Middle school years are hard for everyone. Looking back a few weekends ago at a few of my school pictures, I was reminded of how hard those years can be. Forget about the geeky glasses, that took up my entire face, or the acne or the raging hormones, or a million other things all changing at the same time. let’s talk instead about hair.
I had a wavy mop of brown hair. I tried to feather it back like all my other guy friends, and, of course, it was a mess. If you squint real hard and imagine Hugh Grant’s floppy wave or Chandler Bing’s Friends 80s throwback hair, minus the good looks and charm, and throw-in a few annoying traits and you have me as middle schooler.
The problem with my hair was that it never wanted to stay in one place. I would run out of the house for the school bus looking one way and by the time I actually stepped foot on the bus, my hair, frizzy as can be, would be pointing in five completely different directions.
A mind of all its own
I offer that story to say that my hair, with or without gels and mouses, has never behaved all that much. So when I started to notice some receding in my hairline in my 20s, I wasn’t all that surprised. I was annoyed, but figured par for the course. I noticed still more loss in my 30s and really started to panic in my 40s. I suffered quietly until last year. (Okay, that’s a lie. I would brood and complain after each haircut to my wife. She would console me until she had had enough and would then ask me what I wanted her to do about the situation.)
I had lost so much hair that, after years of debate, I finally decided last year during the height of the pandemic to shave off my last dying hairs. I now rarely let a few days go before I pull out my razor blade and shave off the stubble. Over the past year, here’s what I’ve learned:
–Give Karma a wide berth. If you want to keep your own hair, do not poke fun of anyone else losing theirs. When I was in college, I used to tweak a good friend in my fraternity about his thinning hairline. Look who’s not laughing anymore. Yea, he still got the best of me, but I still cringe thinking about the experience. How rude!
–God has a sense of humor. Both my brothers still have full heads of hair.
–Some people are born with skulls that look presentable shaved and some don’t. I don’t know that my head is proportioned all that great, but that’s where attitude comes in. You have to have the right attitude. In my case, I’ve tried to take a “f*ck it” attitude, this is just the way it is attitude. If Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Idris Elba, John Legend, and Michael B. Jordan, who’ve all had shaved or have very low cut hair styles, can be crowned the Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine, then maybe there is hope for me.
–Patrick Stewart and Bruce Willis are Gods among Men. Since I’ve started shaving my head, I have a newfound appreciation for both. Why haven’t they won an Oscar yet?
— It’s better to be bald, than balding. Men with entirely bald heads were perceived to be more masculine, taller, dominant, and about 13% stronger than those with full heads of hair, according to a United States study conducted several years ago.
–For the frugal spender in me, I love not having to reach into my wallet to pay for a haircut and tip each month. I don’t have to worry if the barber or hair stylist messes up my cut. Even better, I get out of the awkward chit chat with the barber.
Barber: “Oh, look at that, it’s raining again, that’s a shame.”
Barber: “What do you have planned for the rest of your day.”
Me: “Umm, umm,” as I search my brain for something that sounds interesting without revealing that I haven’t thought that far ahead, and more than likely will spend my entire day stuck on the couch bingeing Netflix. Looking as dumb as a brick, I finally tell him: “Oh, I might wash my car.”
Yes, getting by without the chitchat, that is a definite nicety.
–I find that I occasionally like to look at photos of famous celebrities when they still had hair: Bruce Willis back in his Moonlighting days and now; a young Billy Joel touring then and now; and Michael Jordan in his University of North Carolina days and now. For my tastes, I prefer the shaved, bald versions. Yes, I’m a little biased.
I’ve learned that I would love to have a full head of hair, but it’s just not in the cards for me and that’s okay, bald is beautiful.