When you start losing your hair early in life, there is a period of denial. It’s inevitable. It lasts until
a. You see pictures of yourself at age 16 and at age 20 side by side. And/or…
b. People keep telling you you look like your (bald) dad, who you have never really looked like before.
Once you admit what’s happening on top of your head, people get really weird. Lots of times, they’ll ask you what you plan on “doing” about it. They ask whether you’ve considered Rogaine. No, I hadn’t, but thanks for implying that my appearance as an adult is unacceptable for life in the world.
But that’s not what the worst part is. The worst part is the other bald guys who refuse to accept their genetics with dignity. The closeted baldies. There are lots of tricks that they use to hide their condition. Most of them are wildly undignified. Let’s do a rundown, shall we, from most reasonable to most humiliating.
1. Bic-tory! (The Shaved Head)
This one is actually a legitimate fashion choice. Lots of cool famous people have had a shaved head. If you’re black, it’s a much easier thing to pull off. If you’re white, it’s a little trickier. It is possible to avoid looking like a skinhead, but you have to avoid wearing denim jackets of sleeveless flannel shirts. Your physique is also a factor. When you see a fit, athletic guy with a shaved head, you want to throw him a football. But if you see a skinny, angular guy like me with a shaved head, you want to throw me a…telethon.
A (very reasonable and dignified) friend of mine with a shaved head once said to me: “You know when you take the plunge? When a girl says she thinks it would look good.” Good advice, friend!
2. Hats On To You, Sir (Wearing a Hat All the Time)
This one is slightly more conspicuous than the shaved head in certain circumstances. When you are bald (or bald-ing, as I like to say), you have to wear a hat in the sun or else you will get sunburns on the top of your head like a real jerk. Other times, however, you have to choose your hat very carefully to match the rest of your outfit. For example, if you wear a baseball cap with a suit, then you will look like you just got selected in the NBA draft. Sombreros are rarely appropriate.
3. The Cover-Up (Toupee)
Here’s where the wheels really start to come off. A bad toupee begs the question “Why Bother?” It looks cheap. It’s always slightly askew, like rappers wear their hats. It’s got a weird two-tone look like wood paneling on an old-school station wagon. In general, it’s a hilarious disaster.
A good toupee is only slightly better. It’s kind of like one of those Magic Eye posters from the 1990s. You know there’s something strange about it, but you can’t really tell unless you let your eyes go a little unfocused and sort of look past it. Then it emerges in three dimensions. A high-end toupee is a last ditch effort to get people to look past the obvious truth. It’s like a BMW or an acoustic guitar.
4. The Game-Over (Combover)
Oh dear God. Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys. But especially don’t let them grow up to have comb-overs. A combover is just a lie that your hair tells. And it’s always such a flimsy lie. Even the world’s best combover is worse than any other haircut. It’s like a basket handle for the shamebucket of your head. Seriously. It’s like putting a Cadillac hood ornament on a Vespa scooter. No one is fooled, and no one is impressed. How can you trust someone whose haircut is a naked attempt at deception? You can’t. Here are some sentences. See how trustworthy they sound from a regular guy vs. a guy with a combover.
“There’s no need to get the police involved.”
“It’s just a cold sore.”
“I have no idea where the briefcase is, sir!”
With a regular-looking person (bald or non-bald), there’s a chance you can trust them. But with a combover dude there’s always reasonable doubt.
So bald guys, shave your head, wear a hat, or just Zen out and let it go. There’s something honest about a bald head. A scalp without a veneer. Plus, when you meet a woman, she’s thinking long-term. What’s this guy going to be like in 20 years? When a guy has hair, there’s a lot of uncertainty. But with a bald guy, the future. is. now.
At least, that’s what I tell myself.