By Jason Menard
It finally happened. The last, slender thread that tied me to the thought of youthfulness has been severed. And the instrument that finally cut the cord? A nose-hair trimmer.
I’ve jumped the shark. Really, when you’ve made the purchase of something to remove what is delicately referred to as “unsightly hair,” there’s no turning back. Although I’m not yet at the point where I’m buying sans-a-belt slacks that come up over my navel, I’m certainly much closer today than I was last week.
Physically, I’m still young – or youngish, at least. At only 31 I really don’t have a right to be complaining about aging. In fact, those of you older than me are probably thinking – rightfully so – that I should quit my bellyachin’ and be happy with what I’ve got.
And I am… It’s just that an emotional threshold has been crossed. I’ve had friends who found turning 30 difficult, but I was not one of them. At 30 – and even at 31, until what I’d like to refer to as the Remington Incident – I embraced my youthfulness. But now, emotionally, I’ve come to a crossroads in my life. It seems that getting to the point where shaving and hair cuts are no longer enough in terms of grooming is nature’s way of letting you know where you stand.
I handled the graying at the temples with aplomb, turning to Maurice Richard for inspiration (“I keep a touch of gray at the sides – my wife likes it!) I battled the bulge and am now in better physical shape than I was at 21. And while marriage and two children have matured me, I was still able to retain a semblance of youthfulness in my mind.
But now that’s changed – and it all started so innocently. Recently, walking through one of those ubiquitous grocery store/mega stores looking for a hair dryer I picked up a “personal trimmer,” and looked at it with amusement. That was, at least, until my wife peered over my shoulder and said, “That’s a great idea, you should get one of those!”
Now, I’ve never been overly hirsute. I’ve never been afflicted with the monobrow and my back is relatively free of hair. Sure, I’ve got chest hair but nothing out of the ordinary. And maybe my 5:00 shadow tends to show up a little earlier. I’ve been able to make jokes about my appearance for years – saying the wisps of hair that grace my neckline are, in fact, reinforcements on the way to battle the receding hair line! But when my wife suggested that I was in need of extra grooming, I was a bit taken aback.
I tried to laugh it off, but she persisted, her delicate finger pointing towards my previously pristine (or so I thought) proboscis. It was at that moment, with a simple gesture of caring for my appearance that those last vestiges of youthfulness drifted away. I had reached the point of no return.
Really, I should have seen it coming. If I haven’t fully embraced the concept of metrosexuality, I am aware of it presence and I don’t go out of my way to ignore its teachings. I’ve watched Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and taken a few mental notes. But I was blinded by this follicular revelation.
In fact, my wife’s even tried to gracefully prepare me for this moment. A few months back, she caught sight of an overly-ambitious eyebrow hair that didn’t know its place in life. I had always assumed that eyebrows were like a little socialist collective – all working together on an equal level to do whatever their job it is to do. But no, one decided to aspire to be something greater than it was – perhaps looking for a promotion to the scalp – and needed to be plucked. And there, I thought I was done.
But no, The Remington Incident (as I type this, it’s growing in importance to me – hence the capitalization of the T) begat the savage pillaging of the facial hair. It seems my socialist collective of eyebrows spawned a few breakaway republics which just didn’t do. And my wife, seeing my acquiescence to the concept of more fastidious personal grooming, leapt upon me with tweezers in hand.
Alas, I can see this is just the beginning of another – much more painful — stage in my life. If I can adjust to the concept of self-inflicted pain (is there no better way to remove hair than forcefully plucking it from its happy home?), I can adjust to my transition out of youth.
Because now the nose knows the truth. We go through many stages of life, many of which we mark in terms of achievements: a first day at school, getting your drivers’ licence, voting, a first home – but maybe a better indicator of where we are is as plain as the nose hair on our face!
And don’t think I haven’t started to keep an eye on my ears – I’m not ready for a mid-life crisis just yet!
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