by Karen Topakian
When my father met my mother in the summer of 1948, he sported an attractive head of thick, dark, wavy hair. Within a few years, he had succumbed to male pattern baldness – a dramatically receding hairline accompanied by finer, shorter thinner hair forming a U shaped pattern.
Despite his hair loss, my father kept going to the barber and not just any barber but Pete the barber whom he had frequented since high school.
“I need to get my ears lowered,” said my father on a Friday night using a colloquial expression from the 1940s. “But it’s too cold to get a haircut.”
My father shivered as he spoke
“What difference does the weather make?” wondered my mother while putting away the groceries.
“I’ll stop at Pete’s tomorrow on the way home from the shop.”
“Didn’t you just get a haircut?” asked my mother as she neatly slid a box of crackers into an empty space in the kitchen cupboard.
“It’s getting long.”
My mother shot him a quizzical look
“I can feel it growing over my ears,” he chided her while tugging at imperceptible hairs.
She squinted at his head for a moment and shrugged.
“Seems like the longer you’ve been going to him, the less hair you have.”
“At least I don’t have to carry a comb anymore,” he declared proudly.
The next day, as my father brushed past my mother on his way to the coat closet, he harrumphed. “Pete raised his prices fifty cents.”
My mother studied his thinning hair and said, “He should be charging you less. Next time why don’t you ask him to charge you by the hair.”