Doing some writing apart from Raw Candor. Still here, still grateful for all the support I have received from the Raw beginning. Much love.
Fifty to sixty percent of men over the age of sixty are bald; by age seventy only one in five have a full head of hair. These statistics mean that a veritable army of men worldwide closely resembles my ex-husband.
Early in our courtship, and ensuing marriage I was able to pick him out in a crowd. His casual style of dressing didn’t differentiate him from other guys his age, and it wasn’t his timeless business attire that distinguished him from other executives. I was able to spot my partner anywhere because of the shape and texture of his particular bald spot.
He might have been waiting for me in the lobby of a crowded theater during intermission, or he might have been standing at the bar of a popular restaurant, waiting for me to arrive. But regardless of the location, or the distance between us, I was always able to identify my husband in a crowd.
Some men struggle with hair loss in their teens. My ex-husband was among them; twenty percent lose their hair before high school graduation. Research indicates that the earlier the loss begins the more drastic, and acute it will be.
Dr. Ivan Cohen, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine states “What happens in male pattern hair loss is that the growing cycle becomes shorter so the hair does not grow as long as it once did. It becomes finer, and eventually the growth cycle is eliminated.”
Early in our marriage the interaction between us began to echo male pattern hair loss. The tender connection that bound us together was weakening. We were losing the grip on our relationship, as surely as the hairs that we found on his pillowcase almost every morning, or the ones we collected from the shower drain on a daily basis.
We were able to brush off the pillowcase, or change the linens, and clean the drain to make it seem as if nothing had been lost. In keeping with the pretense, we continued to disguise the fact that our marriage was losing ground, much the same as a man might begin to wear a “comb-over” to hide the obvious, but the obvious can’t be disguised. However, our marriage lasted for six more years.
I saw him in court, or at school functions, and other sundry locations where our children would be. Our difficult divorce resulted in a less than casual friendly relationship. I needed to ramp up my indifference toward seeing him each time I knew that we’d be in the same place at the same time.
Looking much the same as he did when we were married, it was easy to recognize him at a distance, so that I could steel myself for our encounters. Sometime after me, but before wife number two he shaved his head, along with countless other middle-aged men. The characteristics of baldness which once made it easy to tell one man from the other have been all but obliterated. Now everyone has a glistening clean-shaven head. God help me, now “he’s” everywhere.
No longer can a wife or girlfriend find her bald mate distinguished by his hairstyle. Whether a man was once identified by his comb-over, thinning crown, a dangling stringy ponytail, or the sparse clumps of hair that form an identifiable pattern on his head, women used to be able to say “there he is, I’d know him anywhere.” Gone are the days when a significant other can identify her partner at fifty paces.
Nowadays I see my ex-husband everywhere. I see him at least three times a day, middle-aged bald guys are everywhere, and they all wear the same thing. Sporting fashion neutral clothing, accessorized by either wire rimmed, or rimless glasses, it’s almost impossible to tell one from the other.
Maybe I’ll eventually date one of the five guys that have a full head of hair. But now, his third wife will have to use some kind of identification system other than the one I once used.
Paintings of bald men, blonde woman, and the clown – Jill Slaughter
Paintings by Dusty Boynton: Scream & Whirl
I Thought You Were Someone Else – Barbara Kruger
To commemorate the twelve years that have passed since September 11, 2001
American Airlines heavily fueled flight number 11 en route from Boston to Los Angeles struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. on Tuesday September 11, 2001. A second aircraft, United flight 175, also bound for Los Angeles crashed into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. The catastrophic structural damage caused both towers to collapse within two hours, and thereby marked the last ordinary day for the world.
Franciscan friar Father Mychal Judge, native New Yorker and chaplain to the New York City Fire Department arrived shortly after impact, and while thousands fled the burning buildings Father Mychal, who lived his life bound by the Franciscan motto “My God and My All” went inside. His was the first body to be released from ground zero. His death certificate was number one. When asked why Father Mychal was given this distinction, his devoted friend and colleague Father Michael Duffy answered, “Mychal’s goal and purpose in life was to bring the firemen to the point of death so they would be ready to meet their maker. Mychal Judge could not have ministered to them all. It was physically impossible – in this life.
In the next few weeks, we’re going to have name after name of people who are being brought out of that rubble. And Mychal Judge is going to be on the other side of death – to greet them, instead of send them there. And so, this morning we come to bury Myke Judge’s body, but not his spirit. We come to bury his voice, but not his message. We come to bury his hands, but not his good works. We come to bury his heart, but not his love. Never his love.”
Construction of the Twin Towers took six years and 400 million dollars. A terrorist attack reduced the massive structures to rubble in a matter of hours, and left 2,753 people dead.
And so for all those lost – we love them still.
