Category Archives: Vanity

Fattypuffs and Thinifers

I have always had issues with self control, and my weight has suffered as a consequence of that. For as long as I can remember, I have always been a heffer. I am less of a heffer than I was once, but a heffer I still am. Worst still, I am an immobile heffer. They are the worst.

Since last August, as well as the other stuff that I have had to come to grips with, I have dealt with fluctuations in my weight as a result of whatever treatment I am on. In the grand scheme of things, my weight is far, far, down on my list of where I should be directing my attention and concern, but I worry about my appearance and when I am in a position where my weight has increased as well as the diameter of my thighs, it cannot help but sit heavily on my thoughts. I am waddling.

As somebody who never weighed themselves, the constant stepping on the scales I get in the hospital, means that as well as feeling losses and gains on my jeans, I see it on a screen. Before I had cancer, my image of people with cancer, the stereotype I mean, was a pale, bald headed person who looked a little malnourished. I never associated ‘fat’ with cancer. I get the impression, that a lot of people think like this too, regardless of whether they admit to it, because I am constantly being told how well I look, and I think my girth goes someway towards this impression (and hair growth). In the clinic, I see many people who fit my old stereotype and I always wonder why I do not look like that.

I suppose, I did have more to lose in the first place.

In the initial stages of my treatment, it would be fair to say that I lost my appetite. I was not interested in food. Eating became something that I had to do, rather than something I wanted to do. Others would have to remind me that I had to eat, for I did indeed, have to eat. Not feeling hungry was alien to me. Never in my life had I ever experienced that sensation, and as a result, as one would expect, I lost weight. I lost two stones, though the majority of this was in the first month and two weeks of hospital, may explain some it. I appreciated the side effect.

On PADIMAC, I couldn’t really understand the concept of steroid cravings, I had them occasionally, but because my appetite was suppressed, I assume by the doxorubicin, it did not make that much difference. If I gorged one day, the next day I would forget, unintentionally, to have a meal or two. I remember in the lead up to Christmas, I decided to give in to all my glutinous desires, for my transplant was scheduled in February, and anticipating some weight loss there, I literally, stuffed by face. I know I did because I wrote a blog about it. My want of sweet goods and meat fat, did not do too much damage however, because come February’s dose of cyclophosphamide, I managed to lose some of those pounds I had gained.

How things have changed…

And then, I did not have a transplant and instead, I started VDT/VTD, with its steroids, thalidomide and fatigue. You put those three factors together and what you get in return is a 10kg weight gain in four months. It may be even more, for my short term memory is questionable. I am not surprised by the gain. I am lazy, mostly be default, and I am almost always hungry, which, I am afraid, I give in to. When I am not hungry, I am tired and if I do not want to be tired, something sweet will carry me for an extra few hours. In short, my inner self is always telling me to eat. I suppose, because I have been so focused on my treatment, I thought that it really didn’t matter if I had full fat milk or cream or cheesecake or tin of corned beef as a snack. I really have been a gluttonous pig. A dirty, fat, gluttonous pig.

Clearly, I am somewhat fixated on my weight gain, well, as much as I can be given my current circumstance. I probably could have exercised some more self control. My fixation has grown after the person trained in ladies’ bits and pieces made reference to it on Wednesday. She shamed me because I was right to be shamed.

As I have discovered thus far, a change in treatment, means a change in appetite. I figure, if I am going to shit out my immune system, I might as well push out a few pounds as well. It is wrong to think of a transplant as an ‘easy’ way to lose weight. I do not think anybody can say it is easy. A transplant is not a diet, I have been told that by the Medically Trained People. I did not purchase clothes in March anticipating the transplant diet and then get annoyed that I have not yet been able to wear them. I am not worried that I will now not lose any weight. No way. Not even. I would never be that vain.

In three weeks time, I may wish that I did not have the poopy side effects, but right now, if I have to have a transplant and I have to have cancer, my self esteem may as well benefit from it. Right? Surely? It’s only fair. My soon-to-be-bald head demands it.


P.S. And yes, I have made full use of my hospital waiting time today and a train journey.

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The Wire Haired Fox Terrier

My hair is growing back. It’s a true story. I was told it would and what do you know, it is.

