Monday 31 August 2009

Women's Problems - PMT

How many women with PMT does it take to change a light bulb?

The answer is 2.


BECAUSE IT DOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is a dangerous post. I am balancing precariously on that fine line between providing an educational post for guys and at the same time incurring the wrath of the fairer sex.

As you may have gathered, I am going to be discussing PMT (or premenstrual tension) or PMS (premenstrual stress/syndrome).

Being a guy, I’ve never really understood what goes on in a woman’s mind. Moreover, if I did manage to understand what was going on in a woman’s mind, everything I had learned would be cast aside during that dreaded time when PMT takes over.

First of all, let me give you an overview of what PMT is. Of course, I am addressing these words to guys because women know exactly what it is.

PMT is a term that scientists have conjured up to cover an affliction that strikes some women approximately a week before their monthly period. My quest to understand women more has taught me that hormones play a huge part in unravelling the puzzle that is the female psyche. Under normal circumstances, these hormones are balanced and women behave in the fabulous way that I have come to love. However, when PMT strikes, it is a bit like throwing something into that hormone pool. For some women, it is as if a mischievous imp has plopped a pebble into that pool causing ripples that have a few unpleasant physical effects such as cravings and irritability.

In the worst cases, however, the mischievous imp becomes a demon who hurls a bloody great boulder into the mix causing a tsunami of hormonal imbalance which turns the poor victim into a raging monster.

I’ve tried discussing this with Mrs PM on two occasions. The first time, she wasn’t suffering from PMT and she openly told me how she felt.

“Sometimes it’s fine and, although I’m a little edgy I’m OK. I get a slight headache, I’m tired and I fell hungry a lot. Other times I feel a little emotional and weepy, but I’m usually fine.”

The second time, she was well into the PMT period.

“How are you feeling?” I asked with a smile.

“HOW DO YOU THINK I’M FEELING?” she snapped.

I tried to pacify her by saying:

“I’m sorry. I just wanted to enquire. I’m thinking of writing a blog post about PMT …”

“What do YOU know about PMT? YOU’VE never suffered from it. YOU’RE A BLOKE! You don’t know what it’s LIKE!” she yelled.

“I, er, I just …” I stammered.

“You just what, exactly?” she retorted.

I decided not to probe further.

“Would you like a cup of tea?” I asked trying to change the subject.

She simply glared at me. I wandered into the kitchen and put the kettle on. Before I knew it, she was in there with me, sharpening a knife.

“Do you know the worst thing about PMT?” she continued, growling like a hungry lioness. “Men just don’t understand it. Men seem to think that every day is the same and it is. But for WOMEN it is a nightmare. Once a bloody month I suffer – and I mean SUFFER! I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I ache; I’m tired. And I’m hungry. I crave chocolate and sweets. And I put on weight because of chocolate and the bloating. I FEEL LIKE A WHALE! I LOOK LIKE A WHALE! AND I JUST WANT TO KILL EVERYBODY! LOOK AT ME! I’M A FAT, BLOATED, BEACHED WHALE!”

She emphasised here points by shaking the knife.

“And you’re irritable, I guess,” I squeaked.


I stood there making tea while she ranted about how awful it is to be a woman. If I had been a braver man I would have rushed to my desk to get a notebook and written it all down ready for this post. Sadly, I am an utter coward and I tried my best to appear sympathetic, nodding and agreeing, keeping one eye on the knife and subconsciously covering my groin.

Since that time, I’ve tried to understand this affliction. I’ve also tried to spot the exact time that Mrs PM succumbs to PMT.

The other week I was out shopping with her and I noticed that her normal levels of tolerance had plummeted. I did a brave thing:

“Is your time of the month?” I asked.

Mrs PM surprised me – or maybe I shocked her hormones into a stunned silence by recognising the fact that they were totally volatile.

“Yes – how did you know?” she said (with the smallest hint of a smile).

The signs were there for all to see. She snapped at me whenever I disagreed with her; she yelled at me when I missed a parking space; she wasn’t shopping for clothes “because she felt a bit bloated”; she snarled at a cashier.

For the rest of the trip, her tolerance levels were in the danger zone. Being the faithful companion, I tried to make her relax as much as possible. I treated her to a coffee and cake and every time she snapped at me, I put my arm around here, kissed her gently on the cheek and whispered “hormones”.

