HAIR has been much in the news this week. Before I examine this phenomenon authoritatively, let me first state that I have no intention of adding to the disgraceful persecution of bald people that we have seen in some quarters in recent times.

Bald people may have looser moral values than the rest of us, and only a fool would lend them money, but that is no fault of their own. It is the result of a hormonal imbalance that leaves them prey to lewd and libidinous thoughts, and impervious to ethical considerations. Accordingly, they are more to be pitied than scolded.

As for people with hair, where do you start? If anything, they are even worse. I should know. I’ve met some of them. Ghastly. And they are the majority. It is their concerns that have dominated the news pages during lockdown.

One friend of mine has taken to wearing a hat, so ashamed is he of his unkempt, plague-induced barnet. Accordingly, when it was announced that lockdown restrictions were being lifted, joy was unconfined among such fellows.

Regular readers ken coiffure means cack all to moi. I have cut my own hair for many years. Sure, the results are mixed. There are big long bits at the back. The sides are all wonky. And the top is a disaster. It looks like I have three different heads. But what does it matter? I have no intention of attending a discotheque soon. I am not looking for a wife.

Here’s a shock revelation: I only use hair shampoo about once every six months, and then sparingly. Seriously, you don’t need it. Does more harm than good.

It has suddenly struck me that, while I regard myself as well-adjusted and everyone else as peculiar, such revelations might make me seem eccentric. You picture me in the near future wearing shapeless trousers held up by a belt of rope. But that isn’t going to happen. I never wear trousers.

The reason for the public prints being full of follicles is that research from the University of Exeter claimed that women who don’t dye their grey hair risk social rejection and being seen as incompetent or having “let themselves go”. Pretty big claims.

I should come clean here and admit I’m not, and never have been, a woman. Supposedly, greyness matters less to men and can even make some look distinguished (those lucky sods who go silver).

A middle-aged boozing buddy of mine went grey early. Suited him fine. On cultural evenings out, I’d just get sloshed and go home, whereas he’d get sloshed and head for a nightclub. At his age! “In the darkness, they think your grey hair is blond,” he confided. Though he did admit that, once outside when they realised their mistake, his tea was oot.

Women have been dancing in the streets of their locked down homes at the prospect of getting their hair professionally “coloured” again. Serious question: are there any real blondes left? I believe not. Perhaps one woman in Finland.

What’s wrong with going grey anyway? Some women in the Exeter study said they didn’t like “pretending” they were something else. Others say staying grey “empowers” them. “Silver sisters” online proclaim: “Ditch the dye!”

I’m uncomfortably aware that I’m discussing matters beyond my pay grade. I like to think of this column as a safe space for inadequate men and am tempted to conclude with another go at baldies.

But, no, let us all unite around an insouciant attitude to hair: bald men, normal men, women with dyed hair and women who stay grey. For it is not what is on your head that matters but what is in it.

Give me strength

MANY otherwise decent ratepayers will be wearing body armour soon, according to an article on a BBC website.

It’s not defensive armour. We’re not retreating to the Middle Ages, apart from having the plague and wanting to kill people for their opinions. It’s an exoskeleton that will give us extra strength and endurance for walking, lifting heavy weights, climbing stairs and DIY.

DIY? Do me a favour. No, seriously. YDI: You Do It. Making me good at DIY would involve me dying and being reincarnated as a proper man. And “Iron Man” is what the exoskeleton will make us, according to the hype.

There are currently two versions, “one battery-powered and computer-operated, incorporating motors and hydraulics”, according to the Beeb, the other a simpler design with springs and dampeners. They can increase hand strength by 20 per cent and are being trialled by car manufacturers.

But what about us, ye punters? “There is no doubt in my mind that these devices well eventually be sold at hardware stores,” says Homayoon Kazeroomi, founder of SuitX in California. Sales are expected to rise exponentially in the next decade.

Prices at present are rickidoodolus, up to $45,000, but if they come down to around £9.99 then even I may consider investing in one – particularly if it can help me open a packet of biscuits or a child-proof container, tasks that have seen me almost hospitalised in the past.

FAQs called into question

IS it just me? Readers’ chorus: “Yep.” Fair enough. But I’ll run this past you anyway. Is it just me who finds that FAQs (frequently asked questions) on websites never have the question that I want answered?

It’s always a germane question. I’m not going on a cookery website and seeking an answer to why the stars twinkle at night.

Same with these umpteen guides to something Covid-related: never features my query. Is there an option I need on my computer’s drop-down menu? Nope, never. What about the forthcoming election? I don’t want to vote for any main party in the constituency section, but I do want to vote on the list where all the nutters are.

But does omitting to vote on the first bit invalidate my paper? Who knows? At the time of going to press, despite all the resources of the worldwide internut in front of me, I remain devoid of a scoobie.

You say: “Why don’t you phone somebody?” Unhand me, Madam! For a start, I’m far too busy for that sort of thing. And, besides, who do I phone? The police? It’s ridiculous.

Gnome affairs

I DON’T want to sound a controversial note in a newspaper column, but I must confess I’m ambivalent about garden gnomes. You are aghast. Moi, a lover of elves, dwarves and hobbits in JRR Tolkien’s great works of philosophy, not on board with garden gnomes? What’s the problem?

I’m not knocking those who own them, and neither – unusually for me – am I calling for their arrest. Indeed, I have toyed with the idea of gnomes on my demesne. It may yet happen. It’s just that I’m unsure if mass-produced items sold in supermarkets and garden centres are respectful of the species.

This week, we learned that sales of garden gnomes have risen 20 per cent in the past year, meaning there are now 6 million gnomes in Britannia’s gardens.

Although our garden gnomes may resemble Tolkien’s dwarves, the author disliked the wee, twee image accorded them. I live my life according to Tolkien. Accordingly, if ever I do buy a garden gnome, it will be neither fishing nor mooning nor wearing a football strip. It will be a dignified creature in a very large red hat.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.