I was also told that it would come back wonderfully soft, like babies hair. This is not happening. No. Perhaps the reason for this is because I failed to lose all of my hair, or perhaps it is because I am genetically cursed to have hair so coarse that it resembles the coat of a wired head fox terrier. That’s right, I am walking around with a dark shade of brown head of animal hair on my head. No amount of conditioner can hide the fact that I have a thickening rug of short and curlies visible for all the world to see. My long hair hid the fact that my hair has the consistency of straw, but now it is short, there is nowhere to hide. There is also, nowhere to hide my grey hairs. Apparently, I have more than I thought I had, though, I suspect my eyes are lying to me on this subject.

It is fortunate that I do not have a significant other, because if I did, they’d obviously had the constant desire to touch me, and if they ever accidentally stroked my head, the wire carpet would cut their hand. So… Small mercies, lads.

Pubes with Headphones

Thanks Mum. Thanks Dad.

Oh well, it’ll all come out again soon. It’s a shame then, that I currently require a hair cut. The bits at the back are bending and I really do not have a clue what to do about it. Ah, the stress. Ah, the vanity.

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Wig Wam Bam

I have had a shaved head for two weeks now… I think I am coming to terms with it. It is certainly harder than I thought, especially because I am dealing with steroid associated weight gain and his friend, the double chin, but I am putting on a brave face and every day, well nearly, it is getting easier. It has to get easier because all my logic tells me that I am the same person irrespective of my hair. Sometimes though, the logic can get lost in the vat that is my mind. I still have my eyes though. That smile is still coming through, three days a week.

For the first week, I embraced the baldness. I believe I had to. I packed my hair dryer and my straighteners deep under my bed, I slowly learnt how little shampoo I need to use and I discovered the power of the comb. Try as I might, I cannot get away from putting a towel on my head after a shower. I tried. I know it is not needed. Men don’t need it, but I have used one for as long as I can remember and I feel naked when I am naked without it.

Part of me thought that if I had jumped to the wigs immediately, I would be losing this game. I would show weakness and I most certainly never want to show that. For that reason, I had to let the hair and the scalp be free. Again, my logic told me that using the wigs was not defeatist, but I thought it was, so I had to lay it bare. People needed to see it, people needed to see My Myeloma and most importantly, I had to know that I was strong enough to let people see My Myeloma. The general public don’t know what myeloma is, so for them, they could only see my cancer. For I now look like I have cancer, well, apart from the double chin and the tummy and maybe the thighs. Hell, all of it, I am not particularly fond of my upper arms either, but what women is? I can read, I know what the magazines tell me to worry about. At least it is slightly easier to get a seat on the bus now.

So, last Tuesday, I bit the bullet, I ripped off the plaster and I took my test. I walked onto the 7s, with the head on show and I have to admit, it was nowhere near as bad as I thought. Like anything, the plaster didn’t leave a mark, it didn’t hurt, and it helped to heal a wound. If I had not done it, I would always wonder if I could and then I could never rest easy. I guess now that I have done it, I can rest easy.

After the day in my office, I knew I was ready for the wigs. Since this hair loss situation started, I have always said that I would have fun with them, and I can confirm that I am now having fun with them. I have six. The majority look nothing like my natural hair and this is the way I want it. I have spent over six months seeing people in the clinic with their wigs, the same wigs, day in and day out, and although I understand why people do it, everybody’s cancer is their own after all, I knew that route was not for me. Think what you want or say what you say about that, but I believe I am too far down this road to hide in something that makes me look almost identical to what I once was. It is gone and there is nothing I can do about that, and to get through it and deal with it everyday, I cannot try to recreate something that is dead. For me, for myself I mean and my personality, not for anybody else, dear readers, I see that response as defeatist. My Logic agrees. The variety is a challenge and I am embracing it. It enhances an outfit and I like an outfit.

As it turned out, the first day I wore a wig, I felt more self conscious than I did with the bald head. I announced to anybody I was having a conversation with that I was wearing a wig. It’s better to confront that elephant in the room. It was better for them and it was better for me and I am selfish. I was certain that everybody on the street, passing me in their car or on the bus were looking at me screaming ‘wig’ with their judgemental eyes. Hello Logic, I know this is not true, but that is what I thought. At least, that is what I thought until I regained control.

