Why Men Should Just Suck It Up And Go Bald

Our lexicon of cosmetic maintenance procedures grows longer each year. Recently, we have streamlined “Botox” into our everyday vocabulary. It has become totally normal to paralyze our facial nerves with poison to maintain the appearance of youth. The rise in popularity of curvier female celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Pippa Middleton has led to actual, straight-faced discussions about butt implants for women. Because, apparently, a butt implant is a thing that exists and is okay to get without being laughed at unmercifully.

We live in a society where others judge us based on appearance. Do we look professional? Dangerous? Trustworthy? Friendly? Sexy? You only get one first impression, and barring an intense olfactory output, the initial point of contact is visual. We give off a lot of information about ourselves that way. Height. Weight. Gender. Fashion choices. Hairstyle. Posture. Facial expression. We have only limited control of how we are perceived by the other four senses during a first meeting with someone.

It makes sense then, why we manipulate our appearances. Beauty products promise us the opportunity to gloss over our flaws and put our best foot (or face) forward. One common obsession is the fixation on concealing any signs of age. Creams, powders, and gels all offer us the opportunity to reduce wrinkles and pores in an effort to “defy” or “conceal” our ages. Though many products specifically target women in their advertisements, one corner of the anti-aging industry has pointed a laser sight on men over the past few years. The treatment of male pattern baldness as a potentially debilitating but ultimately curable condition is at an all-time high.

Baldness is an undeniable sign of aging. It is visually obvious, and it rarely happens to the very young. In the past, the methods of treating or concealing a receding hairline or a bald spot were limited. The most effective manner of subterfuge was probably the toupee. A good toupee bears an acceptable resemblance to actual hair. If purchased early enough in the balding process, it can obfuscate the impact of hair loss for years.

Other than that, though, the prospects were dismal. There was always the comb over. Possibly the least effective deception in the history of fashion. The success of the comb over was predicated on no one’s asking questions like “How come your hair goes sideways all of a sudden?” and “Why does the top of your head look like a basket handle?” Then, of course, you could be the guy who wears a hat everywhere. That tactic works fine at baseball games and old time-y jazz shows, but it dissolves anywhere there’s a gust of wind.

More recently, however, technology has given us new ways to disguise, and even reduce male pattern baldness. “Hair plug” technique looked largely horrible through the 1980s, giving the recipient the appearance of having a head of crop circles, but recent strides have given the procedure a more natural look. As doctors have adjusted the size of the hair grafts, the density of the hair, and the angle at which the follicles protrude, have all increased the verisimilitude of the process.

Also, since the patent on chemical compound minoxidil expired in 1996, the hair regrowth drug industry has exploded. It is marketed to the public for oral and topical use as Rogain, Regaine, Mintop, Avacor, and Loniten. In 1997, the drug Finasteride was approved for treatment of male pattern baldness under the names Propecia and Proscar. These compounds all show results regrowing or maintaining levels of hair as long as the patient continues to use the drugs.

No chemical comes completely free of side effects, however. Common problems with these medications include: Itching, redness, eye irritation, unwanted hair growth (be careful what you wish for!), increased risk of prostate cancer and male breast cancer, and irreversible sexual dysfunction.

There is one alternative remedy to hair loss. It may seem a little renegade, but it has proven effective in trials. Gentlemen, you can just be bald.

Yes, I know. It sounds crazy. Why would a man possibly subject himself to the indignities of a bare scalp when he could spend hundreds or thousands of dollars (plus physical comfort and ability to feel sexual satisfaction) over a period of years to maintain a semi-credible head of hair? Who wouldn’t make that trade?

Probably anyone who feels secure in his identity and does not associate hair loss with a diminishing of virility or masculinity. Going to surgical or medicinal lengths to prevent hair loss is no different than getting a facelift or breast augmentation. It takes deep-seated action against a superficial problem. While we teach children to love their own body types and hold themselves to realistic standards of beauty, we allow adult men to mask their insecurities behind (beneath?) an artificially engineered head of hair.

Pills, grafts, hats, and toupees treat the symptoms but not the disease.  At the root of the problem (pun nearly unavoidable), the issues are not baldness, but rather aging, sexual identity, and social and physical strength. Instead of allowing hair to determine how others perceive us, we as men should live in a way that embodies the way we hope to be seen. While society paints women as fastidious and neurotic about their appearance and men as slovenly and oblivious, the issue of male pattern baldness gives us a look into male vanity.

