Hair today...

Portrait by Darren Cheewah. The animation reveals the original self-portrait the art is based on. Reload the page to view the animation again.

For the first time in a very long time, I managed to draw blood while pulling a razor across my skin.
I don’t have a lot of facial hair, since “grass don’t grow on bottle” as we say in these parts.
Still, stubble ain’t sexy and untended, it can lead to ingrown hairs, so every couple of days, I’ve been in the habit of running a razor across my face to clean up the straggling bits of growth that crop up rather casually.

Lately, though, particularly among folks who take note of stuff like one’s Facebook avatar, some may have noticed over the past couple of months that my normally close haircut has gotten a whole lot closer.
The change was dramatic enough to spawn a short thread on my new profile photo on the social media website.
Most dramatically, ace illustrator Darren Cheewah posted a lovely piece of vector art based on the new photo, a drive-by drawing, I quipped that was far superior to my rather smug bit of self-portraiture.

This public intervention by a few kind folks came as a bit of a surprise, rather like discovering a debate over my preferred brand of cornflakes (I eat a perfectly horrible breakfast of oats and chipped dried fruit, thank you) and stoked my curiosity about how folks respond to apparently pointless personal details offered online.
My razored head happened quite by chance. A couple of years ago, my longtime barber closed up shop, admitting that his eyesight wasn’t as reliable as he would have liked.

He could probably have continued doing my haircut for years more, since was basically an even stroke from front to back with the clippers.
The household management offered to take over the task, and I bought a hefty pair of Conair clippers after reading several reviews for competing products at Amazon.
So until February this year, we had a regular date roughly three times a week to cut 21 days of growth back to something manageable.

Last year, though, my barber noticed that after cutting into both sides of my hair, a funky mohawk remained. I’d done a mohawk decades ago for Carnival, and we decided that 2013 would be a good year to do it again.
We both forgot, and on Carnival Sunday we were back to the same place we were the year before, the planned mohawk blowing across the floor.
“Hey,” the management said, “why don’t we shave it off?”

So I did, and I’ve been doing so for the last couple of months, discovering what it’s really like to shave through hair.
First, I found that double bladed disposable razors wouldn’t, and you must excuse this, cut it. They worked just fine for my sparsely populated cheeks and neck, but faltered badly on fast growing scalp hair.

A sample triple bladed razor in my big pack o’disposables offered a hint of the solution though. So my next purchase was a five-bladed Fusion razor. Score. The five bladed beast sliced through my head growth leaving behind nothing but smooth scalp.
Until Sunday night, when I decided to push an old Fusion cartridge too far and discovered just what a razor past its prime does. Pressing down a bit too hard to get more bite into the five-day old growth, I managed to lop off a neat centimeter’s worth of scalp and start a boxing class flow of blood down my forehead and into my eyebrow.

After a couple of seconds of examining the wound the mirror and imagining myself a sa cinematically bloodied Apollo Creed, I hustled off to get the Dettol.
So after years of shaving, I’m learning how to shave for the first time. First lesson? Replace the damn razor when the indicator says it’s done and don’t try to be cheap. Second? Don’t keep the antiseptic all the way in the back of the cupboard anymore.
More lessons to come, I’m sure.
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