I regained control in a relatively mean way. I went into House of Fraser, not pronounced Frasier, to try on sunglasses that would go with my new crop. To keep you up to date with this story, I was wearing a wig and this kind of defeated the purpose of my trip. And so, without forewarning, I announced to the sales assistant that I was going to remove the wig and that I did, instantly. The look of shock on her face was priceless, and I realised two things, firstly that I was strong enough to deal with this and secondly, there is no way, no way, that this act will not go unrepeated. I loved her reaction. It is mean, but it gave me pleasure and I will take it wherever and whenever I can. My unsuspecting victims will just have to deal with it, for I have cancer and that gives me a free pass. The Mother F&%#ing ‘Roid Rage tells me so.

Wigs are strange things, one has to get used to the added heat, but it is Winter in April, which is making this side of things easier. One also has to get used to looking in a mirror more, because I wonky parting or fringe is a faux pas, I suspect that even Haemo Dad would know that. Oh, and the feeling of wearing a loosely fitted vice on your head all day. A vice or a tight hat. Everywhere I went today, I thought I was being ill mannered for wearing a hat indoors. Wigs get in the way like actual hair, they get matted in the wind, and at some point I will have to wash them. I am learning all of this. I could probably pass a test on it now. I bloody love a test.

Dedicated to Mamma Jones, with a few side profiles and pouts for her viewing pleasure, I give you some samples. By samples, I mean, me, Emma Jane Jones, getting used to my head. I guess it is not so bad…






With this, my willingness to enjoy my baldness, and the confidence that brings, I thought I was coping well. Yesterday, however, my niece ran into my bedroom to show me the French plait Mamma Jones had just given her and it made me cry. It made my cry because I want my mum to be able to French plait my hair but I don’t have any for her to plait. I do not even have a parting. It was self indulgent but I couldn’t control it. It’s always going to smart. There is no escaping that.

In the meantime, I will wear my wigs or not wear my wigs and I will find new ways to like what I see when I look in the mirror.


P.S. This may not marry, but all this superficial stuff about my appearance does not take away from a previous blog about how confident I am these days, because of My Myeloma, about whipping my baps out in your face. Don’t forget that. I am desperately trying not to.

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Retail Therapy

Cancer does not make you wise. That’s a secret we don’t like to admit to, but it’s true. Cancer does not mean that you stop making mistakes or the occasional error in judgement. I am fortunate, that I am practically perfect in everyday, but that does still leave some room for, you know, the occasional lapse in judgement.

It would be fair to say that I had a lapse in judgement last week. I knew it was coming. I had shaved off my hair and I was feeling weak. All so very weak. I needed a pick me up. I could feel it clawing away at my psyche, telling me that I needed to look better, but more crucially, that I could easily look better if only I invested a bit of time and money. The problem here however, is that I have no money. I do however have a credit card and my, do I know how it use it. It is also apparent that I have absolutely no self control. The excellent part about whatever came over me last Saturday afternoon, is that I did it all from the comfort of Mamma Jones’ sofa. No walking around shops for me. I can’t do that anyway. I have myeloma.

To be clear, ‘all’ means quite a lot of purchases with fake money. It is people like me who make this economy work. Cancer patients. Well, maybe not, I think there is a hole in my logic. We buy on credit and then have no hope of ever paying it back. In your face Barclays. In your face. Hello new stuff.

This week, there has been a steady flow of parcels coming to my front door. It has been lovely. Fake money and immense guilt aside, I have received, two pairs of shoes, two dresses, two skirts, a top, four pairs of earrings, two necklaces and a wig. There may well be the odd thing that is still outstanding, but only time will tell. Or Royal Mail.

Just look how pretty it all is.

I know it is wrong, but I feel so much better. I know that all this stuff will vastly improve my quality of life. It makes me hotter than I was before, and I know that I have the ability to be hot, even with my current, generous display of scalp. This new stuff, is going to make you tell me that you are in love with me, because you are. I can sense it.

