12 December 2007, 23:12
A friend recently had to come to terms with the fact that yes, he was indeed losing his hair. It came as quite a shock as he’s not exactly “old”, is quite virile and healthy. Unfortunately, male pattern baldness is a fact of life.
The best way to deal with it is to first understand it. So let’s get you up to speed. You may not realise or believe it, but an average male adult can lose hundreds of strands of hair from their scalp every day. So those few strands you find on your pillow or on the shoulders of your jacket or clogging the drain in the morning? It happens to all of us. Don’t stress too much if this is what you’re finding right now – it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going bald.
The problem is that some men’s bodies stop replacing these hairs and so the balding spots appear. Generally speaking you’ll start
noticing it on the crown of your head, maybe the temples, or perhaps the hairline that runs across the top of your brow. This is why it’s called ‘pattern’ baldness.
Keep in mind that the worst thing to do is panic and get depressed about it. There’s so much you can do to counteract it, hide it well, or better yet — embrace it! My first word of advice is that like all of life’s little curve-balls, this is only going to be a big issue if YOU make it a big issue. Accept what’s going on, and you’ve taken the first and biggest step to a solution.
How to accept it
There are countless reasons as to why no hair can be a good thing. I’m not lying when I tell you that a lot of women find hairless guys attractive. Jude Law constantly makes girls swoon, and he’s starting to go bald across his hairline. A nice smooth scalp or some bristly fuzz can be quite a turn-on for a girl. There’s some sort of theory buzzing around about a bald head being somewhat… er… “phallic” in appearance. Not totally phallic — I’m not saying that’s what your head is going to look like to everybody. But apparently it’s enough to subliminally affect some thoughts inside the heads of the fairer sex. Don’t ask me — I’m no therapist. Just take advantage of it!
Remember: the head and scalp are one of the most sensitive areas of the human body. Why do you think there’s so much hair protecting it? And why do you think we secretly love getting our hair washed and heads massaged when we go to the hairdresser? Don’t pretend you hate it, I know the truth! Having no hair there means easy access for fingers, and more feeling for you when someone is touching your head and neck. Much more sensual than having your lover just grabbing handfuls of hair while in the throes of passion.
The best thing to do is just get it out in the open. Look around. You’ll be surprised how many other bald or balding guys there are in the world, or on tv, or in movies. Until now, you just haven’t really taken notice of them because you didn’t need to. And pretty soon you’ll see my point about who makes it work and who thinks they’re hiding it, but aren’t.
If you have someone special in your life, talk to them about it. Don’t be afraid, just be honest. Tell them about what’s going on, and that you’re feeling a bit weird and self-conscious about the whole thing. I’m sure you’ll get nothing but support from them, and it’s always good facing a problem together, rather than thinking you’re on your own. And if you’re NOT in a relationship, this is a great opportunity to reinvent yourself and unleash a new you! No really, it is — and I’m actually jealous of you for it.
How to embrace it
No word of a lie: I made a pact with myself at a very young age that if I ever start going bald, I’m going to shave my head. So do that! Don’t let those stupid little hair follicles get the better of you! Have the last laugh and beat them at their own game! Show those bastards who’s boss! You don’t need them!
It’s scary, I know. Right now I couldn’t imagine myself with absolutely nothing on my noodle. I’m really tall and pretty skinny — yeah, I’d look pretty weird if I went bald. But the trick to embracing a new look is making it work for you. Some fresh clothes, a little style, maybe a tan; you’ll be surprised how tweaking the other aspects of your look and appearance will drastically alter the lack of hair on your head. The best illustration of this fact is Neil Strauss, author of ‘The Game’. While I don’t necessarily condone some of his actions in his book, I do admit it’s a damn good read. And he’s a perfect example of what a razor, some sunshine and a new wardrobe can do for an average looking guy.
No disrespect, but that’s a HUGE improvement.
Get yourself into a gym and get the rest of you looking great, and having no hair will start to bother you less. Focus your hair-growing talents on a great beard or moustache if you think you can pull it off. Plus, think of how much time you’ll save in the morning not having to brush or put product in your hair. The world is your oyster and your shiny new head is the pearl inside!
How to hide it
If you can’t step up and accept it, that’s okay. Really. It is a big change. I still think you should push your limits, but there’s nothing wrong with being self-conscious while you get used to it, and wanting to hide it for a while. Just remember though, there’s a very fine line between hiding your balding issues well, and looking like you’re flat out in denial. Guys who adopt any sort of combover are actually drawing attention to the fact it’s there. You’re not fooling anybody, especially us tall people who can still see the top of your head. And growing the rest of your head long does NOT fool the rest of us at all.
Speak to your hairdresser. Not a barber — an actual hair stylist. I’ve always wondered what a guy actually asks for when he sits in the barber’s chair before walking out with a combover… “Yeah, just trim the back and sides kind of short, but leave this huge wavy line of hair down to my shoulders please — I like to flick it over.” Have a talk with them and be honest. Tell them you’ve discovered you’re going bald or that your hair’s starting to thin, and that you’d like to deal with it and hide it in a fashionable way. If you’re only going a little bald, a quick change in style can hide it well. It might even be as simple as flipping a fringe so it sweeps right instead of left. A lighter tone in hair colour might also disguise the fact that it’s thinner, or even changing from a long style to a messy, cropped one will do the trick.
Please do NOT invest in any wig, hairpiece or spray on head colourer you see on late night television. These are for creepy old men who ogle girls in public places and scare children. You don’t want to be that guy. Instead, open yourself up to the world of hats, beanies and other head fashion. Accessories for guys have been HUGE for the past few seasons so take a cue from Pete Doherty and invest in a few stylish hats and make it your thing.
How to counteract it
I admit, I’m not really qualified to comment or advise on medical advancements to cure baldness. But I’ve seen the ads, I’ve heard the stories — I know what bitchy people say in sitcoms about the guy in the office who has ‘plugs’. All I can say is that I do know that rejuvenation is more successful the younger you are and the less balding you are. So don’t be scared — go see your doctor about it as soon as you think it’s a problem.
As a firm believer of the groomed man, I do offer the following advice: take care of your hair. Keep it clean, and choose shampoo and conditioner that’s right for your hair. Buying these from a supermarket is fine, but cheaper products can contain a lot of the wrong types of chemicals, so speak with a professional when you get a cut and consider spending that extra on the range or products they stock at the salon. Dry it vigorously with a towel, and avoid straighteners and blowdryers (if you do use these, make sure you counter-balance their use with a good hair treatment). Comb or brush your hair often, even if your ‘do is a messy one.
Remember, there’s no foolproof cure or preventative to baldness. So love your hair while you’ve still got it.
Extra For Experts:
Bald ‘R’ Us — Good advice and tips written by guys going through the same thing.
Bluey Day — If you’re gonna shave it, why not raise some money in the meantime?
Bald men on Flickr — Self-explanatory, really!