It is prudent to settle the debate on who, between bearded men and smooth chinned men, are more attractive, masculine, dominant and aggressive, and with social maturity. A study was conducted on the effect of facial hair on women’s perceptions of men’s attractiveness. The categories under study included: clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble, short beard, and a full beard. A majority of women found that men with light stubble as being the most attractive. I flashed my hand through the chin and if the study was anything to go by, I was the most unattractive of the male species. I rang Bob, a guy with a barbershop in Jamhuri, off Ngong-road.
“Boss, I need a clean shave.”
“Sure! Find me at the barbershop.”
On arrival, Bob had incredibly upgraded his barbershop. There were three ladies, the type that work in massage parlors, who were on standby for every guy who had a haircut. I was filled with untold thrill. Before he began working on me to attain the cadre of attractiveness, I whispered to him, ‘Everybody is getting a massage or there are extra charges?’ He affirmed that it was an after-sale service. I foresaw a time of my life.
Just as he was about to begin the haircut, I noticed the uneven growth of my hair on the front near the frontal lobe. I was scared that I was soon due for premature baldness. I thought of the shiny bald head of my father and his genetic codes that run through me and I asked Bob, ‘Unaona kama naweza kua na upara?’ He laughed uncontrollably as he knew my old man and he had also noticed the uneven growth of hair on the front of my head. ‘Boss, bald head is inevitable for you. You cannot run away from that.’
I was filled with the zeal of googling all aspects of a bald head and whether it is necessarily passed down genetically. Among the causes of bald head are among family heredity which is the most common cause, hormonal changes, and medical conditions, radiation therapies, stress, certain hairstyles, and treatments. I do not wait for the day I will cease going for a haircut. But at least, there is no baldness on the chin region and the sideburns.
Bob did his job with expertise as he always does. After he was done, I again checked the front part of the head for the uneven growth of hair and it wasn’t there magically. I was relieved immensely.
One of the newbie ladies was waiting for me at the washing sink.
“Hi, position your head on this curved part of the sink.”
I was obedient. It is only mum who uses such authoritative language and I obey. She held my head gently and delicately as if she was holding quail eggs. I could swear that oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin hormones were released simultaneously just by that touch. Warm water trickled down as she scrubbed the fungus on the head with her nails. Fungus grows on everybody’s head lest you label me as unclean. She used a shampoo that has a citrus scent and I momentarily forgot all my woes and troubles. For about 5 minutes, she washed the head. The effect of warm water and the gentle scratches are far-reaching to this day.
Warm water on the head acts as a sauna and it helps pores to open up. The open pores allow the scalp to absorb moisture and natural oils which are good for hair growth. At the same time, it helps get rid of any dirt or excess oil accumulated in the hair. Normalize using warm water on hair.
I was then directed to an adjustable comfortable leather seat. She wrapped a towel around my neck region and slowly adjusted the seat to her convenience.
“Kindly unbutton your shirt.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Unbutton your shirt sir.” She repeated with her hand on my neck which led me to oblige with minimum delay. I heard Bob chuckle.
Tender hands began squeezing the shoulder muscles in a rhythmic manner that led to an automatic shutting of the eyes in a manner as if in internalizing the stretch of those muscles. The muscles of the shoulder region consist of the upper trapezius, rhomboids, and rotator cuff muscles. Massaging these muscles help increase their temperature and blood flow. Increased temperature in the muscles results in relaxation and decreased pain. She squeezed every corner and surface and blood vessel that I was prompted to ask for her name.
“Zahara.” She responded with a lot of professionalism, having noticed my intentions.
After a time, she moved to the neck muscles. I noticed that she ceased using the entire hand and switched to using her fingertips. She repeatedly firmly pressed, held, and released the muscles which led to a feeling of fulfilling relaxation. The Levator scapulae, the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and all neck muscles, had they the ability to voice out how properly they were flexed, the masseuse would have taken pride in her work. On behalf of my neck muscles, I thanked her profusely.
As I stood to exit, I almost felt the flow of blood running from head to toe. I vowed to be getting a massage every once in a month. It is healthy. I thought of my future wife, and how unfair I was to her for having been massaged by a lady stranger. The sun shone brightly on my back as if acknowledging the eminence of the muscle stretches I just had.
“’Come here and lie on your stomach. I know how to give Swedish massages. It’ll relax you.’ ‘You’re not Swedish,’ I say. ‘Yeah, well, neither are you. So if I do it wrong you’ll never know the difference.’” – Simon Elkeles, Perfect Chemistry.