In short, the retail therapy worked. It worked in Pretty Woman didn’t it? She may have been a prostitute, but I have myeloma. I deserved it more than she did, but I only had a credit card to hand. The spree made me stronger. I have new stuff. And as my six year old niece told me today, I am so ‘fash-ON’. She is wise, all so very wise. Probably wiser than me, but I can be forgiven. I have cancer don’t you know.

And that is my cancer card played for the week. Or maybe month, if something else does not come along to upset me.


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The day has come. The day I always knew was going to come has come. The day I never wanted has come. I have shaved off my hair.

I should probably be clear and say that my head shaved looks better than what I have been sporting for the last ten days, and that is in public. One can only imagine what Housemate was greeted with every morning (yes, if I got up before he left for work) after I had slept on the balding mess. The pragmatic side of me knows I had to take this step, if only to save my kitchen floor from becoming a carpet. I am thankful to the person who did it, finally. I will no longer wonder what I will look like with a shaved head, because I have seen it. I will no longer wonder, at least not for the foreseeable future, how long my hair has left because it is gone.

I have prepared and prepared for this moment, and I have tried to put it off for as long as possible, but the sad truth was, that today, it was too far gone. The cyclophosphamide, that I did not need, had done its job, well at least some of it, and the only way for me to regain control was to shave it.

The act of doing it was fine. I was with Big Sister. I was brave and I knew it had to be done. I do not feel brave now. I do not want to be brave. I will deal with my new look because I have to, my circumstances and my dogged determination to make the best of My Myeloma dictate that. I do not want to look like this. I have listened to and been appreciative of other cancer patients tell me that the experience is not that bad and they have felt liberated by it, but I do not want to feel liberated. Sure, I am going to save some time in the morning and save a bit of cash on hair products, but I do not want to look like this. My name is Emma Jane Jones and I have luscious long locks, that is what I recognise. When they went, I had a bob and that was fine. I don’t recognise myself today in the mirror. I have tried to not look in the mirror. My thoughts and my mind are the same, but the packaging is different and today, I cannot reconcile the two. I don’t want to look like this.

The evolution of my mane.

What is left

I don’t want people to tell me that I look good or that I can pull it off, because I know that I would look better if I did not have a shaved head. I would also be upset if people did’t say these things by the way. There is no escaping that fact. If I am perfectly honest with myself, at certain angles, let’s say 80%, I have a double chin. Said double chin cannot be hidden when one has no hair. The hair itself is quite thin, so for extra vanity points, there are clear areas of scalp. Hmmmm, scalp. If I was a blondie, this would not be an issue, but alas, I am far from blonde. I also have masculine features. It’s a true story and unfortunately, they cannot be hidden without locks either. I fear I look like Haemo Dad, but he has more hair. I am going to need to be on the ball with my makeup; runny mascara and lipstick crud at the end of the day will no longer be permitted. I am angry with myself for thinking it, but I know for sure now that I will have to win any boy over with my wit and my wit alone and that evidently does not go far. I don’t want people to feel relief that they do not have to be seen with me on their arm. In my life, I have been fortunate to have run my hand through some very soft short hair before, and I expected my hair to feel like that. It doesn’t. It feels like a mass of ingrowing hairs. Maybe it needs to be longer. The icing on the cake was the family dog’s reaction to my new ‘do. She just kept licking my ears and the area behind my ears. I think a Bischon Frishe my have a limited IQ.

With no make up, no filter, after a dose of thalidomide, I look like this:


I repeat that I know why I have a shaved head and I know that I had very little choice in the matter. I also know that it will get better. I know my reaction to it will get better. It’s just one of those cancer related things that sucks.

I am vain, and my feelings about my hair are influenced by how I want people to see me. Despite my double chin and my masculine features, I liked the way I looked. I will have to learn to like this and I dread to think just how obsessed I will be about finding my new comfort zone over the coming weeks. New clothes are bound to be involved. Jewellery too. Perhaps some make up. As with everything else, I will not let it defeat me and I will find a way. I will find a way because I have to, just like everything else. I am just giving myself a moment to dwell. Dwell on the things it has changed and the things about me I will miss. Everybody will know I have cancer now. Well, everybody outside the London Borough of Hackney. Maybe it will make it easier to get a seat on the bus.

