Being a bald man sucks. Knowing you'll become one is worse
March 13, 2018 10:35 AM   Subscribe

 
I will note that Propecia has recently become a generic drug and prices have fallen drastically, so if you don't want to become transcendent and accepting of your hair loss... now is a good time.

(I have the same circumstances as the man in the video and I WILL NOT GO QUIETLY)
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:36 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


da fuq? it's awesome: do you know how much time and money i save on hair care?
posted by entropicamericana at 10:41 AM on March 13 [43 favorites]


why are his baldness genes personified as a racist caricature of an Indigenous person
posted by wreckingball at 10:45 AM on March 13 [15 favorites]


I was totally freaked in my early 30s that I would never be able to date cause balding. Not true! Doesn't seem to be that much of an issue at all. I'm on the tall side, and that seems to trump bald x1000 (at least among U.S. women).
posted by msalt at 10:46 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Im 47 with a full head of hair. I used to shave my head because I thought it was a good look for me, but absolutely no one around me agreed and they were happy to say so.
posted by 4ster at 10:46 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the fact that I'm balding is the only thing that is stopping me from having a mullet, so I'd say it is a good thing.
posted by dominik at 10:50 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


The fact I can't watch this right now is a bit maddening, since I'd like to express that baldness doesn't seem nearly as big a deal as it once was. I don't know how the cartoon presents it, but if it's really about the dread fear of baldness then it's expressing the view that generationally or culturally won't apply to many here.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:51 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


I'm on the tall side, and that seems to trump bald x1000 (at least among U.S. women).

This is true - I can speak from long personal experience that being short is, largely, dating napalm.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:53 AM on March 13 [11 favorites]


I'm short, balding and have a hairy back. Right out of college, I thought these things would curse me to loneliness forever. I quickly learned that this was not the case, though getting there required effort and assistance. Hopefully our filmmaker friend here will have the same revelation.

TL;DR: Patrick Stewart.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:56 AM on March 13 [19 favorites]


I literally haven't paid for a haircut in 15 years, and it literally takes me 30 seconds in the morning to get my head looking good to go out, with 5 minutes every week for a quick trim with the clippers. It makes me laugh how much time other guys spend fussing with their hair when basically all I have to do is keep my scalp looking clean and moisturized.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:57 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Nthed, I've long accepted the wisdom conveyed from HBO Comedy specials and the variety of hack information available starting in my 80s childhood that baldness was the biggest possible turn off in dating, but lo and behold it is absolutely not and in many cases is seen as a sign of virility. No really, it's related to higher testosterone into middle age.

Of course many signs of attractiveness we internalize in our teens are misguided at best and flamingly toxic in most cases.
posted by abulafa at 10:57 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


If there’s fire in the oven there’s no snow on the roof.
posted by Segundus at 11:00 AM on March 13 [40 favorites]


it's awesome: do you know how much time and money i save on hair care?

Not really that much? I remember how much all that cost. It wasn't that long ago.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:00 AM on March 13


I lost most of my hair in my early 20s. Now, in my mid-30s, I'm a stay-at-home father to my 2 y.o. daughter. When she was younger, for MONTHS, I would forget to comb or brush her hair on a daily basis (it would be done 2 or 3 times a week) because I hadn't actually had to groom hair for over a decade. I, literally, had to place post-it-notes around the house as a reminder to do it.

Now it's done daily and I don't need the notes anymore. When the kiddo's hair is a little longer, my wife is going to teach me how to braid her hair. I've decided to live vicariously through my daughter's hair.
posted by Groundhog Week at 11:02 AM on March 13 [22 favorites]


>do you know how much time and money i save on hair care?

Do you know how much time and mental energy I save not looking in the mirror every day to check whether I still look young? It really does free one up to think about other stuff...

Not to be a huge downer, but we'll all be dead in <100 years, and the list of stuff you can lose first includes your memories, eyesight, hearing, ability to walk, and the ability to decide whether or not to have a bowel movement. If you're worried about losing your HAIR, be glad you're in good enough shape that that seems like a real problem...
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:02 AM on March 13 [16 favorites]


Baldness was more of a relief than anything for me. I tend to get very hot, and the ability to regulate the temperature of my head (hat on, hat off) is so much better than having a sweaty, itchy head. I think I last bought shampoo twenty years ago.