And it (sort of) worked. The one time it didn’t was when she said “If you say the word “hormones” to me once more I will throw you through that window.”

Actually, that last threat is untrue although she did say “Please stop saying “hormones” to me.” I was overjoyed that she had used the word “please” and not threatened an act of mindless violence.”

So guys, I hope you are more aware of what happens to some women during PMT. And ladies, apparently there are a few ways to ease the symptoms. I’ve done a little research and discovered that you can reduce PMT with the following guidelines:

(1) Avoid stressful situations
(2) Eat less salt, which helps reduce water retention
(3) Try not to eat chocolate or sugary food
(4) Don’t drink alcohol (or at least cut down)
(5) Avoid caffeine – caffeine makes me jittery so I can imagine the effect it has on an irritable woman.
(6) Take plenty of warm baths and relax.

To be honest, I’m not always precise when guessing when PMT hits Mrs PM but I am getting there. I’m tempted to mark the days on my calendar; the only problem is that if she sees what I’ve written (“It’s Monster Time”) her lack of tolerance may make her hormones turn her into the female equivalent of the Incredible Hulk. I think I’ll cast that idea into the rubbish bin (even though “Monster Time” is rather apt).

By the way, my dear sweet Mrs PM. If you are reading this post and it is PMT time then I’ve gone away for a couple of weeks and taken the cats with me. I’m suffering from another form of PMT - "Plastic Mancunian Terror”.

And if you are reading this and you are another woman suffering from PMT, I don’t live in Manchester and my name is not Dave. I do in fact live alone in Siberia in a place that cannot be reached by humans; so travelling to Manchester with a pick axe, to teach me exactly what PMT is, will be a pointless exercise.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

How Cool Were The 80's?

The 80’s made me the man I am today, which some of you may think is a bad thing.

I entered the decade as a spotty little 17 year old with wild hair, no common sense, romantically inept, naïve in the extreme and woefully immature. That decade turned me into a man and it was the most exciting period of my life.

I am fiercely nostalgic for those times. I have so many fond memories that I am moved almost to tears when I think about what I achieved and how I developed.

Why am I mentioning the 80’s? Well, today I read an article about a music festival that happened over the weekend in Henley-on-Thames where 30,000 people were whisked back in time to see 25 music stars of the 80’s belt out a bunch of classic songs from that decade. It would appear that there is a little bit of an 80’s comeback and I for one welcome it with open arms.

I’m not a child of the 80’s at all; I grew up in the 70’s. Nevertheless, after leaving school and spending three years at university, getting married, finding a good job and travelling, the 80’s laid the foundation for everything I am today.

So many things changed:


I know I go on about my hair a lot but bear with me on this. In 1980 my hair was long, fuzzy and totally unmanageable. I looked like a mad scientist. When I started university in 1981, with hormones belting around my body I decided that I needed to do something. So I became a New Romantic. That’s right, for a couple of years my hair was short but looked pretty stupid. After university in 1984, I embraced rock music and grew a Joe Elliott mullet. In 1988 I got married and a vicious evil hairdresser hacked off my locks making my hair short and, I suppose, manageable. I haven’t really changed that hairstyle since.


When I started university I flipped between two styles: the pseudo rocker, complete with denim jacket, black T shirt and jeans and, at night in the clubs, I blossomed into a member of Spandau Ballet complete with stupid shirt, stupid jacket and stupid pointed shoes that crippled my feet. Many guys my age wore make-up on these occasions – you would never catch me doing that (he says trying to draw your attention away from the Kiss make-up to your right).

I considered myself to be the best dancer at every night club and I would even embarrass myself by trying to "moonwalk" to "Billy Jean". I was no Michael Jackson and I imagine that I looked like a total buffoon.

I grew out of that stupidity (thank heavens) and became more of a metalhead, wearing a leather jacket and jeans. Bizarrely I still have an 80’s leather jacket today – Mrs PM is desperate for me to get rid of it but I refuse.


I loved the electronic music of the early 80’s and made a complete arse of myself dancing in night clubs to bands like Tears For Fears, Adam Ant, Depeche Mode, Blancmange and The Human League. By the mid 80’s I had grown tired of pop music, mainly because the charts were being filled by utter bilge, so I embraced heavy metal once more. I loved the cheesy rock groups like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Europe. The 80’s was the decade I discovered Rush – I have never looked back.