Everything will make sense again, and it will get off to a good start this coming Wednesday when my good friend Iana, who likes his hair more than I liked mine will be shaving his hair off for Macmillan. We were supposed to do it together and this had been planned since October, but I was a wuss and kept putting it off until I could no longer put it off. So, in short, to support me, he has decided to Bic his head. I personally cannot wait. The link to his Just Giving page is below, please dig deep. He’s had long hair, cut by his Mum since he was 13. Do not think this is a token exercise just because he is a boy. It is his armour too. Neither of us are celebrities doing this for publicity. We found our own inspiration. I should add that all previous donations have already gone to Macmillan. I swear.

Oh, and if you are still in two minds about donating. He made a video about us. It will win you over. It won me over.

Apologies if I have previously posted this, I have tried and tried to remember whether I have, but I just cannot recall. Bloody drugs.

And finally, due to IT issues, I wrote this blog yesterday. I fear that the self loving through retail therapy will start today. I want to feel pampered.


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Silver Linings

My hair is falling out, again.

I knew it would. I was more than prepared for it when I thought I was having my transplant. Get it all out the way in one go I thought… After all, I was fortunate enough to have kept it for so long.

I am not having my stem cell transplant now am I? Unfortunately, nobody told the cyclophosphamide that. My hair is falling out again and given everything else that has happened this week, the chances of just a bit of thinning, is slight. Especially when this just happened when I brushed my teeth.


If some good had come out of me having the chemo, you know, like getting better, I wouldn’t mind. No good has come from this though has it? It is October all over again.

I am now going to lose my hair, for it to grow back, for me to lose it again if I have a transplant.

I hate it. I hate this. I hate.


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Short Bed Hair

Apparently, this is what happens to short hair if your body allows you to toss and turn in your sleep.


It’s a whole new experience. And before you say anything, yes, I forgot to wash my makeup off last night.

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Loose Fitting Clothes

In the last week I have been advised twice to wear ‘loose fitting clothes’ for my forthcoming outpatient procedures. My response to this has been simple, I do not own any.

Given my build, the fact that I do not own any loose fitting clothes may be surprising, but it is true. The loosest things I own are pyjamas and I will not be wearing these to the hospital. It is bad enough that I have to wear them for a month when I am in hospital. The receptionist kindly suggested that for my bone marrow biopsy, I wore jogging bottoms. My response to this was simple, it was, “do I look like I own jogging bottoms?”

Now, I am wise enough to know that I need to be comfortable for these procedures and I understand that the jogging bottom is considered to be a comfortable garment. I know myself well enough to know that I would not be comfortable wearing a jogging bottom or any overly baggy trouser with an elasticated waist in public.

People, by people, I mean the public are not going to judge an overweight cancer patient for dressing like a slob. For I would look like a slob; I definitely would not look like I was about to partake in some vigorous exercise. I would judge myself.

You can say what you want to say about my fashion sense, but it is mine. It is my amour. I realised early on into my journey, that my clothes are the one part of me that oozes my personality, when the drugs send my actual personality to sleep. My appearance has already been compromised because of My Myeloma and I will not compromise anymore.

It sounds ridiculous but I know that I can handle a Medically Trained Person sucking out my bone juices and then removing a bit of bone with what I imagine to be a smaller version of an apple corer, if I am confident. I will feel more confident if I have my slap on and I am wearing my tight clothes. I need my armour.

The jogging bottom does not my armour make.

If I have to do these things, I am doing them looking like one foxy hot mama. Albeit, potentially, with a cannula sticking out my groin. Suggestive.

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Baby Steps

There comes a time, I assume, in every vain cancer patients journey, when they have to give in to the inevitable. I know that in a month or so’s time, I will lose my hair. I have been losing my hair since October.

I kept onto the length for as long as possible, but I fear that since the hair that fell out in the Autumn started to grow back, I had become one of those people who needed to be told to take the plunge and cut it off. It is thick on top, by varying lengths, and straggly on the bottom.

I cannot remember the last time I had short hair. I think I was probably a morbidly obese teenager, not doing well with boys, but doing well in her A Levels. I just wanted to get the last bit in, so you know that I was once a smarty pants. Whilst we are on the subject, did you know I won an award for my results? Good times. Where was I? Yes, short hair. If I was really brave, I would shave it off now. I am not really brave.

