Going bald like a man
In middle school I wrote a poem called "An ode to baldness.” A can’t remember exactly what I said, but I remember making fun of the whole scenario of going bald. I guess maybe I should have had a little more discretion with my words since … well—maybe I should have just thought more about the fact that my dad was bald.
But when you're a teenager you just don’t think that much, and when you do think it’s generally not always so insightful. So it didn’t dawn on me that karma would come back to haunt me.
It started in high school, you see. At first I didn’t notice, but after an exceptionally bad experience with scissors and a supposed haircut, a lot of my peers noticed that I had what you might call an exceptionally large forehead. That was clue number one, but since I wasn’t pursuing a career as a detective, and as I already mentioned the fact that teenagers don’t always think much, I sort of didn’t pick up on the evidence.
In time I started to notice that every time I washed my hair my hands would come away with strands of human hair. My hair, to be exact. Darn things were jumping ship. I don’t know what I did to offend them, but I must have offended someone.
Then one day my girlfriend was pulling back my hair and laughed. "You’re going bald,” she said.
NO! Could it be?
Suddenly I was overcome with anxiety. Was it true? Was I bound to fall into the ranks of Gandhi and Ben Franklin (you have to at least have role models), a person fallen from Homo sapiens to Chromius domus?
I panicked. I started using hairspray to make my hair stay in one spot. Had to use a lot on windy days since I didn’t want the recession to upset my economy of social interactions—meaning I would be hung before the world would know that I was losing my hair. Alas! I had a large mop of a style I needed to maintain, a relic of the eighties to keep! How would I fit in without a canopy of fur on top of my skull?
See, for women and most lucky men, hair loss seems comical. But when you’re the unlucky one who will always be followed by your own personal environmental spotlight, you can’t really view the situation with a smile. The dismal truth is that a thinning supply of hair is often the sentence to lifelong personal anxiety and social dysfunction. That’s why you find math teachers who never look at the class because they know that everyone else knows that all that stuff on top really belongs hanging off to one side.
Well for me it all ended one fine summer day. I said, "Enough is enough” though not quite in those terms. I decided that I wouldn’t let myself go bald against my will. If I was going to be hairless—I would be hairless because that’s what I wanted. And I did—I got out the clippers and rid myself of my failing winter hat.
At first no one knew who I was. It was like I was a new man. Suddenly I noticed that people reacted to me differently. Friends say that people gave me more respect because I suddenly looked meaner, but I’d like the think that people parted for me in the street because I had a better air of confidence in me since I didn’t have to worry about people finding out about my big secret. Who knows?
I can’t give you any advise about Rogaine and toupees and all that stuff since I’m a writer, and I don’t make enough money to buy all that. But I can say this: if you’re losing your hair, quit beating around the brush. Be a man! Just shave it off. It is a big step, guys, but believe me—it’s liberating in the end. No more combs or fear of windy days. Just pray your head is not a cone.