Dating was a long while ago, but I remember many women (even before I lost my hair) expressing a liking for bald men, but none ever saying that it was a turn-off. I think worrying about hair loss is just male insecurity. But I say suck it up, chaps; if you were a woman you'd be under pressure to feel that way about every flipping part of your body.
posted by pipeski at 11:04 AM on March 13 [13 favorites]


I've watched my stepbrother go from balding on top to almost completely bald in less than a year. And he only just turned 24.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:07 AM on March 13


Going bald is much harder than being bald.
posted by Mr.Me at 11:08 AM on March 13 [45 favorites]


According to Forbes the third highest paid movie star in 2017 was Vin Diesel and the second highest paid star was Dwayne Johnson. Might want to rethink some of the claims about popularity and baldness here.

(Not a fan of the video or premise, other than to say going bald is worse than being bald since its the transition period that sucks unless you get that cool straight back receding hairline thing going.)
posted by gusottertrout at 11:09 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


I had a conversation with an ex many years ago along the lines of how aging won't be quite so bad for me, me as a person who has never lived in a body that works quite as it should, because I won't have the shock of suddenly not being able to do things I used to be able to do. I've lived my whole life with parts of me failing on a rolling basis. And my extremely fit and able-bodied boyfriend scoffed and said no, it'll just be worse for you, because aging is going to make the things that are bad even MORE bad. And I was like fine, asshole, whatever.

And then a little later on in our relationship when his hair started to thin, a side effect of his aging that he apparently never once stopped to consider despite all of his bald and balding relatives, I developed a near terminal case of ocular sprain from rolling my eyes so hard at his bewildered, doleful sulking.
posted by phunniemee at 11:09 AM on March 13 [28 favorites]


Obligatory Picard in a wig.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:10 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


I will note that Propecia has recently become a generic drug and prices have fallen drastically, so if you don't want to become transcendent and accepting of your hair loss... now is a good time.

Propecia is a second brand name for a drug called finasteride, which was first approved for treating benign prostate enlargement, and sold under the name "Proscar".....I've never much liked the idea of taking something that targets my man plumbing, for cosmetic reasons, FDA approved or not.
posted by thelonius at 11:11 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Like we don't live in a world of hats. My choice is cowboy.
posted by maxsparber at 11:12 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


I'm not bald (yet, although if that old wisdom about one's mother's father is true, I shouldn't have anything to worry about), but I have a couple of friends who went bald in their 20s and look better without hair (they're both married with children, so...). Personally, I don't think I have the ideal head shape (lightbulb) for a smooth pate, but I'm edging into the "too old to give a shit" age range, anyway.

Bodily insecurity; it's not just for women! When I was a young man I was convinced that virtually every aspect of my physical appearance was...not what straight women wanted. I almost didn't ask my wife out because I worried that she'd never lower herself to date an ugly troll like me.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:13 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


It only sucks if you care about having hair and plenty of people don't. Once mine started receding in my early thirties I just started razor shaving it. Only sane option IMO. It's great. Wouldn't go back to having to piss about with hair.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:14 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Like we don't live in a world of hats

great now I have Bee Gees earworm
posted by thelonius at 11:15 AM on March 13 [7 favorites]


The tone of this animation feels ... off to me. Maybe it's the language barrier. But it doesn't seem as tongue-in-cheek as it ought to be.

Anyway, I've got an okay head of hair that gets pretty thick and unruly if I let it grow. But I've been wearing it clipped to 1/4" or less for the last 15+ years because it's easier to manage and because I hate getting haircuts. A couple of times in the last few years I've let it get quite long, maybe six or eight months growth without a cut, and every time I decide it's too much trouble and just shave it again.