There was no Barbie Dream house in the corner of my childhood bedroom, and I didn’t covet the tremendous collection of Barbies, Kens and Skippers that my neighbor had. Her color-coded categorized collection of evening-wear, swimwear, and casual wear held no interest for me. I was a no nonsense, matter-of-fact kind of kid, more interested in real world events than in creating make-believe experiences.
Staging a Barbie and Ken wedding never ever crossed my mind, and I didn’t envision myself as a bride, until I met the man that became my husband. By the end of our first date I knew we’d get married. A single occurrence can sometimes catapult you directly into your future, and on rare occasions something can happen to change your life forever.
Change can sometimes be planned, but more often than not it unhinges reality with thunderous immediacy. It’s not gracious, or pretty, and it has no regard for your willingness, or acceptance to do things differently. Transitions typically evolve over time, allowing for preparation, maybe even procrastination or avoidance. Transitions are characteristically gradual and don’t usually evoke unbridled emotion.
My contract specified that it was time to change from my iPhone4 to an iPhone5. Notwithstanding the fact that I’d never accomplished navigating the “4” with the swiftness that would have earned me the title of “power user,” I was adept enough at using my phone, and was indifferent about wireless communication. Having about as much interest in learning to use the new version as I had in planning that Barbie wedding, I dreaded the inevitable swap from i4 to i5.
What could have been a smooth transition from 4 to 5 was interrupted by my unexpected need to have a non-illness, but necessary surgery. Might that not have happened, I would have been able to leisurely read about the differences between the two phones prior to the trade-in. But two weeks in the hospital and three months at home to recover left me so addle-brained that I wasn’t even capable of using the remote to turn on the DVD player to switch from TV to video to watch a movie in bed. Enervated, and with a reduced capacity for logical thinking, it would have been unthinkable and impossible to learn about using the iPhone5.
Easing back into daily routine, albeit with an unsteady gait I finally resolved to go see my favorite phone salesman and ask him to help me with what I viewed as a chore. It took hours for our customary question and answer session, along with additional time to transfer data. I traded in my iPhone 4, left with the 5. Exhausted, I was asleep 15 minutes after walking into my apartment.
After five or six days I began to like the phone, and even had fun with it. The all-purpose, always-reliable Evernote I had used for dictation and reminders on the 4 had been traded in. And like a kid that throws over his bike with training wheels to enjoy the freedom of a two-wheeler, I summarily abandoned the once trusted Evernote for the newer model voice responsive Siri. The seductive dulcet tone inside the phone responded politely to the sound of my voice. Siri is brilliant, responsive, attentive, and always available. Perfect, maybe my interface with Siri would lubricate my rusty romantic relationship muscles and be useful in preparing me to look for those characteristics in a perspective human partner.
And then the inevitable, the realization that Siri is fallible. Sometimes “she” doesn’t understand what I’m saying, and “she” frequently misinterprets something. It’s not unusual for me to have to repeat myself, hoping that Siri will accept and respond to enunciated information. I’ve ended encounters with her in frustration. I’ve tabled conversations in exasperation, only to realize that “she” isn’t real, and that I’m the one controlling the interchange. Our mechanical, technical tête-à-tête isn’t really a conversation at all. But knowing that I want to be understood and make things work, I go back, thinking it will be different the next time.
Promising myself that this time I’ll speak more clearly. This time she’ll know and appreciate the subtleties of my voice and finish my sentences. I’ll hold her with just the right touch so that she’ll be immediately responsive. This is a relationship of sorts, and therefore inherently flawed. Works great when it works, and at other times a meeting of the minds requires increased effort and forgiveness. The complexities of being involved only confirm that it’s vital to say what you need and want, and that some times are better than others, but ultimately it’s a choice to be willing to participate.
All things being equal the 5 and I will be together until my next contract ends, at which time I’ll surely be offered an upgrade. The ease and fluency of Siri will most likely be included in the next generation of iPhone, making the transition that much easier for those of us who’ve become accustomed to having her around. By the end of our two years together we will have either worked out the kinks and come to accept the imperfections of being together, or the eagerness to exchange 5 for the next model will be highly anticipated.
After 18 years apart my ex-husband recently sent me an email that was not in its entirety informational, or analytical. He and I weren’t able to seamlessly transition from being married to getting divorced. The change in our relationship was catastrophic, if not brutal, but perhaps now we’re due for an upgrade.
Heart of the Matter – Don Henley
…I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore
These times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
…People filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age
The trust and self-assurance that can lead to happiness
They’re the very things we kill, I guess
Pride and competition cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us,
Doesn’t keep me warm…
There’s always a choice to be willing to participate. Always… What choices are you making?
To read about my initial introduction to the iPhone read Nelson and I broke up:
Love|Hate – Iam Tmnk http://www.menobodyknows.com/nobodyblog/
Dolls, Painting of Groom, Hearts, and “Over Time” – Jill Slaughter
Photography – Jill Slaughter