You know those times when your brain tells you something is a good idea, but it actually isn't? - I had one of those this weekend.
As anyone who knows me will confirm, I don't have much hair. I have a receding hairline, and a bald spot on the crown of my head. At the moment, where my fringe used to be (many moons ago) there is now a hair "peninsula" - and this in due time will be come a island of hair towards the front of the top of my head.
But that won't happen for a while. In the meantime, I like to keep my hair short, because it looks better. If I let it get too long, I end up with "panda ears" - clumps of hair that stick up like, well like panda ears.
So yesterday I decided to clipper my hair. I have my own set of clippers, and have been doing my hair for a long time now. I have a system set up, which involves me naked from the waist up, kneeling over my rubbish bin in my kitchen with a hand mirror in one had, and the clippers in the other. Not surprisingly, the whole process takes very little time. I have the clippers set on their closest setting - a grade "0" I believe - without guards or anything.
The plan yesterday was to clipper my hair, then have a shave, and then a shower. The clipping complete, I started to shave. However I noticed that I had missed a few rogue strands of hair just above my temple. For a moment I thought about having to get the clippers out again (having just put them away), and going over my entire head to root out any hairs that had survived the original clipping. I only thought that for a moment, before a much better idea (or so it seemed) pushed that thought out of the way and presented itself to me in all its glory:
Why not use my wet shave razor to remove the rogue hairs from my temple?
Before I had even had a chance to think this through, my brain sent an electrical impulse to the muscles in my left arm and hand, and they picked up the razor and scythed downwards across my template, obliterating those hairs that had dared to defy me and my clippers. A job well done, my brain thought. And then it saw my head.
True, the few hairs that had bravely stood in defiance were gone. However, so was the surrounding area of clipped hair. Like thousands of buffalo cutting a huge swathe through the American mid-west in the 1800's, there was now a patch on my head where nothing grew. A patch the width of a Gillette Mac 3 disposable razor, and about 4 inches down.
My arm and hand dropped the razor like it was red hot and just hung by my side limply, like a guilty child that has been caught in the act. I looked at the patch in my hair, and I knew what this meant. it meant that not only did I now have to wet shave my entire head, but it also meant that I really should make an appointment to have the "that's a good idea" area of my brain removed as soon as possible.
I don't know if you have ever had to wet shave your entire head before, but if not let me tell you - it's not that easy.
Firstly, you are shaving a part of your body that isn't used to being shaved. The skin wherever you regularly shave (faces for men, legs and armpits for women) over time becomes used to being shaved and gets less irritated by the shaving. My head was not one of these places, so I could only get a couple of passes with the razor in before it started to irritate and hurt.
Secondly, the contours of your head are different to the contours of the areas that you normally shave. I could shave myself with my eyes shut in terms of knowing the contours of my face and how much pressure to apply, but on my head, I kept nicking my self which only added to the irritation and pain.
Thirdly, you have to go over it several times to be sure that you haven't missed any spots. When I shave my face, I'm looking in the mirror so I can see what I am doing. No such luxury when it comes to the top of my head.
But I had no choice, so I got on with it. Several minutes, and half a can of shaving gel later, I was finished. I hopped into the shower, and cursed loudly and the hot water stung every cut and nick on my scalp. Luckily, I had done a good enough job, and no further treatment was required.
It's a weird feeling, being completely devoid of hair. My scalp felt very hot (cos most of the heat we lose goes out through our head), and yet clammy at the same time. I kept feeling it with my hand throughout the rest of the day.
And already, one day later the hair is growing back. My head feels like it is made of really fine grain sandpaper - which is ironic when you consider that there is nothing by sawdust inside it.
So take my advice - if you think something is a good idea, just stop and think about the consequences before you act.