“I did it my way.”
–My Way, song by Frank Sinatra
Back in the late eighties, long hair was somewhat in style among men. I knew this, of course, because my brother had let his hair grow long. All of his friends did. “The longness,” they called it. Well, you guessed it, us little guys grew ours too. So from about the 7th to the 8th grade, I had long hair (think mullet – very eighties). My hair always curled up and I could never get it past my neck (I blame the barber.). But my bro had long straight hair. I wished I had hair like his. A few years later, we both cut it off. And a few years later after that he starting balding: a receding hairline. “Crap,” I thought, “he wore glasses, and then I had to wear glasses. He’s going bald, so I probably will too.” I never asked him about it, but it must’ve been difficult for him. At least that’s what I thought by empathizing and putting myself in his shoes.
My bro comes home one night and I heard a bit of a commotion. I came out the room and saw his new do, or absence thereof: he shaved it all off. Kojak. This was before it was a popular thing to do. Man, was he brave. Most guys would’ve clinged to their hair as long as they could, but not my brother:
“Why’d you cut it off,” I asked?
“For what, so I can walk around with an egg-in-the-nest and look like a fool? I’d rather shave it all off.” And he did for twenty-something years, everyday.
Years later, other guys in the crew were going bald, and they decided to shave it all off too. By then it had become much more mainstream, but I always thought how much easier it must’ve been for them knowing my brother had already done it, years before they had even thought about it.
Louis: always his own man on his own terms.