A thorough retrospective.
In the late 1940s, an Alabama-native named Anne met and wed man named Wesley. A religious man, Wesley introduced Anne to his church – one of the many smaller arms of the protestant Christian faith which sprung from the Restoration Movement of the 1800s. Soon, Anne found herself “born again.” Wesley and Anne moved to Florida in the mid-1950s, soon after the birth of their middle child, a daughter, Gail. Gail inherited her parents’ faith, and after marrying and having her first child, a daughter, my wife, raised her in the church.
Sharaun, that daughter, my wife, grew up in that Southern conservative Christian tradition. When she turned nine, that daughter sought special permission to go to “Bible camp” a year before she should’ve been allowed to. For those, like me, who didn’t grow up in the Bible Belt, the notion of a “Bible camp” may sound odd (as it did to me). But, it’s really just a week-long summer camp with a healthy dose of Jesus. Sharaun, my wife, Gail’s daughter, Anne’s grand-daughter, loved Bible camp. She looked forward to it all year long, and went every year without fail – although they made her be a counselor instead of camper sometime around twenty years old.
It was at that Bible camp, about seventeen years ago, when Sharaun was a sophomore in highschool, she met a girl named Melissa when the two shared a cabin. Over the next few summers, Sharaun and Melissa would be yearly reunited at Bible camp. Around the very same time, although definitely not at Bible camp, Sharaun and I started dating. We’d met five years before that when we were in the sixth grade, but I’d fallen hard for her during that same summer she first met Melissa at Bible camp. I courted her during those months, eventually won a boyfriend audition as we started dating as we went into our junior year. The summer before our senior year, Sharaun brought me into the church in much the same way her grandfather did her grandmother.
Three years later, after a couple years of junior college for Sharaun, she and Melissa again shared a cabin at summer Bible camp and discovered that they were planning to attend the same state University. As it happened, I was also packing bags after two years of junior college and was bound for those same hallowed halls. Sharaun and I, while not having been together the entire time, had been dating for almost four years when all three of us – Melissa, Sharaun, and myself – converged on that university town to earn our degrees. The three of us spent three years together being educated, and I got to know Melissa as Sharaun did.
Sharaun and I got engaged in 1999. That next year we graduated, got married, and moved across the United States, to California, where I’d accepted a job offer. We kept in touch with Melissa and that first year we were here I surprised Sharaun by inviting her out for Christmas (we were poor beyond belief, using credit card cash advances to pay the rent month to month, and couldn’t go back to Florida as we’d wanted). Four years later, Melissa decided she wanted a change of scene and uprooted herself from Florida to move to Northern California. She’d consulted with Sharaun and I on the move, saying she wanted “something different” and taking advantage of an internal transfer through her employer. She showed up sometime in 2003 (her name is still on the mailbox).
Getting acclimated and looking for a place to stay, Melissa bunked in our guest room for her first month or two in California. Being co-located, our paths remained intertwined over the years and we stayed close. Ultimately, she’d end up buying a house just a stone’s throw from our place.
A few years ago Melissa walked up to a hulking man in a dive bar in the city and, boldly out of character, kissed him flush on the lips. A South African native, Charl was introduced to us as Melissa’s boyfriend a few months later. Charl, now Melissa’s fiancée, is a beast of man; larger than life, sometimes even intimidating in his ebullience. Charl is also bald, having begun shaving his head back in college when he discovered his hairline was no longer going to behave. Like he is with most everything, Charl is passionate about his baldness; and ever since I’ve known him he’s been working on converting me, proselytizing the bald lifestyle and all its associated merits. Hearing my woe over my thinning crown, he’d urge me to let him bring me into the fold. I like Charl, and have grown somewhat closer to him too.
Sometime in Spring this year, after a year or more humoring Charl about one day letting him shave my head, I relented and went through with it. It was after a few beers at an evening barbecue in our backyard. Fifteen minutes of buzzing and bic’ing and it was done.
Turns out Charl was right; I love being bald. Now that I’m hairless (at least on top), I’d not have it any other way. I shave every other day (with a razor, not electric); takes me about ten minutes extra in the shower.
And that’s the story of how I came to shave my head.
Goodnight, and thanks Mimi.