When I was 14 or so, the most alternative girl in my school came over at lunchtime and gave me a ‘completely shaved around the sides and the back’ haircut with a pair of dog clippers. It was supercool. I thought.
In retrospect probably not the worst hairstyle I ever sported, but one of the most revealing. Revealing in the way that, until then, I had no idea that I had a brown birthmark the size of a chicken cutlet on the side of my head.
I tried to convince myself that it was somehow a mark that I was ‘The Chosen One’. Chosen for what, I don’t know, but a small part of me kept hoping that eventually some rugged drifter would chance upon me, glance at the side of my head, drop his glass of gin in shock, and begin genuflecting then and there.
That never happened. What did happen, though, is that the hair that covered the birthmark eventually fell out, around the same time my hairline began creeping higher up my forehead.
As nobody seemed to have the slightest interest in genuflecting when they noticed my birthmark I became a little self-conscious about it. Not terribly so, until the dermatologist told me that my birthmark was technically a benign tumour.
The point is, no more questions or self-consciousness about the brown spot half hidden in my hairline, because I now have a fresh twelve centimetre cut on the side of my head where it used to be. I keep it covered by a large bandage wrapped around my noggin. I like to think it gives me an appearance of being a potentially dangerous crazy, with a slight nod to old-school mens tennis.