Friday 13th July 2018
Reading time 03 minutes 47 seconds
And that’s what makes me cool, not caring, right? – Marge Simpson
Marge: Well, how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we’ve tried everything here.
Homer: Wait, Marge. Maybe if you’re truly cool, you don’t need to be told you’re cool.
Bart: Well, sure you do.
Lisa: How else would you know?
I’ve always wanted to be cool but I don’t know what cool is. Although I know what cool isn’t.
I first realised I wasn’t cool when I donned a Scooby Doo t-shirt on my secondary school’s ‘Jeans and Jumper’ day. Ironically if I went out in it in Shoreditch, along with my with glassless spectacle frames and beard, then I’d be hip AND cool but back then I was the little kid wearing a child’s t-shirt which seemed appropriate as I was actually a child.
I was, and am, short. Short is only cool if you’re a flight.
I live near a village named Cooling which is in Kent and not very cool. My cat sitter is named Ms. Cool and I’ve realised that a man who is so obsessed with his cats that he employs someone to look after them is the opposite of cool.
So how was I going to achieve my cool?
Let me tell you.
I was in India sitting in a travel agent when a hairless man pulled up alongside me and started talking. During the conversation he pulled out a disposable razor and he started to pull this across his head. Wow! He was shaving his impressive noggin, in a travel agent no less, and he looked cool, really cool.
I wanted a piece of that action and as I bid my new friend goodbye I told him he was inspirational and that I’d see him later. Immediately I marched to the nearest barber.
The barber’s chair was just a chair. A standard ordinary chair and I knew I was in India as the chair had no shop surrounding it. There were no luxuries like a receptionist to be rude to you, no magazines to make you feel bad about your lifestyle choices and no mirror in front of you so you can silently judge the person holding the scissors who is changing your look before your eyes.
Indian Barbers are very different to their UK counterparts. They are resourceful and have a ‘let’s just get the job done’ strategy. There is no chit chat and there is no questioning the desires of their clientele. Whatever the gentleman asks for he gets.
He sat me down and asked what I wanted.
“Shave it all off please sir.”
No ifs, no buts. Clippers. Grade zero. When he was done he lathered up my head and put his blade to my scalp. As he scraped every single follicle from my head I entered a dream state where I was Kojak and everyone respected me because I had made the brave decision to be bald.
It took about 12 minutes and we were done so I walked out of there. I say ‘out’, technically I was already outside so I just strolled away from the roadside chair and sign. I couldn’t see my haircut but I could feel it and it felt like liberation. No more visits to hairdressers as I was going to stay bald, and during conversations with very interesting people I would pull out a razor and shave my head. I’d finally found my cool thanks to my new inspirational friend.
I didn’t walk down the street I strutted.
In my mind I looked like Bruce Willis or The Rock or Vin Diesel, just shorter and with less muscles and a not so great smile. I also thought I looked like my new cool friend.
The more observant of you who know me, or have at least seen one of my pictures, will know that unlike my friend at the travel agent I was not and nor have I ever been black. It’s only my freckles that stop me being see through to how white I am.
Although I’d been in India for some months, and had a bit of colour on my face, the fact remained I was a red haired freckled kid and back then red-haired people were not respected like they are today. I was pioneering for the time though and essentially like Rosa Parks to the current day Ed Sheeran.
Then I finally got to a mirror. The person staring back at me was far from cool. My skull was scarred on both sides and had some pretty deep ridges. I later found out that these were from a doctor’s tongs when I became “stuck” apparently unwilling to leave my mum. I’d also never noticed the bumps before. Probably because until five minutes previously I’d been blessed with hair as thick as a Love Island contestant.
Later that day I was in the ocean trying to have a relaxing swim. My travel agent buddy swam up to me and said “Hey I noticed you from the other side of the beach, Cool Head Man!”
He said those exact words “Cool Head Man!”
Homer Simpson was right. If you are really cool you don’t need to be told but unfortunately for me I just had.
Picture: I spent hours looking through photos of me with the bald head and was unsuccessful. It was pre camera phone days so I guessing the picture was destroyed by the developer because it was just too bang on trend.
I will recreate the look though and post it then. This is me a few months later in New Zealand during an extra goofy teeth phase and is my first ever skydive.