My father-in-law, an old hippie who has been bald since his early 20s, continually wonders why I don't just let it grow while I've still got it.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:16 AM on March 13


Like we don't live in a world of hats

hats are all coded.
Fedora: Pick up artist
Cowboy hat: republican
baseball cap : bro
baseball cap (backwards) rapist
beret: green beret
any other kind of hat: pick up artist
sock hat: criminal in disguise, just waiting to pull it over your face and rob
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:20 AM on March 13 [9 favorites]


Cowboy hat: republican

Frederica Wilson is not a republican and neither am I.
posted by maxsparber at 11:25 AM on March 13 [9 favorites]


I wouldn't say that I love it that I'm slowly but inexorably balding -- there are a few downsides, like needing to watch out for sunburn -- but I don't really mind it either. I just buzz it short for now, and eventually I'll need to start shaving it all off.

I'm tall enough that I see the tops of most people's heads, and most of those strategies to hide balding don't work. But I get that it is a major issue for a lot of people, feeling like a major part of their identity or virility is being taken away. Still, the comb-over is never a good look, nor are the poorly-done hair plugs.

The video was mostly well made, but I couldn't relate at all. I haven't experienced or seen anything seriously negative from balding, and other than politicians and TV preachers I don't think a full head of hair is ever a job requirement.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:28 AM on March 13


My hair is somewhat curly and my Jewish heritage is obvious enough that people have stopped me on the street to tell me I look Jewish. But I shaved my head once and I was instantly a skinny Nazi skinhead.

My hairline is receding in an awful pattern. I have long hair and it looks fine now, but I know there will eventually be a point where my hairline will trump the long hair, and I’ll no longer be able to pull it off. I don’t know what I’ll do then. I’ll probably eventually have a haircut like my dad, and I guess part of growing up means giving up fun stuff like long hair. My dad had long hair too, once.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:28 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Also, I thought the animation was great, but I can only assume it was one of those unfortunate European racial blind spots behind the weird racial caricature of the baldness gene. I have a friend in Europe who is routinely calling attention to stuff like that.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:30 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


beret: green beret

I have a black driver cap that people kept calling a "beret" for some reason. I kind of want to stick an Antifa pin on it.


I shaved my head once and I was instantly a skinny Nazi skinhead.

Unfortunate assumptions and sunburn are the only downsides of going bald.
posted by Foosnark at 11:32 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


According to Forbes the third highest paid movie star in 2017 was Vin Diesel and the second highest paid star was Dwayne Johnson. Might want to rethink some of the claims about popularity and baldness here.

(Not a fan of the video or premise, other than to say going bald is worse than being bald since its the transition period that sucks unless you get that cool straight back receding hairline thing going.)


Bald guys are hot.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:32 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I'm not quite bald, but at 24 my hair has gone pretty thin. It could go the way of my dad's side and stay at "pretty thin" indefinitely or the way of my mom's side and all be gone before the decade's out. I decided not to wait up and just shaved it off a couple months ago. I love it! I feel like a little chia pet, tending to my little lawn of head and face stubble, and scarves and hats are more exciting. Indeed, all of the accessory choices I make from the shoulders up are more striking and thus more fun! I am considering a nose piercing.

I also find counterintuitively that if I do the full shave of head and face I can look a lot more androgynous, which is fun for exploring gender stuff. 12/10, would shave all my hair off again, probably will in the shower next morning because I haven't done the full clean shave in a couple weeks.
posted by Gymnopedist at 11:32 AM on March 13 [7 favorites]


He got there in the end.

I was in the position of knowing I would go bald, and being able to mentally prepare for it. My mother's side were all shiny topped by their early 20s. I actually lasted a little longer than that to my great relief. And I had *glorious* red hair. I prepared by keeping those locks long and luscious throughout my late teen years, and then getting shorter and shorter as I lost ground. Now I'm in my 40s and the shaved head look suits me just fine, at least most days.

I did have to develop a liking for hats, which I used to hate. And I do sometimes envy men's haircuts, especially now that they've gotten good again. Oh the irony of being raised by a hairdresser and going bald ...

(It's worth noting that my comfort with my baldness is connected with both how positively our culture reacts to bald men vs. how negatively to bald women, and how masculine I'm feeling at any given time. To the extent that I'm feeling less masculine, the hair thing suddenly looms much larger for me.)
posted by feckless at 11:35 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


As a man who has proudly gone shaved head for going on 10 years; it was the going bald part that was not great. Once I lost enough hair; I decided to shave it off. Plus I have had Dandruff problems all my life and keeping my scalp moisturized is actually easier now. And it allows me to waer hats of all kinds. So win win.

