Baldness–The Haircut God Gave You

 Hair is a touchy subject for me. Not literally, because when I reach up there is nothing to touch.

I used to have crazy, kinky, wild curly hair, but for most of my young adulthood I had a baby-fat, squinty face. I was probably well into my twenties before my eyes could be seen in any picture. Then just as my face was starting to form some sort of recognizable chin, my hair began to recede. “Recede” is too mellow a word for it: the tide started flying back toward the ocean like God was sucking it up with a giant straw. My timing has always been from hunger.

 It began innocently enough. I was watching a video of a show I was in and a telltale, dime-sized glow seemed to be following me everywhere I went. I adjusted the settings on the TV to no avail—I had entered the land of Baldania, population me. Then the unsolicited remarks began. First it was my brothers gleefully cluing me in that I was losing a little off the top (they and their mountaintop heads have all since joined me, ha, ha, ha–suck it!) Then some friends gingerly suggested that I try Rogaine or some other such witchcraft meant to reverse what nature has so painstakingly stripped away, hair by drain collected hair. Comb over? I might as well give up, wear sweatpants and become a fast food chain manager. Plugs? What do I look like, a pin cushion? A rug? I’d rather collect roadkill and glue it to my head. It would look more realistic.

 So I shaved the whole kit and kaboodle. Like Telly Savalas, Michael Stipe, Bruce Willis bald. And to my relief I found that I did not have an oddly shaped head. The ears are a bit…prominent, but that’s to be expected. And there’s an awful lot of white forehead. Irish Caucasians don’t “do” bald, they have bald done upon them. There should be a paler shade of white with red blotches in the crayon box called “Irish Skin”. I’ve been asked to cover my head at water parks because people couldn’t read from the glare. We have to turn off the flash when I’m in a picture. I can’t prove it, but I believe I glow in the dark if I’ve been near a lamp too long. Am I painting an adequate picture here?

 Now that the deed was done I thought my problems were over. Then my kids grew old enough to become sarcastic. I don’t know where they got it…maybe it was that Sarcasm and Carrots baby food we fed them, or the fact that we’ve been tearing apart bad TV actors and writers since the boys were a week old. Suddenly I was back in 2nd grade, but instead of fat jokes at my expense it was bald jokes. Kids are meanies! Whenever I took off my hat, they’d yell “my eyes, my eyes!” ala the Spongebob Movie. They’d point at a globe of the Earth and ask if I posed for it. They’d spontaneously crack up whenever Elmer Fudd, Charlie Brown or Captain Picard graced the TV screen. They both have so much thick, fast-growing hair we know the girls at Fantastic Cuts by first name. My older guy gets his eyebrows waxed. He’s not vain, we’re just afraid his brows will get wet when he eats cereal. And baldness skips a generation, so I’ll have to live long enough to make fun of their kids. I’ve requested to be kept alive by artificial means so I can do just that.

 Bald is sexy, though. That’s what my wife tells me, at least. And it’s what every talk show says when they have a bald guest. Bald men are more virile and charismatic, and they have more testosterone. Yeah! This is sounding better and better! Look at Yul Brenner! He rocked the revival of The King and I when he was like 97! “Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!” This just might work for me.

Then I see one of those “before” photos in a Propecia commercial. Look at him, he looks so pathetic. Bald loser. Look at his “after” photo. Did he get caps too, that son-of-a…? He drives a better car now, and he has a blonde in the passenger seat who could be his daughter. Look, he plays guitar in a band. I always wanted to be in a band. He’s getting out of the pool and everyone’s admiring him. He’s smiling like he’s been hanging out by the filter pump too long. He didn’t even have a pool back when he was bald.

I look in the mirror. I look like an ex-convict mated with a POW.

But hey, my maternal grandfather was one of the nicest people in the world. He let me win at rummy. When he’d visit, he threw ground balls to me from a foldout chair in the backyard and taught me what an “error” was. I used to fall asleep on his lap, looking at the little sewn-on sun on his big green pullover sweater. He’d give me and my brother lemon drops and Wrigley’s gum and peppermints from his stash on top of his dresser. He told us he fell asleep with his hat on one night and woke up bald the next day. Maybe I’ll tell me grandkids the same story. At least until they get a little older, if I’m lucky enough to be around. Then I’ll say, “Ha, ha, ha—suck it!”

    • joelflowers
    • January 24th, 2011

    If my hair grew like my fingernails, I’d have an afro. It might comfort you to know that whatever hair you lose from your head will eventually show up on your back and shoulders.

  1. Alas, eventually has come to pass…

    • Joe
    • January 24th, 2011

    I feel your pain, sir, but at least you got a handsome “mug” to go with it!

    • Joe, you’re one of the most handsome people I know, and I mean that in a completely gay way.

    • Joe
    • January 25th, 2011

    Thank goodness you meant that in a gay way!

    • Joe Petti
    • February 3rd, 2011

    Brian, you DO NOT look good bald….period. I looked at some old photos, and I keep noticing the bright light in a bunch of them….and I realize that they’re the only pictures I have of YOU!

  2. I beg to differ–I am smokin’ bald. You, however, have ape ears. Ha ha, can’t hit me, I’m fifty miles away-ay.

  3. I’m dealing with this now and it’s been a real emotional struggle for me. Thanks for the uplifting post! Hoping I find the courage soon to shave it all off : /

  4. Look at the bright side, Jared. Zero upkeep and all the money saved on haircare products!

    If all else fails, tell people who make fun of you it was chemo. That’ll shut ’em up.

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