When I started to go bald, about ten years ago, I enthusiastically bought some clippers and buzzed my hair down to near extinction, where it has remained in an endangered state, awaiting its inevitable annihilation from existence. At first, people used to say things like, “You got a haircut.” No shit. I was ambivalent to the random flurries of passing innocuous commentary. But then, as time passed, the statements and conversations grew to be quite interesting when people started to say things like, “Dude, that’s my greatest fear.” Thanks. Sometimes comments and questions were spoken in a consoling tone; the same tone people often use when someone dies. I don’t think they meant to be rude, it’s just that people are more willing to share extremely personal information with those whom they perceive to have already lost everything.
When I was younger, I never used to comb, or brush my hair.I didn’t even fully understand the difference between combing and brushing hair until fairly recently. Apparently, they serve different purposes. Who knew? I’m still ignorant about this one, but it’s a useless distinction for me anyhow.
If you’re male and if/when, you start to lose your hair, you will start to notice many hilarious things about the many ludicrous aspects of hair-pride, and fear-of-hairlessness. Hair is more than just thousands of follicles and threads of protein that are glued to the top of your head. Hair is a statement of purpose. Long flowing hair coupled with an ample supply of wind signifies heroism and/or godliness; ponytails mean that you know karate or magic; clown hair (hair on the sides, bald in the middle) invariably means surrender; etc. Generally, people with hair tend to use hairdos to amplify their own underlying character; quirky, serious, artistic, dangerous, creepy,kidnapper-y. If you don’t believe me, next time you’re out in public, take notice of the congruous relationship between hair and persona.
Over the years, I have made some observations about baldness:
1. If you’re bald, you have to make a conscious effort to smile more often than haired people, because otherwise people think you’re angry and likely short-tempered; the shorter the hair, the shorter the fuse on the dynamite. Perhaps it’s because of their own deep-seated fears that they think to themselves, “That guy’s got nothing left to lose…”
2. Some people think that bald people, especially young bald people, have some type of disease that stole their hair. Because, after all, it would never be a choice. Anyone with any hair would do a comb-over, or at a minimum, keep some clown-hair to show that they’re still at least hanging on to the edge of the cliff.
3. It is difficult to guess a bald person’s age. Baldness makes young people appear older, and old people appear younger; effectively expanding a person’s middle-aged appearance to constitute a greater portion of their life. When I had shitty hair, in my early twenties, people thought I was in my late twenties. When I buzzed off my tuft of mangled, thinning, indignity, I subtracted a few years off my appearance.
4. Bald people are perceived to innately possess greater physical strength, but people will often think that you’re constantly angry (observation #1), and therefore threatening.
So, if you have Zeus-like hair, and you live in an abundance of wind and guitar solos, then I salute you. But on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re going bald, everyone knows where your journey ends. There’s no shame in accepting the inevitable.