Friday, June 5, 2009

Tattoo Removal and Enforced Baldness: Misadventures in Symbolism

A friend of mine recently had a tattoo removed. It left a massive scar on the back of her neck that basically still advertises the band Nine Inch Nails. Who knew, when she got it fifteen years ago, that one day she might not quite be as into Nine Inch Nails?

I have received so much joy from making fun of her about this, but then I got to thinking...


When I was nineteen, I started shaving my head. To me, this was a symbol of my own spiritual and social code. I grew up watching a lot of the Kung Fu television series (R.I.P. David Carradine, and I hope you paid the underage prostitute first), and I wanted everyone to know that I was different.
After about a year of shaving my head, I decided that I would be doing it for the rest of my life, and it was a lot of shaving, so I came up with an idea: Permanent hair removal.
Before we continue, let me describe an epilator to you.
An epilator is a device that uses a giant vibrating spring to rip the hairs out of your legs, etc. Another feature of the expensive ones is that they electrocute the hair follicles right before ripping the hairs from the follicles. Many women regularly go through this mind-bogglingly painful experience to remove unsightly leg and bikini line (!) hairs.
Continuing on...
I ordered one of these neat little devices from a magazine and let my hair grow out to a stubble. One day, I sauntered into my bathroom, plugged the epilator in, applied the epilator to my scalp, and proceeded to scream like a little girl.
Something you might not know about head hair is that it is much more firmly rooted than, say, leg hair. The result was that it failed to pull out my head hair, and simply started to try and rip open my scalp while repeatedly electrocuting me. The scene I viewed of myself in the bathroom mirror looked rather like a Mr. Bean sketch, with me desperately trying anything I could think of to remove the device, such as bracing myself on the sink with my foot even though that provided no leverage. It was a couple of minutes before it occurred to me to unplug the device.

I continued to shave my head for another eleven years. Now I have a head of hair that elicits Fabio or Jesus jokes on a regular basis. If my little plan had worked, I would never again have been able to grow this sexy head of hair.

My blog is supposed to be about unorthodox self improvement, so I try to have a point to each blog entry. I completely made up the part about the friend with the tattoo so i could tell you about my epilation incident and pretend that the moral is something about not judging others. The End.

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