About ten years ago, rather than watch the slow erosion of my hair-line, I decided to get ahead of the process and take control. I just shaved it all off. This was a high risk move. Who knew what I might find? Unsightly moles or birthmarks. Ridges that look like ballpark hot dogs. A lice colony. A pointy head. But I figured if Andre Agassi could do it after the great hair he once had, then I was up to the challenge. Plus, both my father and his father were bald, so I felt it went well with my last name.
Some men just ignore going bald and pretend it isn’t happening. If they’re tall enough, they just think no one will notice. Or they try the “comb over”–combing the surviving hair strands over the bald spots. This usually requires them to grow the hair on one side of their head longer than the other, which can become awkward on a windy day or when swimming. Jewish men can join their synagogue men’s club, claim to be more observant and wear a yamulka. In the UK, men can wear hooded sweatshirts, which hides the problem and keeps people from enquiring for fear of having their telly stolen. If you are an artist or a musician, you can wear a ski hat. People will just think you’re cool.
Other men try to fight the good fight. They rub fertilizer (Rogaine) into their head each night to make it grow back. Or take magic pills. Or try implants, which can often look like a corn field in the planting season. Worst of all, they wear a toupee, which “they say” look so real you can’t tell them from the real thing (unless of course the wind blows, or it rains, or its very hot out, or you see them in the shower).
So, I thought I would just get ahead of the issue and shave it all off before it fell out. That way, people would think that I was confident, or tough, or a football hooligan, or Ben Kinglsey…but not bald. And, anyway, I’m sure it would grow back if I really wanted.