View Full Version : "Bald men still deal with hair-raising issues"

05-12-2010, 10:17 AM
I thought this was a cleverly written little op-ed article that many posters might relate to (originally published in LA's 'Daily Breeze'):

Bald men still deal with hair-raising issues
By John Bogert, Staff Columnist
Posted: 05/11/2010 06:43:20 AM PDT

Are you really bald or is your neck blowing a bubble? Hey, you're so bald a wig won't help, so bald we can see what's on your mind.

The bad bald jokes arrive like illegal immigrants to Arizona, in waves, and without the hair-endowed ever stopping to consider that we may have already noticed.

Same as portly people or people born with an inability to eat bananas (I know of two), bald people forced to live in a hair-obsessed culture are always painfully aware of their affliction.

Oh, you don't think that we are hair-obsessed? Of course you don't. That's because the copiously haired are the most insensitive people on Earth.

Have you noticed (and I know that you haven't) how many hair salons there are in the South Bay alone? Like liquor stores silently tempting the alcoholic-afflicted, hair salons mock us.

Or at least the place where I take my son for haircuts does, with the appointment lady always looking from fur-headed son to me before asking, "Which one of you needs the cut?"

Everybody laughs, even me, because bald people are required to be magnanimous, self-effacing sports in a nation where hair-care products take up acres of drug and grocery store shelf space and most of our sex symbols come fully upholstered.

This in a world where the most primitive form of public affection involves running hands through hair. In children and adults, the simianlike stroking of hair forges a bond in which people like me can no longer share.

You get caressed, we get, "Hey, you're bald!"

Which is why bald people tend to shoulder their way into good company, a list of which I found on famousbaldpeople.com.

Sure, famouspeoplewithhair.com would be infinitely longer. But we take what we can get and what we get is pretty damn outstanding: Andre Agassi, Sir Ben Kingsley, Billy Zane, the famously bald and tough Bruce Willis, handsome Damon Wayans, not so handsome David Ogden Stiers, Dr. Phil, Ed Asner, Elton John, tough George Foreman, the great Homer Simpson, Howie Mandel, Hulk Hogan, James Tolkan, Jason Alexander, Jesse Ventura, John Malkovich, Larry David (coiner of the term "the bald community"), Michael Jordan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Montel Williams, Patrick Stewart, Paul Shaffer, Ron Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, the one and only Sean Connery, the matchless Sir Winston Churchill, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Ted Danson, Telly Savalas, Vin Diesel, Ving Rhames, Willard Scott and that man ahead of his time, the late Yul Brynner.

Seriously, you'd think that Sean Connery alone would give us all a free pass. Or most of the bald NBA, or any black male, which I mention because bald black men set the standard, always looking cool and like they are doing it on purpose.

But we have to come to grips with all this if we happen to be more Larry David than 007. Face it, without athletic cred or fame, most of us are just bald guys. A group that also includes Julius Caesar and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

And there are lot of us. According to the American Medical Association, male-pattern baldness affects roughly 40 million men in the United States alone.

I have to wonder how many of us fretted during our terrifying just-thinning days each time we saw some fossil with Captain Kangaroo bangs combed over his forehead from a ludicrous starting point at the back of his skull.

Or shuddered, as I did growing up in South Florida, in God's own waiting room, where barbershops advertised "Toupee making and cleaning, Ceasars and weaves for gents."

I never did find out what a Ceasar was but I figured that it probably came with a sudden desire to wear shorts, shoes, shirts and socks all in the same exact shade of orange.

And all this consternation that for most of us ends with a six-blade razor routinely applied to the scalp sides is caused by genes.

Nor does it help to know, more or less, what's causing the loss of hair that has about as much practical use as dandruff.

According to familydoctor.org. common baldness, male-pattern baldness, permanent-pattern baldness and androgenetic alopecia all amount to pretty much the same thing.

You're bald, with those who start balding early usually winding up the baldest. The trigger seems to be DHT, a sex hormone that also promotes facial hair growth and (OMG!) prostate problems.

The DHT apparently initiates a process of follicular miniaturization. Wonderful. Doctors, meanwhile, measure hair loss on something called the Hamilton-Norwood I-VII scale. With "I" listed as "cool guy" and "VII" as "don't worry, your mom still loves you."

What we used to hear about baldness being inherited from the maternal grandfather isn't true. Now researchers know that baldness is contributed by both parents. Mom, who has a bald father, marries a bald man and bingo, you get someone like me. Thank you very much.

If there is an upside beyond the emotional self-sufficiency that comes with baldness it is this: One measly little study conducted by some possibly deluded and probably-bald geneticists claims that hair loss possibly developed as part of a "positive evolutionary process."

The suggestion here, and this would seem to run contrary to reality, is that baldness evolved in males through sexual selection. Women, these possible baldies claim, long ago saw baldness as a sign of social maturity. In short, bald males were seen as great and dependable partners likely to raise offspring to adulthood.

OK, I did that. Can I now trade some of that endless dependability for hair?

05-13-2010, 12:55 PM
good read.

05-16-2010, 11:40 AM
Seriously, you'd think that Sean Connery alone would give us all a free pass. ...

The irony there is that Sean wore a toupee throughout his time as James Bond. :rolleyes: