Donald Trump will be saved from a comb over, perhaps
Scientists have successfully grown patches of human hair on mice. The Times says this is a big step towards a cure for baldness and will allow scientists to generate ‘a limitless supply of hair follicles’.
I don’t think it’s fair to treat mice as unpaid toupee surrogates. But baldness is the most popular male neurosis after the Oedipus complex so it’s no surprise corporations spend so much time and money trying to cure it.
As I sip my morning tea, I wonder what a limitless supply of hair follicles looks like? The wheat belt of North America? The paddy fields of Asia? Will we see fields of hair follicles sprouting along the motorway as if the entire English countryside had become an outdoor advert for L’Oréal hair products?
Will there be ‘Pick Your Own’ Follicle Farms?
Perhaps hair follicle science will be a big winner in a post Brexit Britain? Cut loose from European red tape, our scientists will make Global Britain the number one destination for balding men seeking a cure for baldness. I’m wondering if I one day I’ll get the chance to shop at a ‘Pick Your Own’ hair follicle farm when Mother perks up.
‘You look like a strawberry,’ she says.
I put the paper down. She’s been telling me I look like a strawberry for a couple of days.
‘I don’t like you looking that ugly,’ she says. ‘Red. Bald. Your haircut makes you look like a criminal.’
I don’t know how to reply. Unfortunately, I can’t write this off as her dementing or poor eyesight. It’s an accurate observation because my wife has cropped my hair so short that I look like a 19th century prisoner and my clumps of close-cropped grey hair could pass for the seeds on the outside of a strawberry. My head is sunburnt red and the shape of my head is like a strawberry. I have come to terms with this, my mother has not.
Did Robert the Bruce tell the Scottish army they had shit haircuts?
But does she have to bring this over breakfast? Will her comments help me face the working day with more or less self confidence? Would the Scots have won at Bannockburn if Robert the Bruce had told his troops they had shit haircuts on the morning of the battle? Of course, he didn’t.
There’s a Moorish proverb which says: ‘Every beetle is a gazelle in the eyes of its Mother.’ Clearly, my Mother doesn’t believe it. But I forgive her. Alongside her frustration is a hint of sadness which suggest there’s a place in her heart for me where she still cares, even if it is unhelpful to compare me now to an idealized version of me from yesteryear.
Mother steps out of the kitchen. The dishwasher fills up.
‘It’s good she feels empowered to speak out,’ says my wife, consolingly.
‘You said one of the joys of leaving home was your parents couldn’t tell you what to wear or how to look anymore. This morning proves all you’ve done in thirty years is recreate the exact situation you wanted to get away,’ says my son.
‘Your father is simply encouraging free speech, more fool him,’ says my wife, supportively.
‘Don’t you think it’s slightly ironic, though? Doesn’t it make you a bit of a loser,’ says my son, gently twisting the knife.
‘I like to think we’ve created a family environment where everyone is free to speak their mind openly. Like a Speakeasy,’ I say.
‘In which case, can I submit a photo of your burnt head to a website I like?’ says my son.
‘Which one?’ asks my wife.
‘One where they post pictures of fruit and veg which look like human beings. It’s really funny and they might take one of Dad’s head looking like a strawberry.’