I never once considered getting a wig, or doing a combover or any such thing. My roommate in grad school stared balding in his early 20's and he did not like it one bit. He got himself a really nice quality wig, scrimping from his meager Grad School stipend. The rug looked decent from about 3 feet out; but was obvious when you got close. But, whatever floats your boat. He said it made him feel less conscious of his baldness and made him feel more secure. Who am I to argue? He is still sporting a wig at 50+.

My bigger problem was when I started getting sunburned on the pate. As a man born in Hyderabad; and who grew up playing Cricket all day in the heat of May sunshine; this is what made me realize that I am no longer a tropical man! :-( That was a sad day, indeed. I still haven't got over that.
posted by indianbadger1 at 11:36 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


My hair is somewhat curly and my Jewish heritage is obvious enough that people have stopped me on the street to tell me I look Jewish.

Was it a Mitzvah Tank? A friend of mine also looks "obviously" Jewish and will happily rant at you about how much he hates those guys.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:41 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Listen... if you want my hair, take my hair.

Seriously. It is wavy and annoying and will be here, if genetics out, long after I'm dead.
posted by selfnoise at 11:41 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I'm 47, have a really big head (hat size 7 3/4) and I am really glad I will not ever be bald.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:43 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


if that old wisdom about one's mother's father is true

It is not.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:46 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Comedian Isaac Witty: I like to say I'm bald-ING, that makes it sound more productive. [youtube]
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:50 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


My hair is basically the only part of me I ever had confidence in / liked. I've never liked the rest of my body, had a long battle with eating disorders, etc. But until recently I always had pretty great hair...

Finasteride is helping slow it down (maybe stopping the loss, unclear so far) but already its not like it was, and there doesn't appear to be any good choices to fix that. I always hoped/assumed by the time I started going bald I could throw money at the problem, but that does not appear to be the case, there is no special secret treatment (other than finasteride, which usually just slows/stops -- I was a little slow in noticing/reacting due to work and life stress, which means I missed the boat a bit...)

The whole "women think its hot" argument is kind of silly, that may be the reason some guys are worried about being bald but its hardly the only reason you might not want a forced change in your physical appearance.
posted by thefoxgod at 11:52 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


I initially shaved mine when my mother-in-law went through her second round of chemotherapy, as a sign of solidarity. Nature was well ahead (ahem) of me by then, though. And as others have stated, it was a relief getting it done. I had an enormous amount of resentment over going bald (I am the first man in my family to do so, fuck you and your surprises, genome), but I have wholeheartedly embraced being bald. Though I did watch Iron Man the other day, and when Jeff Bridges came on screen, adjusting to the realization that I look like a Marvel villain did take a moment or twenty.

I set up a couple's weekend away next month, partly because I want to have a weekend away with my wife, but also because there's a really good hat store up there.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:53 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


My hairline is receding the Will Arnett fashion (i.e. my forehead is conducting an organized march towards the back of my head, but my hair is still thick where it remains) and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's just another 'huh, I really am getting older' moment.
posted by 256 at 11:57 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I fully expect them to cure balding the day after I die an old lady who had to wear a scarf over my bald head so as not to scare the children. Women in my family start out with ok hair then it's all downhill from young adulthood. I'd shave it if I could but people assume you're in chemo or are actively scared/ hostile towards bald women.
posted by emjaybee at 11:59 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


As a performing artist, I have all kinds of friends who have done things with their appearance for business-related purposes. Without fail the things that made the biggest tangible difference were breast augmentations for women and hair replacement for men. My female friends who have had breast augmentations have remarked that they were viewed and treated differently (especially by men), and my male friends who have had either surgical or applied hair replacement have remarked that they were viewed and treated differently (especially by women). Just to make some obvious examples: mezzosopranos started getting more offers for the "sexy" mezzo roles, and balding tenors who had been asked "have you ever considered character roles" with some regularity started being viewed exclusively for romantic leading roles. They also reported differences in their daily interactions with people. Make of that what you will, but these are direct "before and after" experiences by people who had effectively changed nothing else about their outward appearance and maintained the same skill set and personality characteristics.