Just as all elective cosmetic surgery provides an external solution to an internal problem, the fixes we offer for baldness fail to treat the real malady. If we really wanted to give men a remedy, we would encourage them to age gracefully, and to realize that their personalities, achievements, and relationships send a far stronger message than the density of their follicles. TC mark

image – Drew Avery

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14835243 Clarence Johnson

    Balding is a condition. Bald is a choice.

    Balding is an ailment, bald is a superpower.

    Balding is the evidence of the inability to accept; baldness is a statement: “I have better things to worry about.”

    Get a Wahl, do the deed, put some lotion on it, get on with your life.

  • Anonymous

    “Gentlemen, you can just be bald” 
    Amen! Jeez, bald is seriously hot. Bruce Willis anyone?

  • Anonymous

    Lol, your questions about comb-overs. They are pretty ridiculous.
     
    That being said, I feel like a lot of guys cannot rock the fully bald look…depending on head-shape and facial structure, you can end up looking like James Carville.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14835243 Clarence Johnson

      1) James Carville w/o hair looks better than any other option for his head except under a paper bag.

      2) “Pull down thy vanity”

      • spinflux

        Agreed. He actually can rock the bald look. 

        Well, perhaps not “rock” it, but nothing else would work as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roydriskill Roy Driskill

    Seems like a majority of the “maintenance procedures” you mentioned at the beginning are used more by women than men. ;)

    Baldness is the least of our worries.  Erectile dysfunction, however, scares the living hell out of me.

  • Inmyfruitcup

    I think embracing balding is just a part of growing old gracefully.

    I for one, wish I contained the genes for male pattern baldness.
    I unfortunately will die with a full head of hair.
    Woe is me.

    All of the men I look up to happen to suffer from male pattern baldness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riddhi-G-Dastidar/816745483 Riddhi G. Dastidar

    Um, I know this article isn’t supposed to be very serious or anything, but what about women? What about young 20 somethings with alopecia? Going bald isn’t that easy then :/

  • Nick

    Are you balding? If you’re not then you don’t have the right to tell anyone to just accept it.

    • Tyrone

      are you writing an article? If you’re not then you don’t have the right to tell anyone what to not write about.

      • Nick

        Bullshit. They’re not even remotely comparable.

         If you’re getting paid to put your ideas out into the world via whatever medium then you ought to expect criticism. That’s how progress in art is made.

         If you’re making a personal decision to alter whatever genetic hand you’ve been dealt than that’s between you, yourself and your doctor.

      • Tyrone

        but your criticism seems to suggest that one should not comment about the pathological state of baldness simply becuase one is not bald.

  • Rob

    Been balding for 10 years, since I  was 18.  Stopped caring a looong time ago. Just make it work the best I can.  Keep it short, clean cut, looks fine.  Sure I’d probably look better with “normal” hair but who gives a damn?  Got better things to do than worry about my hair.

  • spinflux

    Men cite height and baldness as the greatest of their worries when it comes to what others find attractive. 

    Meanwhile they dress awfully for their build/decade, abandon their skin, won’t get their eyebrows waxed and shaped, and make ridiculous decisions about facial hair. If a man takes care of what really matters, baldness and height mean nothing. They will be sexy. 

  • Shulze

    Baldness is a great character filter. It took me a while to realise that any woman who couldn’t look beyond my receding hair line wasn’t worth the effort. And what a relief! Next…

    • Guest

      well, you should be prepared to look beyond her saggy butt and boobs, then.

      • Shulze

        Who says I haven’t?

        “i don’t find bald men attractive at all.  just sayin’. baldness can make you look about 20 years older than you are. no thanks.”

        So baldness “can” make you look 20 years older. What about those fortunate bald men who look their age? By your logic you’ll still pass because no matter what they’re like as people. Like I said, baldness is a great character filter.

  • Guest

    i don’t find bald men attractive at all.  just sayin’. baldness can make you look about 20 years older than you are. no thanks.

  • Jim

    I think all of this “acceptance” stuff is hogwash. It’s fine if you don’t actually care about the appearance of your hair. I happen not to care about a lot of things our society values, such as a big house, professional prestige, etc. But my looks I do care about. I am not about to let some know-it-all busybody (who probably doesn’t even have male pattern baldness) tell me that I should adopt his value system and forsake all of the great technological options we have to halt this condition. I am having ZERO side effects from the meds, and they are working very well. I also go to a top notch stylist, to make the best use of my hair. These things make me feel good. So, Mr. Gondelman, sod off!

  • http://medfocustv.net/2013/03/so-you-are-losing-your-hair-now-what/ So You are Losing Your Hair – Now What | MedFocus

    […] having it a little easier. The fact is that many men can simply cut their hair completely off and just go bald gracefully. While that may be the case a lot of men don’t want to cut it all […]

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