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That Doesn’t Make It a Hairline

On my way home from work the other evening, I saw a most curious fella. He seemed like a day-laboring sorta guy, at least in terms of his wardrobe. Work boots. Nothing he wore was hip or fashiony. His backpack was pretty dirty.

At the same time, he seemed to have some concern about his appearance. For example, I’d be very surprised if his eyebrows weren’t waxed. They were perfect in that way that most men’s eyebrows just aren’t.

Curiouser than that, however, was his hairline. From what I could tell, this African American fella wasn’t at all bald. He kept his hair cropped short, but it was there. And again, he didn’t seem to have any sort of issues around male pattern baldness. (I only had a front view, so I couldn’t see if he had a bald spot in back, but he wasn’t receding.)

About an inch below his real hairline was a fake hairline. A black tattoo masquerading as hair.

At first I thought maybe it was one of those dark birthmarks you sometimes see, but no. It was a perfectly drawn hairline (even with angles coming down in front of his ears), filled in solid black. The solidity of the tattoo ink went back into the area where he had hair, and I couldn’t see if it continued over his whole scalp, or if it faded away part of the way back.

I used to work with a Latino woman who was very big on lip liner. She said that she had friends who had actually tattooed liner onto their lips.

This hairline felt like taking the lip liner tattoo to an extreme. And it’s not something a white person could get away with. What the hell color could I tattoo my head that would come close to matching my hair color? Even if/when this man goes gray, he’ll just be all salt and pepper.

And I can’t even say that it looked particularly bad. It definitely looked odd, but not really that bad.

I wonder if tattooed scalps will be something we’ll be seeing more of in years to come, sort of like tattoo-covered college basketball players and government-mandated private insurance.

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