At the beginning of the 80’s I had barely left Walsall. By 1984 I had been on two three to four week tours of Europe, by 1988 I had worked in Amsterdam and Trinidad and in 1989 I spent four week touring the United States. I wouldn’t say that I was bitten by the travel bug that decade – I was savaged by it. If I won the lottery I would give up everything to travel the world – that’s how much the travel bug mauled me in the 80’s.


When I think back to the 80’s and the women in my life at that time, I recall the pleasure and pain of relationships. Pleasure because that was the decade I lost my cherry but pain because of failed relationships, making a complete arse of myself and learning how and how not to deal with the fairer sex. To be fair I still haven’t learned much about women but I do know that, at university, one woman broke my heart into bits. It was the first time I had actually sobbed over a girl (and probably the last time if I think about). Do you know the worst thing about it? She didn’t even know the profound effect she had on me. I made a complete fool of myself in front of a bunch of mates, as this girl refused to dance with me, choosing her best mate instead. I stood there at the edge of the dance floor, my heart torn to shreds, humiliated beyond belief as the two girls made a huge show of making me look like a complete arse. My mates laughed and mocked me mercilessly. I went back to my room and cried my eyes out for two hours.

Ironically, in Manchester in 1985 (two years after the event), I happened to bump into this girl’s best mate in a pub, you know – the one she had chosen to dance with instead of me. She was with her boyfriend who was a friend of a friend. I didn’t recognise her and she didn’t recognise me, but somehow we got talking. When we discovered that we both went to Liverpool University, I asked what course she did. When she told me, I told her that I had had a major crush on a girl who studied the same degree. At that moment a deep hidden subconscious memory began to surface and as it rose through the ether I suddenly recognised the woman I was talking to. I was horrified as her features became clear in my mind. I saw the sarcastic smile on the two girls’ faces as my life crumbled on the edge of the dance floor.

I was amazed that she didn’t recognise me. I had to get out of there before a similar memory bubbled up in her mind. As I started to leave, she grabbed my arm and pulled me back down next to her and said:

“Tell me this girl’s name.”

I simply couldn’t bring myself to do it; I was still in pain. And do you know what she said to me?

“It’s a real shame. I probably know her, you know. You’re a really nice guy and I think you’d make a great boyfriend.”

That cut me like a knife. I felt as if my heart had been torn from my chest and jumped on by a thousand devilish imps in front of my disbelieving face, while a thousand more poured salt into the gaping bloody hole in my chest.

I was devastated and had to leave the pub. I’ve never seen either of the girls since.

Happily, I found myself a girlfriend shortly afterwards; she was a mate at university and we kind of hooked up. She became my wife in 1988. Sadly things didn’t work out but I certainly learned a few things.


In 1980 I was an innocent, pizza-faced little pillock, driven by hormones, clueless, directionless and unsure what life held for me. I left Walsall and after three years in Liverpool, settled in Manchester where I have lived ever since. Through a series of embarrassing and educational incidents, I somehow managed to find a path and stick to it. The blurred uncertain world of that spotty adolescent clarified over the ten years and I suddenly saw potential and possibility in a life that I thought was hopeless. My father died in 1981, one month before I started university. I came from a working class background and nobody from my family had ever dreamed of going to university. Thankfully, he found out before he died and he was so happy; I’m glad that happened. I still think about him today and how proud he would have been. The 80’s built the foundation for the man I am today – this arse whose blog you are reading. I still have ambitions but they are the fruits of embryonic dreams I had in the 80’s – and I aim to fulfil them.

If somebody came up to me and said

“Hey, Plastic Mancunian! I have a device that can return you to any day in your life so that you can live that life again. Where do you want to go?”

I would immediately go back to my 18th birthday on October 8th 1980. I would relive my life from that point onwards.

Finally, being a huge fan of the music of that decade, I would like to list some of my favourite songs of that era:

First, pop music from the early 80’s. The following songs have special significance to me and I love them to bits:

(1) The Human League – The Sound Of The Crowd
(2) Blancmange – Living On The Ceiling
(3) Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes
(4) Godley & Creme – Under Your Thumb
(5) Tears For Fears – Change
(6) Spandau Ballet – Instinction
(7) Adam and the Ants – Ant Music
(8) A-ha – The Sun Always Shines On TV
(9) Talk Talk – It’s My Life
(10) Visage – Visage

Remember all those? How about these 80’s metal hits?