Sure, you can be Patrick Stewart or Vin Diesel or six and a half feet tall or in amazingly great shape, and that can make a big difference in how your baldness is viewed as part of your total package. It's also the case that some people do genuinely seem to look best bald. Not everyone is in that boat, though, and hair does tend to make one look younger.
posted by slkinsey at 12:01 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


I'm trans and I was socialized that women should not be bald* so I have a huge fear of this. Genetically I'm doomed, and I noticed my hair isn't as thick as it once was. I'm 43 and I've only been on testosterone for 2 years so I probably still have some time still to psychologically adjust. Any money I spent on Propecia etc would come directly out of my food budget so that's not an option. I have zero problem with bald men (or women) but it's really hard to accept becoming one.
posted by AFABulous at 12:01 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


I always hoped/assumed by the time I started going bald I could throw money at the problem, but that does not appear to be the case,

You can throw money at the problem. Hair transplants. It's expensive, and you have to keep doing them as your hair falls out more. Lebron James, Joel McHale, Tom Arnold, Jason Alexander, and tons of others have had them done. There is also a new tattoo procedure that looks like stubble that is seriously gaining in popularity.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:04 PM on March 13


My hair is somewhat curly and my Jewish heritage is obvious enough that people have stopped me on the street to tell me I look Jewish. But I shaved my head once and I was instantly a skinny Nazi skinhead.

You want a about a 0 or 00 shave I think - at least that's about the fashion in Jerusalem the few times I went. I'm just a generic american, but walking around with about a 00 for my head and face, and people started talking to me in Hebrew.
posted by wotsac at 12:04 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


N-thing the the awesomeness of baldness. I get what's left of my hair buzz cut once a month for a whole $10 at Supercuts and I use so little shampoo that a big bottle of Suave lasts me six months. I don't get bedhead or hat head, never need a comb or gel or anything.
posted by octothorpe at 12:14 PM on March 13


It's also the case that some people do genuinely seem to look best bald.

Some can look good bald and some can't. I think we do tend to like the folks that go full cueball as opposed to folks whose baldness comes out looking like a donut with a bite taken out of it and they don't shave off what remains.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:19 PM on March 13


I have a Chinese-American friend who gets racially profiled in LA because his bald head makes him look like a Mexican gangbanger. Not sure if bald white guys have that problem but if you're a certain shade of brown and bald, things get weird.
posted by cazoo at 12:33 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


My a capella group is currently working up this classic, because we love bald-headed men.
posted by blurker at 12:35 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Noted bald soccer podcasters the Men in Blazers are selling some bald-themed merchandise, if you’ve always wanted a “Balds Win” t-shirt or a “BILF LIFE” mug.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:47 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Yeaaaah maybe it's the translation, but I found our hero's assertion that his soon-to-be-bare pate was getting in the way of the all power, acclaim, and sexual services of a beautiful partner that he deserved to be bullshit. That his paltry little soul got a smidge bigger at the end only after his squeaky-voiced manic pixie dream girlfriend sacrifices her hair and makes a creative joke? Hmph.

Nice animation, though.
posted by minervous at 1:20 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I was so happy when I went bald enough to shave my head (this was just as it was starting to be socially acceptable, more Jean Luc Picard than skinhead) that if I'd known how good it was, I would've done it MUCH sooner.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:34 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I saw "Bald Future" and I was expecting this or this.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:40 PM on March 13


Cleanhead Blues, by Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson

When it starts to gettin' winter
My head gets kinda cold
I try to grow a little hair
But I can't to save my soul

When it starts to gettin' summer
I get such a pretty tan
You can hear all the women holler
"Where can I find a cleanhead man?"
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:51 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


wait, if the premise was that he wouldnt be accepted as a standup dude in society without hair, then how come his ideal fantasy life was to leave society anyway? i dont think the tigers fucking near the end care much whether a hairy or bald guy watches them do it.
posted by wibari at 1:57 PM on March 13


That was weird.

