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Son, I Think It's Time by BaldSurfer


My dad started shaving his head before I was born. I never imagined him having hair. He shaved it every day so I never even saw a hint of hair on his head. Once, when I was a kid, I asked him why he shaved his head and he said "Tony, we're Tomassino men. We're handsome, we're hairy but we go bald early. I decided pretty early that bald was better than balding and I shaved my head every day since. You'll understand soon enough."

The summer before I started sixth grade, puberty kicked in fast. My legs were covered in thick black hair, and my pits were getting pretty bushy. None of my friends had even started developing and they were pretty envious. A week before school started, my dad handed me a bag from the drug store and said "Son, I think it's time." I looked in the bag and pulled out a deodorant stick. "You're becoming a man now, Tony. A Tomassino man. You need to start paying attention to hygiene. You need to shower every day and use that deodorant so you don't sweat and stink." He showed me how to apply it and I took his advice.

A few months later, on my twelfth birthday, after I opened all my other presents, my dad handed me one more box. I tore off the wrapping paper and inside was an electric razor. He smiled and said, "Son, I think it's time. That fuzz on your upper lip has got to go. Those little black chin hairs too/" I told him I liked my mustache. None of the other kids could grow one yet, so I was proud of mine. My dad pointed to the thick, dense mustache and goatee on his own face and said "THIS is a mustache. What you have is dirt. Don't worry. You'll be able to grow one of these pretty soon. You're a Tomassino man. But for now, you need to shave that crap off." He took me to the bathroom and taught me how to shave.

My dad was right and by the time I was 14 I was shaving every day and could grow a thick beard. And pretty soon, my chest was completely covered in dense black hair. I was 17 and was getting ready to go to the beach with Tina, the girl I'd been dating for 2 months. My dad came into the room and handed me a body groomer. "Son, I think it's time. Girls today like their men...groomed. You might want to trim down that sweater. And...whatever else you want to trim," he added with an uncomfortable chuckle. I asked him if he trimmed his chest hair and he laughed and said "Of course. We have to. We're Tomassino men." I went into the bathroom and, since I liked being hairy, I used a long attachment and trimmed my whole torso to about half an inch. I thought it looked pretty good, and you could definitely see my six pack abs more clearly. Tina noticed immediately on the beach and heartily approved. When we got naked that night, she was even happier.

By junior year of college, I could tell that my hairline was receding quickly. Over the next year, the widow's peak deepened until the hair in front was practically an island. I tried to ignore ignore it and wore hats almost all the time. I grew a thick black goatee to draw focus away from my head. Senior year, when I was home for Christmas, my dad took me aside and said "Son, I think it's time. It's a losing battle. You're a Tomassino man. We're handsome, we're hairy and we go bald early. Don't you think you'd look and feel better if you took control of the situation and shaved the whole thing?"

"Oh, come on, Dad. I still have some time. It's not that bad." He laughed and said "It's pretty far gone and won't get better." I was still hesitant Until my dad said "Tony, you're going to start interviewing for jobs soon. And then you're going to go work for some big corporation. When do you think it will be easier to make a radical change? Do it now and everyone you meet from now on will only know you as a guy with a shaved head. Wait maybe another year, and one day you're going to have to walk into work and have everybody stare at you, talk about it. It could be pretty awkward. And let's face it, if you really like how you look right now, why do you always wear hats?"

I walked into the bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror. I pulled back the front of my hair and honestly assessed how much was gone. My dad walked in and said, "Trust me. You'll look as devilishly handsome as your old man. Come on. I'll help you."

I knew he was right. He was always right. Next thing I knew, I was on a chair in the basement and my dad was holding a set of clippers with no attachment. He clicked them on and pushed them straight down the center of my head. Black curly hair rained down onto my shoulders. I less than 5 minutes, he was done, and so was my hair. I ran my hand over my stubbly bare head. I asked my dad how it looked. He smiled and said it was a good start. After soaking my head with a warm wet towel, dad lathered my head and slowly shaved me completely smooth and bald. He explained the steps as he went, what direction to shave each section of my head, to use short strokes and rinse the razor often. Then he wiped away the last bits of lather, playfully slapped the top of my head and said "Now that's a Tomassino man!"

I practically sprinted upstairs to look in the mirror. I couldn't believe how I looked exactly like a younger version of my dad. It looked so much better than the thinning hair I'd had not even an hour earlier. I ran my hand over the smooth pale scalp. It felt as awesome as it looked. Dad's smile silently said "I told you so."

Last year, Tina and I had a baby boy. We named him Vincent Tomassino, after my dad. Dad is such a proud grandpa. I hope I can be as good a father as he was to me. And when the right moments come, I'll take my boy aside and say "Son, I think it's time..."



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