There is much shame and embarrassment tied into baldness in popular culture. From the neuroses of George Costanza to the outright sociopathic behavior of Lex Luthor, baldness is typically a sign of a weak, shifty, unpleasant individual. This is despite the fact that going bald is an inescapable aspect of aging for most men. It’s a genetic inevitability that can only be corrected through expensive, painful procedures or nasty chemical treatments. Fuck, dude, you are going to go bald. Quit trying to pretend you aren’t.
It’s already started for me, both the dreaded receding hairline and the upstairs variety that you can only see with two mirrors. Male pattern baldness is one of the early visible markers of aging. Every morning, you can examine the effects of life on your fragile exterior. It’s so gradual that really noticing it happening takes time. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I realized I was actually losing my hair, but it must have been going on for quite a while before then. Every time you clean hair out of the drain in your shower or vacuum the floor of your apartment is a quiet indicator of the process. It sneaks up on you, and there’s little recourse after the moment of discovery.
How you deal with that is your own business, but I have a strongly held belief that the only path to happiness as a bald man is dignity and acceptance. Here are some things to do (and not do) to comfortably lean into the skid and not go flying off the highway of life.
1. Don’t start wearing hats all the time.
For God’s sake, don’t pretend like a hat is going to save you from embarrassment. If you think people are going to say, “That guy who wears a hat all the time surely isn’t bald,” you’re wrong. Instead, they’ll probably remark to themselves, “Wow, that bald dude definitely wears a hat every day to hide the fact that he’s bald.” Does noted film director Ron Howard get away with wearing a hat all the time? Sure, but we still all know he’s bald anyway. Why bother with the ruse?
2. Do NOT wear a wig.
This also does not work in fooling anyone. Famous actors going bald often wear wigs in films and TV shows in order to approximate the look of a non-bald character. Woody Harrelson, Kevin Spacey, Christopher Meloni, Bruce Willis, and Nicolas Cage are well known for sporting fake hair in their work. Even if you weren’t aware that these men are balding, would their wigs and hairpieces actually fool you? Often times, they are too clean, too symmetrical, and too voluminous to pass as legitimate. These are high-end, expensive hair replacement apparatuses. Chances are, you won’t be able to afford the piece that Kevin Spacey wears on House of Cards, which means yours won’t even look as good as that. Don’t do it!
3. Appreciate all the hair you have elsewhere.
It’s not easy to see the benefits of having hair on your chest, in your nose, in your ears, on your arms, on your balls, and underneath your arms. In most cases, this hair is considered disgusting. Anyone bragging about how much hair they have on their testicles will likely be considered a real “nutbag,” if you catch my drift. This is pride is not for others. This pride is for you to share with yourself. The simple fact that your body still produces plenty of hair should be celebrated. It says, “Hey, I’m not dead yet. Close, but not quite! Look at all this ear hair I have to trim! That’s crazy!”
4. Just shave your head.
Michael Jordan shaves his head and looks great. Patrick Stewart, star of the X-Men and Star Trek: The Next Generation franchises, has been proudly bald and famous for decades now. Contrast this with poor LeBron James. He persists in wearing a headband while playing basketball, and that headband moves up his head more and more every year to hide his receding hairline. This has created numerous memes mocking King James for losing his hair and trying to cover it up. LeBron, we notice. Quit trying to hide! Just go full Jordan and shave. What are you trying to hide, dude?
5. Think about all the money you’ll save!
As an exercise, count up all the cash you’ve wasted on such trifles as hair product, combs, haircuts, etc. Now think about how you’ll never have to drop that coin again in your life. Yup, you are, in fact, the winner. All your broke friends with hair are the suckers. Drinks are on you this weekend, baldy!