by Z.S. Roe
Are you a balding man? High five, bro! So am I.
But do you begrudge your thinning pate? Does the increasing sparseness on the top of your dome make you feel like less of a man? For many of us the answer is a resounding “Yes.” Society, it seems, doesn’t think highly of our kind. The assumed narrative suggests that when we lost our hair, our testicles scurried off as well.
So what are us balding banditos to do?
The way I see it, we have only two options: hide it, or embrace it.
But we need to clear one thing up first …
YOU’RE BALDER THAN YOU THINK
No, I know. You stare into the mirror every single day and see that hairless monkey staring back at you. How could you not know just how bald you are?
Look, the problem isn’t you; the problem is the physical limitations of your eyeline – put plainly, you can’t see the top of your own head as clearly as everyone else can.
Case in point, I recently attended a book signing of one of my favourite authors. While waiting in line to have my book signed, someone from one of the seats above me snapped a photograph, which they later posted online. When I eventually saw the picture, I didn’t recognize myself. Yes, I clearly saw the back of some random bald guy’s head, but I didn’t realize that that random bald guy was me.
Truth was, I hadn’t known that I was that bald because I had never seen myself from such a clear perspective. Every morning I looked into the mirror and saw the top of my forehead. Now I was seeing the whole thing, and goddamn was it depressing.
So what was I to do?
The first option is tempting. After all, no one has really noticed yet, right? You’ve caught it early. You haven’t yet crossed the point of no return.
But you have – trust me. Everyone knows you’re balding, and they have for some time.
Still, you do your best to minimize your loss. You learn to style your hair in such a way as to suggest a much thicker mane than you’re actually sporting. No, you’re most certainly not attempting a comb-over … at least, not at first. Truth is, by the time you’ve realized that this is what you’re doing, it’s too late to do anything else. You couldn’t see the top of your head, and didn’t know it looked this ridiculous, but you can’t go back now – that would be admitting defeat.
Of course, there are other options for those looking to hide their shame. For instance, I once had a hairstylist finish cutting my hair by adding a sprinkling of Toppik Hair Building Fibers to my new ‘do. I was impressed by the results; so too was my wife … until she got a closer look and remarked that Toppik made it look like my head was growing mold.
Which is to say, yes, you can try to hide your baldness, but the only person you’re truly hiding it from is yourself. Everyone else knows. The good news, though, is that most of those people don’t care.
Which leads us to the other option …
In my early twenties, I spent a summer installing windows with a middle-aged British man named Allan. He had that stereotypical British bulldog look, and spent most of the day with a hand-rolled cigarette jutting from the corner of his mouth. He liked to talk while we worked, and I liked to listen, and by the end of that summer I had picked up several of his colloquialisms and much of his profanity.
One of the things he said to me was this: “Look, Zac, you’re gonna lose your hair. Anyone with two eyes can see that. No, don’t fuckin’ pout — it was the same with me. Just ask my Ex.” He smiled to show that he wasn’t trying to be mean, but helpful. “Just don’t be an idiot about it, right? Don’t try to fuckin’ hide it. Beat it to the punch. Cut it short.” He then pointed to his own neatly buzzed head and winked.
And so that’s what I do. Every month I go out and get a buzz cut for $14.00. Rather than make a fool of myself, I’ve embraced the inevitable. And you can, too.
There is, of course, one final option: you can choose to just not give a shit. You can continue to rock whatever hair style you’ve been rocking for years. I know a man who works at a guitar shop in town – he has dreadlocks that hang all the way to his butt, and he has absolutely no hair on the top of his head. Does he care what people think? God no! He can shred on the guitar like a bad ass, and he knows it.
This is a cop-out, I know. But it’s also the truth. The cure for male pattern baldness is whatever you need it to be. Whatever makes you feel comfortable in your own skin – that’s the cure. Personally, I tend to think that trying to hide your baldness is a waste of time and energy. But I’m just some asshole on the internet. What do I know?
Moral of the story: you do you, you bald beautiful bastard.
Opinion is a sometimes column of just that, my opinion. While opinions are like noses and everyone has one, mine are especially snotty. Please leave a comment or question—all opinions are welcome, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. If you like what you read here, please subscribe.