(1) Whitesnake – Still Of The Night
(2) Yngwie J Malmsteen – Heaven Tonight
(3) Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine
(4) Van Halen – Hot For Teacher
(5) Def Leppard – Animal
(6) Lita Ford – Kiss Me Deadly (I had such a crush on Lita Ford!!!!!)
(7) Europe – Halfway To Heaven
(8) Kiss – Reason To Live
(9) Rush – The Big Money (Well I had to put a Rush video in there!!!)
(10) Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon

If anybody ever tells you that the 80’s weren’t cool, just ignore them. I’ve been on this planet for the best part of five decades and I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that the 80’s were the best.

I could go on for pages about the 80's but I'll stop here (for now): Frankie says: “no more”.

Friday 21 August 2009

The Book

The campaign against procrastination continues.

After battling for a week, I think I am on top. Rather than wasting my time getting savaged by strangers on Mario Kart, watching tripe on TV and generally messing about like a complete arse, I have attempted to take control of my life. And the fabulous news is that after a week I have successfully completed all the tasks I set myself.

The question is: can I keep it up?

Well, now comes the biggest test: the book.

After last week’s declaration of war, I set myself the target of deciding exactly what I wanted to do and coming up with a rough plan of action.

I’ve decided that writing a work of fiction is a little too much for me at the moment because not only do I have to come up with a decent plot, I have to invent characters and trawl the sickening depths of my innermost thoughts in order to come up with a monstrous story that would make me happy. I’ve not dismissed the idea – I just don’t consider myself to be ready yet.

I’ve therefore decided to write a book about life; a work of non-fiction that is hopefully quite funny. It will be an extension of the odious poppycock that I write in this blog and will therefore serve three purposes:

(1) It will allow me the freedom to comment on the insane world we live in.
(2) By posting excerpts of the book on this blog, I will combine writing a book with the continuation of “The Plastic Mancunian” (I don’t want to concentrate on the book at the expense of the blog).
(3) It will allow you, dear reader, to pass judgement on the drivel that I write.

The book hasn’t got a title but a rough one (until I think of something better) is “The Plastic Mancunian’s Guide to Life” – I will change it, but the title isn’t important at this moment in time.

The good thing about the idea, for me at least, is that I am a grumpy, opinionated old goon who can use the book to let off steam about the insanity that life throws at people; a fully fledged rant, if you like.

Thus I have put my cards on the table and told the few readers who stumble onto this blog about my plans; ergo I have to complete the book in order to save face.

I will let you know how I am getting on and how the campaign against procrastination progresses.

Wish me luck.

Thursday 20 August 2009

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Have you ever sprayed beer onto the screen in the back of the seat in front on a long distance flight?

I have once.

It was last year on my way back to England from Johannesburg. The meal had arrived - if you can call it a meal – I would prefer to call it a steaming pile of crap that is so hot it can burn through the roof of your mouth into your brain. I’ve had a lot of these meals – that explains a lot I guess.

Anyway I digress. I had put a forkful of the molten tripe in my mouth and was cooling it down with a swig of beer when I howled with laughter at what was on the screen. As well as beer, the screen was peppered with semi-chewed gunk.

The person next to me glared at me. I tried to control myself but I simply couldn’t stop laughing.

What was I watching? I’ll tell you – “Curb Your Enthusiasm” starring Larry David. It was the first time I had ever watched the show and I was struck by the laughter bug.

You know when something makes you laugh? I mean REALLY makes you laugh, so much so that anything and everything else suddenly becomes absolutely hilarious? That’s what Larry David did to me.

If the pilot had interrupted the programme telling us all that the wings had fallen off and we were all about to die, I would have crashed into the African subcontinent in a ball of flames, guffawing at Larry David’s exploits.

The episode in question, if you are a fan of the show, was the one involving Larry David having to buy a bra for his housekeeper. The plot lines in the episode are so brilliantly woven together that I simply howled with laughter.

