and luscious that she regularly asked me to be the customer in her pretend hair salon. She asked me more than she asked Lindy, even.

Hadley, as the stylist, would begin each session with a harsh but realistic assessment of my current look. My skin, she would tell me, looked dull. My hair looked dead.

And while I appreciated her candor, it stung a little, even as a grown man, to be told my eyebrows were "completely unacceptable."

She never, though, mentioned anything about a bald spot.

She would then go about correcting my problems. My hair was brushed then styled with handfuls of a product that is described as "hair gel for kids," though it looked and felt very much like straight petroleum jelly mixed with large amounts of glitter. My cheeks and forehead and eye areas were brushed and rubbed and painted with various powders and liquids in the form of blush and rouge and eye shadow.

When Hadley was done she would give me a tiny mirror and tell me how beautiful I looked. Even my eyebrows.

Good enough, back then, to run along the beach with Lindy running alongside me, running her fingers through my long, flowing hair.

Steve Lange is the editor of Rochester Magazine. His column appears every Tuesday.

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