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'A Wrong Turning', Buadhaiche, Co-fharpais Sgrìobhaidh Nèill Ghunnaich 2011

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Cuir post-dealain gu caraid

Cuir beachd ann

Cuir ris an Leabhar-mhìr


AINM A'CHRUINNEACHAIDH: Neil Gunn Writing Competition, 2011 (texts)
TABHARTAICHE: Leabharlainn na Gàidhealtachd
Le Will Hoffmann

Choisinn 'A Wrong Turning' a' chiad duais ann an earrann nan àrd-sgoiltean ann an Co-fharpais Sgrìobhaidh Nèill Ghunnaich, 2011. 'S e Will Hoffmann o Acadamaidh Inbhir Pheofharain a sgrìobh e.

B' e cuspair 2011, 'A wrong turning', air a thogail o nobhail Nèill Ghunnaich 'The Serpent': "Our river took a wrong turning somewhere! But we haven't forgotten the source."

Tha Co-fharpais Sgrìobhaidh Nèill Ghunnaich air a chur air dòigh le luchd-obrach nan leabharlann o Sheirbhis Foghlaim, Cultair & Spòrs aig Comhairle na Gàidhealtachd ann an co-bhonn ri Urras Nèill Ghunnaich. Chaidh a chur air bhonn ann an 1988.

A wrong turning

Fear of balding is common amongst men. The sight of half a dozen hairs strewn across a man's pillow has been enough to drive even the most sensible of men insane. Baldness has affected those as culturally diverse as Emperor Constantine of Rome to Bobby Charlton of Manchester United. It is therefore not particularly surprising that I live in constant terror of baldness - after all, I am male. However, where I differ from your average peladophobic is that I am only sixteen years old.

I suppose that the odds have always been stacked against me when it has come to my hairline. My father and both my grandfathers have suffered baldness from a young age. This has very much been the source of my hair-loss. Combined with my mother's naturally fine hair, this heritage has been a recipe for disaster. However, this does not make it any easier. As a boy, you naturally assume that you will also have a full crop of hair; after all, you've never known any different. If I'm honest, it was never something I'd even considered until, during a discussion on the matter, a friend mentioned that her mother had informed her that she thought I would lose my hair at a young age. Thus far, nobody has realised that this offhand comment has shaped my constant worries and fears of baldness. However, my obsession has not gone unnoticed.

Aged fifteen, my mother noted, with a complete lack of empathy I must add, that my hair line had already begun receding. I suppose you could argue at this point that my hairline had taken a wrong turning! She didn't seem to consider this a particularly worrisome matter - and my father has showed a nonchalance bordering on indifference to my problem. I suppose solidarity doesn't exist amongst all balding men. From here, I have spiralled ever downwards.

My girlfriend reports, with barely hidden amusement, that I have taken to examining the crown of the various men I pass during my day- to-day existence. I will admit that this is not a subconscious problem. I have silent, jealous fits of rage when I see pensioners, often buckled and crippled, with a better thatch than myself.

However, since noticing my temple recession, I have found a group of men who are somewhat more sympathetic to my plight. Most are found to be lurking on the numerous websites and forums set up exclusively to discuss the problem of balding. After posting several photos of my hairline with pleas for help and advice, I was overwhelmed by the response. Twenty six people have responded thus far, most tinged with compassion and product names which I was once woefully ignorant of, but now am all too familiar with. Propecia, Minoxidil, and Dutasteride to name but a few. Fears over their side effects have prevented me from purchasing them thus far, but I will admit to having saved the websites on my bookmarks!

A guilty pleasure has emerged since discovering my problem. Though not particularly interested in the celebrity culture, I have taken particular delight (schadenfreude is the term I believe) in noting the progress, or perhaps regress, of the rich and famous in their own attempts to fight off the evils of hairloss. I have become familiar with such obscure balding jargon as the Norwood scale and the different levels of baldness that celebrities are suffering.

I have sought camaraderie with my namesake, Prince William. William found himself to be another sufferer of the infamous 'Curse of the Winsor's' when he began to show signs of balding in his late teens. With the Prince's wedding around a month away, there has been increasing speculation about how his bald patch will be hidden on the big day - will he opt for a comb-over like his father before him? Or will he opt for a more modern approach and leave his hair in a natural state? Certainly William's high profile balding problem has been of comfort to me - it makes me realise that, no matter how rich or famous you are, balding could still affect you in some way or another.

But it's not all doom and gloom. The purchase of Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo seems to have had positive effects - my hair already feels thicker and fuller. Scientific discoveries and research into the causes and treatments of baldness has lightened my spirits considerably - as science becomes more advanced, baldness will become less and less of an issue. As recently as last month, scientists have claimed to find the root of Male Pattern Baldness - the problem isn't a lack of hair, but incredibly thin hair, undetected by the naked eye.

Also, as my Dad frequently points out, many of the best looking and stylish people in the world are bald or balding. Sean Connery began balding in his late teens, and still wins the accolade of the 'World's Sexiest Man' despite being nearly eighty and being able to count the number of hairs on his head with one hand. Jason Statham and Samuel L. Jackson both admit to being bald, and yet they look superior to 99% of thick-haired men!

Where do I go from here? I've considered a wig, but living in the windy Highlands of Scotland makes this option impractical. Standing on my head for ten minutes per day in the hope of improving the blood flow to my follicles did nothing other than give me a headache. I suppose, when push comes to shove, the best cure is simply positive thinking combined with a baseball cap in my more sensitive moments. Being the eternal optimist, what I have taken from the whole experience is that I have found myself an interesting, if somewhat unorthodox hobby!

Nithean eile sa chruinneachadh seo...

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'A Wrong Turning', Buadhaiche, Co-fharpais Sgrìobhaidh Nèill Ghunnaich 2011

'A Wrong Turning', Buadhaiche, Co-fharpais Sgrìobhaidh Nèill Ghunnaich 2011

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