Here is a clip from that very episode – be aware that it contains a couple of swear words:

As soon as I got home, I looked up the show and told Mrs PM about how I totally embarrassed myself on the plane. I was even more shocked to discover that the show is completely ad-libbed – there is not script, just a vague plot. The actors simply take the story along and make up the dialogue. And it is so funny. How brilliant is that?

So why am I writing about it now? Well, I’ve discovered that it is being repeated from the beginning here in the UK every Sunday night/Monday morning. There are around six series so I can watch it all. I don’t stay up to watch it, but I do record it and watch it the next day. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet I urge you to give it a go. It is on “More4”.

For those of you, from England, who haven’t seen the show Larry David plays a caricature of himself who is a sort of cross between Victor Meldrew and David Brent. If he doesn’t like something, rather than keeping quiet he will say or do something outrageous, speaking his mind without fearing the consequences or just making completely the wrong decision; and like David Brent, you want him just to shut his mouth – of course he doesn’t and he ends up in a complete pickle.

I love the show and now I have a new comedy hero. I am looking forward to the next few months.

Here’s a little more:

I want to be more like him.

Saturday 15 August 2009

Procrastination - The War Begins

I have declared war on procrastination. Let battle commence.

“What is procrastination,” you may ask.

This short video sums it up perfectly:

Basically procrastination is the inability to perform tasks on time (if at all), preferring to defer them until later. For example, I have been planning in my mind to sit down and write a book. Each time I sit down at my PC, I become distracted with email, games, music, looking at my feet, polishing my desk, reading about the effect of rainwater on gravel and end up spending an unproductive hour wasting my time doing anything but writing.

The word “procrastination” comes from the Latin “pro” (for) “crastinus” (tomorrow), i.e. put off until tomorrow and that’s exactly what I do. And tomorrow never comes.

For me, it is not just writing a book; I know that certain other tasks need to be done but instead of getting up and doing them, I find something else to do, something mundane, something pointless, in fact anything but the task at hand.

Recently I’ve been asking myself why I procrastinate and, quite frankly, I simply cannot answer the question. I am utterly clueless. Why do I sit down at my PC with the best intentions, yet five minutes later end up playing my fourth game of “Bejeweled”? Why do I mentally prepare myself to write a chapter of a book and end up watching repeats of Blackadder?

I’ve even sat there tidying my desk. Why would I do that? Am I insane?
I don’t suffer from this annoying affliction all of the time. When I’m at work, I almost always achieve the deadlines imposed upon me and attack problems with gusto and professionalism. I am commended for it. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I am a workaholic (far from it) but I do achieve what is expected of me; if I were to procrastinate at work I would suffer – so I don’t.

Yet when I get home, I will sit and watch TV rather than start my blockbuster. Why?

It’s not as if I have a deadline. I’ve not told myself that I need to write a book within a year. I don’t have anybody telling me that I should sit down and write the bloody thing. I want to do it for fun. I want to do it as a hobby. I’m not even sure that I will get as far as trying to publish it. The book is for me and me alone.

So what is wrong with me? Here are a few other things I procrastinate over:

(1) Mrs PM and I decided two years ago to take up dancing. Have we done it yet? No!

(2) I convinced myself after a visit to France that I wanted to retire there. Mrs PM speaks very good French. My French is pretty bad and I need to improve a lot. I decided a year ago to enrol in a French course in the centre of Manchester. Have I done it yet? No!

(3) I haven’t done any real exercise for four or five years now. Two years ago I decided to cycle to work at least twice a week during the Spring, Summer and Autumn months. The distance from home to work is approximately 5 miles. It would keep me fit, save petrol (and therefore money) and reduce stress. Have I done it? Once or twice. ONCE OR TWICE!!

What the hell is wrong with me?

I’ve had enough. The only thing that I have managed to keep up outside work is the maintenance of this blog. For some reason, I actually look forward to writing drivel for people to read, criticise, comment on or even ignore. I need to capture the feeling I get from blogging, merge it with the drive I have at work and then apply it to those areas that fester or die due to procrastination. I have done some research and I think I understand the problem. Here are the main culprits:

(1) Disorganisation and bad time management - I am totally disorganised. At work, I keep a “to do” list and manage to maintain it. At home, however, I keep no lists at all and I do not set myself deadlines.

