What is it with men and our hair as we age?

First of all, mine is starting to grow fastest in the places I want it least, like in my nostrils, ears and eyebrows. Who needs more hair in their ears, anyway? What part do bushy eyebrows play in the survival of the species?

Then there is the back and arm hair. I’m a sandy sort of blonde, except on my upper arms and shoulders. A few years ago, those areas suddenly belonged to someone else — someone with dark, matted hair, like the wolfman. I’m the blonde guy with the white hair on his chest. So, why is the only place my hair color isn’t fading on my back?

I learned from watching my father, who was very bald on top but had a nice crop clinging to the sides of his head, that the less hair men have, the more effort and time we put into managing it. He always went to the best of barbers and took great care of his remaining foliage, sort of like a farmer working hardest in a barren field.

It isn’t just where the hair grows, our attitude about the hair changes, too. I can remember watching Andy Rooney on TV. Over the years, his eyebrows got so bushy they looked like birds’ nests. He never seemed to mind, but it drove me crazy. “Cut the brush,” I used to yell at the set.

Now, my own eyebrows have begun to flourish. At first I was concerned and quick to trim them. Now, I don’t know. It is starting to look good to me, the way they go in every direction, peeking out over my glasses. Well, it is kind of professorial. Maybe it draws attention away from my ever-increasing forehead.

Which brings up another thing: comb-overs. I mean, does Donald Trump really think he is fooling anyone? Then I noticed the other day that I’ve been combing my hair differently. Not a comb-over really, more of an inverted wave. It looks sort of natural unless the wind is blowing against me. Then it can become a tsunami that makes the Donald’s hair look mild and reasonable.

Can we talk about men’s hair without mentioning ponytails? The boomer generation is possibly the first since Daniel Boone’s to bring back ponytails for men. In a way, I can understand this. Back in the 60’s, my hair covered my collar by several inches. More than once someone chastised me with the remark, “With all that hair, I can’t tell if it’s a boy ‘r a girl.” Believe me when I say, I loved having my hair long. But, as the hair thins and recedes, does gathering it in a bunch in the back really solve the problem?

All this being said, if my hair starts to reach over my collar, I want it to keep going no matter how thin and sparse it is. Fortunately, there is my lovely wife, Kelly. She lets me know when the length is reaching beyond reason or the eyebrows are beginning to look too scary. She helps me avoid the comb-over with a shorter-style cut that looks professional and is less startling to passers-by on a windy day. Best of all, she keeps me convinced that each of time’s whimsical changes is somehow an improvement.

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident. But, sometimes, it looks like it.

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About the author

Scott Funk has specialized in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage reverse mortgages for over a decade. He is a recognized Aging in Place advocate in his home state of Vermont. His monthly newspaper column Aging in Place has run for 7 years in 24 papers around the state. Scott is brings a lighthearted approach to his talks on Boomers, retirement and aging on purpose.