I want to know that I can have hair at varying short lengths. I am not a hair stylist. My ability to style my hair is limited to a brush, hair straighteners or a top knot. Thus, I am less worried about the total baldness, than I am about my vanity at it growing back. Plus, without long hair, what the devil am I going to play with when I am talking to people. Can I go four days without washing short hair? So many questions, with no answers.

Yesterday, I took a small step to answering some of my questions. GKD came round and to repay the dinner I cooked, she cut my hair. I can no longer tie my hair up. It’s at a length that shows off my sideburns. Sideburns, by the by, Mr Darcy would be jealous of. It’s a length that is not of my choosing.

I am not in the situation where I can have long hair. I have known this for a long time. There is nothing to be done about it and I need to stop dwelling on it. My luscious, long locks are no more. They had gone a long time ago. And this is what I am left with:


I kind of like it.


Oh, and in answer to my question about playing with me hair. Stroking the short bits at the back is quite soothing.

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The Bearded (Relatively Attractive If You Like Them Squidgy) Woman

I frequently dwell on the irony of my treatment making me lose the hair on my head, yet it has made me grow unwanted hair on my face. The situation is unfortunate. As my scalp has slowly got lonelier and chillier, my chin has found new friends, as well as my cheeks and forehead. Who knew you could grow hair on your forehead? Not me. And don’t even get me started on the nasal hair. I trim it, but it does make me sneeze and that can be dangerous with scissors so close to your eyes. And I do not need anymore problems with my body or my appearance.

The culprit is the steroids. As well as giving me insomnia, the incontrollable desire to eat crisps with melted cheese and the occasional pus shelter, they make me resemble a member of ZZ Top. At least, I think it would, if I were not so vain.

Evidence 1 – The Perpetrator

I was told to expect this unsightly side effect, but nothing can quite prepare you for it, especially if you are of youngish age, for the Shotputter Look, which I now sport. Fortunately for others, I am single, so a person out there does not have to stroke my fuzzy cheeks and grab my prickly chin. Personally, I like touching a prickly chin, but that is for another tale best not put in print.

I’ll be honest, because in these situations I think it is for best. I am no stranger to the odd bit of facial hair. Something happened between Haemo Dad’s sperm and Mamma Jones’ egg that meant I have spent my adult life keeping my moustache under control. I blame the ethnic mix. It would be fine if I were a blonde, but it is safe to say that I am not blonde, as my face would testify.

Now, my friends who are unfortunate enough to have to discuss this with me, say I am exaggerating. The other friends, if they find me make-up-less, normally have to have a discussion with me with my chin in my top. I realised it was bad when in daylight, daylight and strobe lighting really is unfair, when Big Sister pointed out the cheek fuzz. So to prove to you that I am not exaggerating and I am slowly turning into an ugly man, please see the evidence collection below:

Evidence 2 – The Hairy Left Cheek and Slight Sideburn

Evidence 3 – The Hairy Forehead and Overgrown Eyebrow

Evidence 4 – The Worst. The Hairy Jawbone

Evidence 5 – The Beard

Of course, there are remedies for this. I hope that my high dose treatment will be one such remedy as long as it lets me keep my brows. Please let me keep my oriental sparsely populated eyebrows.The nasal hair on the other hand can just disappear. I know that if I was in the office, there would be one gentleman, who would trim them for me, for he once tried to wax my moustache with parcel tape. He’s a nice chap really. For the time being, I am maintaining some of my femininity with wax strips. It is for the best. When you try to look nice because at some point, you wouldn’t mind everlasting love or even 15 minutes of it, you do not want to be walking around with a five o’clock shadow even if you do have cancer. Like I said, I am terribly, terribly vain. If you are thinking that wax strips do not work, think again, they are now used weekly.

Evidence 6 – Murdered Chin Hair.

Evidence 7 – Culled Fresh Moustache Hair

So there you have it, yet another reality of living with the Big C. I’ll probably miss it when I am bald and look like Uncle Fester. If that happens, I will draw it on. For entertainment. That will definitely help me on the subjective scale of attractiveness.

EJB aka Fuzzy Face x

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