(2) Distraction - I am easily distracted. If I start surfing the web for research, I will invariably stumble across a blog that interests me that has nothing to do with what I am doing. I will spot a game that is just dying to be played; I even end up reading stupid articles about how to take over the world armed with a cat, a pitchfork and a bag of sausages. If Mrs PM is in the other room watching TV I will actually strain my ears to discover what she is watching. I have even stooped so low as to abandon writing and researching to watch Gok Wan on TV. How utterly stupid is that?

(3) Fear of failure – I’m writing a book for myself, not for anybody else. So am I going to read it and then say “Well that’s a pile of crap, Dave!!”

(4) Feeling overwhelmed – Writing a book is not easy. I know – I’ve read books about it. Part of me feels like I have to climb a mountain with a blindfold in the middle of a hurricane.

(5) Indecision – If I am a true Libran, how can I decide what to write a book about? Do I write a horror story or a massive science fiction space opera? Do I write a thriller or romance novel? Or do I write humorous observation?

(6) Low frustration tolerance – I easily become frustrated if something is not working for me – and then I end up swearing and ranting and taking out my frustration on innocent people worldwide by trying to annihilate them on Mario Kart. But I can’t because I’m crap and that makes me even more frustrated.

(7) Paranoia – Will people like my book? Will I like my book? Will people talk about me because my book is crap?

Reading that list back makes me feel really stupid. Do you know why? Because each of the causes above can easily be overcome. I cope with this at work so why can’t I cope at home? Honestly, I feel like a wretched idiot who is making up excuses to feed the procrastination monster within; he is so full of pathetic excuses that he is obese and can barely lift his fat bloated body.

So here’s what I am going to do. I am going to declare war on that fat, ugly bloated monster within me called “The Procrastinator”. The first assault has just begun – this blog post. I am going to tackle each of the problems above as follows:

(1) Disorganisation – I will set myself deadlines and a list of things to be done by certain dates and I will try my utmost to stick to them.

(2) Distraction – I will reward myself for meeting my deadlines by allowing myself to do bits of fun stuff like getting my arse kicked on Mario kart. I will plan football matches into my schedule as well as Mrs PM time and other fun stuff. I will not allow myself to be distracted until a task has completed.

(3) Fear of failure – I am failing by not writing a book. My book is for me – if nobody else likes it, who cares? I will have achieved something even if it’s the worst book in the world ever.

(4) Feeling overwhelmed – I have a superb book about how to be a writer with tips about how to plan your work, so I am going to follow the advice in it. That way I will be able to tackle the huge amount of work by breaking it down into bite size chunks. There is no time limit on my book (I don’t have a publisher to drive me) so I will take my time and conquer the beast slowly.

(5) Indecision – I have an idea or two, so I will allow myself some time to decide and then simply go for the best option at the end of that time period.

(6) Low frustration tolerance – I appreciate that walking away from a problem or a mental block can be therapeutic. However, rather than yet another Mario Kart grand prix I shall go for a walk with my camera and then return to the problem at hand, hopefully refreshed and not frustrated.

(7) Paranoia – who cares if nobody likes my book? If I like it, that’s all that matters. If I don’t like it I will write another one.

So, dear reader, that’s it. Let battle commence.

If you have any tips or tricks to help me, I would be delighted to hear from you. Have you overcome procrastination? Do you suffer from it yourself? Please share your thoughts, no matter how trivial or pointless you think they may be. Every wise snippet will help (as will any funny ones).

I will let you know how the war progresses – starting tomorrow.

Monday 10 August 2009

Men's Problems - Baldness

If I allow my hair to grow unchecked it will become a marauding mass of mayhem.

Suffice it to say that I will probably never grow bald, unless I suddenly become possessed by the same urge as Britney Spears and decide to shave my mop clean off.

I can be blasé about my hair but there are many men out there who are envious of the potential forest that can grow on my head.

“How can that be?” I hear you cry. “How can any man be jealous of your wild and untamed hair? Haven’t they read Bad Hair Day?”

These men are envious because they are fighting a losing battle against Mother Nature. In her infinite wisdom she has deemed that certain men will lose their hair – and they don’t like it one little bit. Some of these guys accept Mother Nature’s judgement; others fight back.

