Baldness – a blessing or a curse?

I’ve been in my current state of baldness for as long as I can remember. This is probably because I started to lose my hair at such an early age. By my mid-twenties it had become a major problem in my life. What began as a slightly receding hairline had transformed into a definite thinning of the hair on top. I had tried to disguise it by combing my hair forward and keeping it in place with hairspray, gel or mousse, or sometimes all three. However, as I continued to lose my hair, and had less to work with, this was becoming more difficult. Plus on a windy day my hair would lift and my cover would be blown.

 So by my mid-twenties I was faced with having to come to terms with losing my hair and at the time I did not take it well. Previously I had enjoyed styling my hair. A particular favourite was the Elvis quiff. I even grew matching sideboards. And on a holiday to Tenerife at the ripe old age of 18 I had all my hair shaven off bar this quiff sticking up on top. It was an absolute belter of a haircut! Being so fond of my hair, it naturally came as quite a blow to be losing it and my confidence was greatly affected. I thought my pulling days were behind me. Who would fancy a lad of my age with dodgy receding hair when there were so many with a shaggy coiffure to choose from instead?

It got to the stage where I began to look online for solutions. I found one company that provided non-surgical hair transplants which looked very promising. I made an appointment. The consultant explained that a human hair piece would be woven into my existing hair to give me a complete head of hair once more. The hair, sourced from abroad, would match the colour of my own. He went on to explain I would have to return to the studio various times during the year to have it taken off so they could cut the hair on the back and sides of my head where my own still grew. It wasn’t an ideal solution and once I was told the price, which would run into thousands of pounds, I decided it wasn’t going to be an option. Elton John had had something similar but he was loaded and could afford it.

If I wanted hair again, the only other option seemed to be a wig. All the rage with baldies in the seventies and eighties when hair was big and Kevin Keegan perms were in fashion, they could be worn on the head of a follicly-challenged gentleman with varying degrees of success. Sometimes it was obvious someone was wearing a rug on his head but other times they were so convincing that it was impossible to tell. This was the case with a neighbour of ours who, incidentally, was a barber by trade. For all the years that we knew him he always had a good head of hair. Then one day we spotted him mowing his lawn. He was as bald as a coot! What he had been doing for all of those years was wear a wig and it had fooled everyone. So the option to follow suit was available to me. However, I thought this was a step too far and I was also scared in case it ever blew off. It would ruin me!

The Keegan perm, all the rage with footballers back in the day

And so I was facing the rest of my life as a bald man. I was only 24 or 25 and I thought my life was over. A few people had told me to just shave it off and admit defeat but I didn’t want a skinhead. Besides, I still had some hair I could play around with. But then something happened one day and since then I’ve never looked back. I was out socialising with a female friend of mine. We were having a good laugh chatting on and slowly getting drunk. At the end of the night we went back to someone’s house. Inevitably we carried on drinking and she tried to persuade me, as she often would, to shave my hair off. I think she was quite partial to skinheads if truth be known. Previously I had always refused but this time for some reason, I agreed to it. It was probably the drink. Anyway, she got some hair clippers, which were used for shaving the dog’s hair with, and began to scalp me. It wasn’t long before there wasn’t a hair left on my head. I was a little scared to look in the mirror but when I did I was ecstatic. The improvement was enormous. The receding thinning hair that made me look older had been replaced by a cleanly shaven scalp that gave me a much younger cheeky boyish look. It was so much fresher and tidier than the ridiculous mess I had on there before. It was also extremely low-maintenance. I no longer had to faff on trying to style what was left of my hair.

And I was lucky because during that time, in the nineties and into the noughties, hairstyles were changing. Cropped hair was all the rage. Everybody wanted a David Beckham rather than a Kevin Keegan. Now well into my forties I don’t really care what the fashion is, not that I could tell you anyway. I’m so used to being bald that I wouldn’t want to be any other way. And I had no reason to be worried about girls not liking bald men. I’ve found that many seem to find a smooth skull quite sexual. But it is a funny old game, is baldness. For men, as they enter their thirties and forties many do, sadly, start losing their hair. What adds to this anguish is that suddenly other hair starts sprouting up from other areas of the body. The back, shoulders and upper-arms are common areas, but what really irritates is when rogue hairs start growing out of your nostrils and ears, not to mention those really long ones on your eyebrows. Without careful maintenance, many of us would end up looking like extras from ‘Teenwolf’. A common practice for baldies is to grow a beard, as if to compensate for the lack of hair on our scalp. I have often partaken in this activity but after a month or so I get bored and tend to shave it off as it looks like someone has put my head on upside down.

More recently, there have been medical advances in the area of hair loss. Transplants that involve taking live follicles from your neck and putting them into your scalp where your hair is receding are proving to be very effective. This is similar to the procedure Wayne Rooney had. After the operation he had a full head of hair again. But I doubt this would work for me now as I am totally bald and there wouldn’t be enough follicles available to cover my scalp. Shampoos and magic potions are also on the market these days which claim to encourage hair growth. But again it is only suitable for people still with a decent amount of hair. So I think I will stick with being bald for the time being. Anyhow I have seen old pictures of myself and I just look weird with hair. One final option which I have been looking at is hair tattooing which involves no real hair. What they do is tattoo lots of tiny dots onto your scalp to give the impression of having stubbly cropped hair. It does look very authentic. The only downside is that after 3 to 5 years it fades and you need to repeat the procedure and hand over another grand or two. It’s one to think about though.

What began as a curse has turned out to be a blessing. Maintenance is low, I have a beautiful girlfriend, and I’m perfectly content in my world of baldness. One day I might give the tattoos a try. You never know, it might ‘shave off’ a few years and make me look younger.

Telly Savalas as the lollypop sucking, crime fighting slaphead Kojak. Who loves ya baby?

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