When my hair gets to the length it’s currently at, the slightly thicker white hairs that have taken hold above my ears and temples start misbehaving and I am prone to catch sight of one sticking out at an irregular angle. Faced with such insurrection, I am left with little option but to strike forth and pluck (with my fingers, you understand: it’s the manly way. The employment of tweezers would mark me out as vain). Unfortunately for me, I am not skilled at gaining a purchase on the right one, tending to wrench out the perfectly good hairs surrounding it which serves only to make the impervious white hair more prominent.
I was at a party last month, and the issue of white and grey hairs came up in conversation. I’m pretty sure I didn’t engineer it – I’m not that obsessed – but I can’t promise. Anyway, I mentioned the above to my company for the evening, and at the mention of how I was being driven to pluck I was met with an outraged gasp by a friend of a friend’s girlfriend.
“You mustn't pluck grey hair!” she hissed theatrically, “It’ll cause two to grow back in its place!”
“Right,” I said sceptically, “so how does that work then?”
“Because,” she said wearily, as if talking to an infant, “plucking causes the follicle to split at its base, and divide into two.”
“Wow!” I exclaimed enthusiastically, “So you’re telling me that if a man is balding, he should make haste and immediately pluck every single hair from his scalp, safe in the knowledge that soon enough he will have twice as much hair as he started off with?”
“Well, no,” she said, frowning, “because only hairs that have turned white or grey have that, um, ability to divide in two.”
“Now I understand,” I bowed, “Hair follicles possess differing abilities which are assigned depending on their colour. Obvious really.”
I excused myself from the conversation before she tried to tell me how KFC now only uses meat from specially genetically engineered beakless chickens with 19 breasts or that you should never share a bedroom with a potted plant as it will suck up all the oxygen and cause you to suffocate in your sleep. Both of which are true facts. Ask anyone.
My white hairs started multiplying long before there was any plucking on my part, but what really gets me is that there never seemed to be any grey middle ground: the white just seemingly appeared one day with no warning. It’s as if the melanin producing melanocyte cells in my follicles are dropping dead suddenly, rather than enduring a more lingering and dignified death. At this rate, I’ll bypass the silver fox stage in favour of going straight to the artic fox look.
5 weeks ago