A few years ago, I was sitting in a barber’s chair with my glasses off, staring at a blurred unkempt mess of dark blond hair, waiting to be trimmed. The man who was going to fight my mop stood behind me and said

“What do you want me to do with this mess?”

“Can you attack it with scissors around the back and sides and then bring out the big guns and thin out and hack the explosive mane on top please?”

“I’ll do my best,” came the resigned reply.

As he set about the task at hand, I started to moan:

“I hate my hair. I bloody well hate it. Every morning I wake up and stare in the mirror in utter horror. It’s all over the place and can only be tamed with copious amounts of water and a bucketful of patience. Did you know that my missus is trying to make me use products to control it? I ask you – PRODUCTS!!! Can you imagine the amount of bloody styling mousse or wax that I would have to rub into the forest of hair perched on my bonce to contain it even slightly? I’d need to take out a second mortgage and have it delivered in a tanker. I wish my hair was less of a bloody mess”

He stopped cutting.

I assumed that he was laughing at my quips.

He wasn’t.

As I stared at his blurred image in the mirror, something dawned on me. I could see the reflection of light in his head. He was almost totally bald.

“Stop bloody moaning about your hair,” he snarled. “At least you have some.”

I gulped and decided to remain quiet as he finished the job. I’m sure he purposefully dug the scissors in my head a few times as he continued battling my hair. As he hacked and sawed I became paranoid, thinking that he might just shave off my locks out of spite. Thankfully, he was professional and when he had finished, I put on my glasses and stared at my now tame (and still intact) hair.

“That’s fantastic,” I said smiling.

“GRRRR!!!” he snarled.

Actually, the barber’s hair didn’t seem too bad to me. He was in his forties and had black hair at the sides and back but he was completely bald on top. His shiny pate was totally hairless and the lights really did reflect off his head. I almost put my foot in my mouth and remarked on this but I decided that I wanted to leave his establishment alive and with my new haircut intact. I remained tight-lipped. I haven’t been back since.

Men who are going bald or receding, deal with their problem in one of the following ways:

(1) Allow nature to take its course and stay bald, making sure that any hair left is short and complements the baldness. A prime example of this type of man is Patrick Stewart, otherwise known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Start Trek. If I were going bald, this is the man I would emulate.

(2) Shave all of your remaining hair off. From a personal point of view, I would look stupid with absolutely no hair. There are certain people, mostly black guys, who look magnificent with bald heads – it suits them absolutely. If I had no hair, I would look like a wrinkled thumb with a face.

(3) Grow the remaining hair really long and try to cover the baldness. Now this isn’t that much of a problem if the bald spot is on the crown rather than the front of the head. The problem arises when the hair doesn’t cover the bald spot and drifts off to the side or, far worse, the hapless and desperate man grows his hair long at the side of his head and combs it over the bald spot. Not only does it look ridiculous normally, it takes on a whole new life of its own on a windy day, making the man look utterly stupid. This is the kind of thing I mean:

(4) Spray on hair or hair thickener. This stuff is meant to thicken your hair and cover bald spots. Having not seen any of this goo first hand, I can’t vouch for whether it works or not. I wonder whether it simply paints your bald spot and makes you look idiotic or whether it runs in the rain leaving a trail of black liquid running down your neck. Here's what I mean:

(5) Wear a wig. There are several well known celebrities in Britain and abroad who allegedly wear a wig. Personally I believe that wearing a wig is a very bad idea. I have often wondered how men get away with this. One day they leave work with a massive bald head and then return the next day with a full head of hair. I mean, who are they trying to fool? What’s worse is that every man I have ever seen wearing a wig looks exactly like a man wearing a bloody wig; it is that obvious to me.

(6) Have a hair transplant or hair replacement therapy. The Australian cricketer Shane Warne has had laser treatment to restore growth in his hair and, to be honest, the results look impressive. The only problem I guess is that such treatment does not come cheap.

I can guess that any bald or receding guys reading this may react in the same way as my (former) barber did. If I have upset you, allow me to make you feel a little better: here are two photos of me wearing ridiculous wigs and one of my hair as it is. See if you can spot which is which:

The correct answer is (of course) number three is my real hair - though I hasten to add that

(a) it had recently been cut

(b) if allowed to grow unchecked it would look more like the first of the three.