So You’re Going BaldPosted: December 4, 2011
This piece was originally published in SFU’s student newspaper, The Peak. They’re pretty rad people. This was edited by Features Editor Kelly Thoreson and shot by photo editor Mark Burnham. The bald spot is my own, the shirt is Calvin’s.
Were I to rewrite this, I’d probably add in a few paragraphs about other things, but, you know, word limits and such.
So You’re Going Bald
Odds are if you’re reading this, you’re either balding and in denial, balding and not in denial, or some kind of hairy freak, doomed to never have to crane your head in weird directions to see how thin things have really gotten. It starts harmlessly enough — you see a photo of the back of your head and see more scalp than you’re used to. “Hey, that’s weird!” you’ll say, and you might feel around back there and shrug. That’s just the way your hair parts, you’ll think. Or, you’ve just had a really stressful semester. Sure. So you’ll get some special shampoo, maybe some Rogaine, just to touch things up. It’ll be fine.
No, it won’t. My friend, the recession is in full swing, and it’s on top of your dome. There are several stages of baldness, and the whole process begins with Denial. You might ask your friends and family and they’ll say all’s well on the western front, but they’re lying. Denial quickly segues into the It’s Not That Bad phase (INTB), which most men stay stuck in. The next phase is Recognition, and this is typically the longest phase. It is here that men realize that, yes, they are balding. The last (and best) phase is Acceptance, where men become comfortable with the uncomfortable fact that they are balding. Note that the scale is purely introspective and psychological and does not reflect how bald someone is.
Once you fall into Denial, the choices you make from here on out will be the most important decisions of your life. What follows is a practical guide of how and how not to cope with your new problem.
Spray-on hair products are carried by a number of reputable companies, but that doesn’t matter because this isn’t an option, and there’s one reason: it looks dumb. Really, really dumb. You know when you go to the mall and you want to buy a phone or something and the cashier has painted or drawn-on eyebrows, after having decided to shave their actual eyebrows? It looks horrifying and stupid. This is even dumber and much more pathetic.
The perennial problem of hair loss is that once it starts, it’s all downhill. You can’t reverse its effects. You can stop it, maybe, and you can certainly slow it down, but that’s it. Rogaine is a spray-on liquid that you need to apply every day for the rest of your life. Is that any way for a man to live? Probably not. You could try it and might be pleased with the results, but the first time you go camping or on a vacation and leave it at home? You’re screwed.
While the toupee is a classic, it has its share of problems. First and foremost, it is a lie. That piece of dead hair on your skull? Not yours — you are lying to every single person you see while wearing that thing. Not only does it look dumb, but say you run into a nice girl, and you two get to talking. Soon you’re on a date and bam, your hair comes off. Embarrassing.
Second, consider the change — one day you go from a man with a huge bald spot to one with a luscious head of hair? Really? And if you like outdoorsy activities or sports, those are out, too. What, are you going to take off your hair before going for a hike or swim or run? No, don’t be an idiot.
Hair plugs are pretty much the Cadillac of preventative hair loss measures, were that Cadillac actually a beat-up LeBaron with a Cadillac hood ornament and Hot Wheels flames on the side. Think of it this way: no one looks good with hair plugs. Think of any person in the world, no matter how rich or how famous, who has hair plugs. Now name one that has a nice head of hair. Can’t do it. Even those celebrities who do have ‘good’ hair plugs have to wear crazy hairstyles to pull it off. Here’s my point: if balding was a problem that could be solved by money, Ben Affleck wouldn’t look like such a clown.
There was a time when the only people who shaved their heads were skinheads and steroid monkeys, but those days are gone. The complete shave appeals to a lot of men and there are two very good reasons for it. The first, no one can tell you’re balding. The second, however, is that it demonstrates that you’ve seen a problem, and like the manly man that you are, have acknowledged it and addressed it directly. You’re balding, so you might as well speed Mother Nature’s work up.
Admittedly, it is one of the best solutions. It directly addresses the problem and has the added benefit of people not knowing why you shaved your head, unless you let it grow too much. In the meantime though they’ll just think you’re a neo Nazi or something. Win-win.
It is a well established fact that no man is manlier than Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise. He has a bizarre fascination with 20th century stuff and is a man’s man. But Picard’s hairline has gone where few hairlines have gone before — he has the laurel-thing, the crown. And that is probably his crowning achievement. Why? Because just going bald and letting nature take its course is badass. It shows you don’t care what anyone else thinks and that, while you may be going bald, you’re still an excellent negotiator and can pilot a ship better than Kirk (who, by the way, had a full head of hair). Achieving the Picard takes the fullest possible acknowledgement of your baldness, coupled with the serene calm that allows you to quote Moby Dick whilst fighting Borg.
There you have it. Hopefully this guide has kept you from making a terrible decision, unless you’re in denial, in which case you will continue to make terrible decisions until you realize that if your hair looks thin in certain lighting conditions, it is in fact, thin.