I’ve been fighting it for a long time. And not simply the problem itself, but the psychological aspect of it as well. I think about it too much. I worry, even though I know worrying won’t do any good. I find myself fearing the worst. How will this affect me? Despite being a generally positive and optimistic person, I’ve long looked at this, um, short-coming with cynicism and dread. I know others struggle with this same thing, but I have a hard time believing I’ll be able to handle it with as much grace as them.
I’ve done research. I understand there are interventions, things ranging from simple home remedies to the most invasive treatments. I don’t have the desire to do either, though. The inevitability of the whole thing makes trying these interventions completely fruitless, a fool’s errand. Prolonging the fight just feels wrong. Because there is a “right way” and a “wrong way” to do this, and I’m determined to handle this the right way.
My only question now is…what’s the “right way” to do this?
I find myself envying those who won’t struggle in this way. I curse myself for taking things for granted before I recognized the turning point. But over the last two years, I’ve noticed it more and more, and eventually it’ll be necessary to take drastic measures. What am I talking about, you ask?
I’m talking about male pattern balding. And it’s very aggressive.
I want to be careful to point out that while I’m mostly joking about all this, there is a part of me that really hates what is about to happen. Like I said before, I knew this was coming. I heard that this would happen to me all the way back when I was a teen. But back then, I had plenty of time before I would have to worry about it. Well, now I’m almost 32 years old and my time is becoming increasingly short, if not almost gone. Much like my hair.
You know how they say when you buy a new car, only then do you notice how many other people drive your same car? That’s how I’m looking at every bald man I see right now. Presently, I still have hair. But I also understand that I have 6 months to a year to figure out how to move forward without it.
It dawns on me now that my mom probably just about had a heart attack, thinking I was talking about something much worse. But imagining the look on her face when she realized this was about me losing my hair, well that kind of makes it worth it. Sorry mom.
Like I said before, there’s a right way and wrong way to do the whole balding thing. I mean, we’ve all seen the guy holding out hope that it’s not as bad as it looks (but in reality, it’s much worse). On the other hand, if you shave it off too early, then you’re stuck shaving the stubble off every other day for 10 years. And I haven’t even mentioned head shape yet. What if the back of my head looks like a sack of potatoes? There are just so many variables to how to bow out of the hair game gracefully. And I’m just not sure I’m ready.
Why do I bring this up? Well, I got a haircut the other day and at the end, when the lady held up the mirror for me to check the hair line along my neck, I actually scowled when I saw the spot on the top of my head. Normally, it’s out of sight, out of mind. But when she put that mirror up, I knew my time was getting…thin.
So I’ve got some thinking to do. Do I start cutting it shorter than normal to make the transition a little more seamless? Or maybe I just go all out and shave it off over a random weekend. I’m leaning against that one simply because I’m afraid my son won’t recognize me. Well, that and I think I’d look like a giant pimple. No thanks.
And sure, I know I could try Rogaine or something more invasive, like hair plugs. But I know what the deal is. I’ve known for years that I was going to be bald. My mom’s dad is way bald, and ever since I heard that you inherit your maternal grandfather’s hair gene, I’ve been trying everything possible to avoid this. For example, I never wore baseball caps as a kid because someone told me it’d make me bald. Well, now I feel like I missed out on wearing a hat my entire childhood. That bums me out.
This hair situation has gotten to the point that, for the first time in my life, I’ve actually started using product in my hair. I never thought I’d do that, but it’s to the point that it just doesn’t look right if I don’t. Of course, I’m only experimenting at this point. I’m using my wife’s mousse – Herbal Essence for Curly Hair – and it smells amazing, for what it’s worth.
(Funny side story: My wife came home from work and noticed my hair looked unusually good, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. Embarrassed, I fessed up to using her mousse. She laughed at me for five minutes.)
The problem with using mousse is that I have to part it and swoop my hair to the side, and an unintentional consequence is that it highlights just how vast my forehead is. Like, it’s a 5-finger forehead. You could build a small village on it. I could probably install a decent-sized solar panel up there to help save the planet in my own little way. Are you getting the point? I think you’re getting the point. It’s not small. It’s not even medium. To make matters worse, I can’t grow facial hair well, which is a common play for balding men. I mean, I can grow facial hair, but I look like an eastern European factory worker. Again, not ideal.
I have friends on both sides of this coin. Some are balder than a 40 year-old tire, while others have manes that’d make Simba wish for more. Those guys are the worst. For my bald brethren, I need your help. Don’t let me screw this up. And women too, what are your opinions on this? I’m sure you have thoughts on good ways and bad ways for men to go bald. Don’t let me screw this up. I still want my wife to think I’m a mega hottie.
There’s no lesson here. Not yet, anyway. I just want to be open and honest about this journey I’m on, and if my experience can help another guy figure this out, too, well then that makes it all worth it.
(Yeah, I just called a 1/3-life crisis about hair “this journey I’m on”. How’s your Tuesday going?) ♦