I'm a bald woman. I get all kinds of unsolicited comments about what a brave choice I'm making. And a lot of cancer patients and survivors who assume I'm going through chemo. I have alopecia areata, and since my hair loss is patchy, I just shave my head. I have a nice shaped head and a good collection of winter hats. It was disorienting when my hair started falling out and I spent some time trying to hide it and pursuing painful, expensive, ineffective treatment options. It was insanely liberating to shave my head. I had the thought, "oh, so this is what I look like." I feel fortunate it worked out for me.
posted by danielleh at 2:02 PM on March 13 [22 favorites]


My father was bald and my brother started losing his hair pretty early on so I've always been resigned to the fact that at some point I'll be bald as well. Up through university I had long, curly "Jesus hair" and then during my final term I had it cut and since then I've just been trimming it to 1/4" or less. As far as I can tell my hair is about the same as its always been, just much grayer, so maybe I won't go bald but at this point it doesn't feel like it would matter anyway.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:14 PM on March 13


This is true - I can speak from long personal experience that being short is, largely, dating napalm.

When a girl is in your dorm room and you're hanging out, and she just blurts out, "You know, linux, if you were taller I'd go out with you," you get an idea of the situation.

Also, I was in college during the Star Trek: The Next Generation years; Patrick Stewart made being bald sexy, and the butt of Barclay's holodeck jokes was a diminutive Riker.

So, yeah. Quoted for truth.

The solution was for my peer age group to mature enough to get past the height thing. Had I known that, I would have pursued older women while in college. Hindsight yada yada.
posted by linux at 2:55 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


beret: green beret

Surely also Jamie Hyneman. Hyneman > green beret.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:01 PM on March 13


I may be bald, but I have an heirloom comb I'll never part with.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:05 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the fact that I'm balding is the only thing that is stopping me from having a mullet, so I'd say it is a good thing.

You could have a skullet, which is even more bad-ass than a mullet.
posted by peeedro at 3:09 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Now that I've gotten my little joke out of the way, I'll note that I'm probably one of the lucky ones in the sense that I knew as early as my mid or late teens that baldness was my inescapable future (plus I had my maternal grandfather as a "role model"), so I had a chance to get used to the idea without it suddenly hitting me later as an adult. The other "lucky" part is that rather than getting any sort of oddly-receding hairline, all the hair in a big oval on the top of my head just got thinner and thinner, to the point where it was pretty easy to just shave the area completely clean.

And yeah, I've never felt judged because I was bald. Judged for plenty of other reasons, just not for that!
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:57 PM on March 13


So my late dad and ALL the uncles were as bald as coots and it freaked me out when I was 17. Turned out that my hair was handed down - not literally - through my mum’s genes and I have long hair down to my arse at the age of 44. Smug? Relieved? Slightly. The lesson here is to have hair that was handed down from your mum’s side, I think.
posted by bookbook at 4:02 PM on March 13


... I’ll no longer be able to pull it off.

Dude, it's much easier to use scissors or a razor.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:22 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


As a woman who has been going through a bout of thinning hair, I have to say it has been really devastating and anxiety-inducing. Other posters are right that men going bald is viewed a lot differently than women going bald. I saw a doctor and learned I was severely anemic, so after 15 months on iron supplements, my hair has recovered a lot (it’s still finer than it was, but the density has returned). But I’ve learned a few things too:

1. Something like 90% of the population loses at least some hair in their lifetime
2. Hair naturally starts getting thinner and finer around age 40 anyway because of aging
3. After age 50 or so is when the crown starts thinning on most people who don’t have a genetic tendency already
4. Soooooooo many people, men and women, have some kind of wonky shit going on with their hair. So many. It is ridiculously common, especially in middle age.

I am still nowhere near okay with the idea, and I don’t think I have a head shape suitable for just buzzing or shaving it. I think I will start saving up for a couple really good wigs and if my stylist can’t make me look good with short hair, then I’ll switch to wigs. My mother’s been wearing a wig my whole life and literally never admitted to it (so I have no idea why she wears one) and although I scoffed about that when I was younger, I have sympathy for the whole situation now. And plus, wigs seem to be less stigmatized now (in white-woman culture, I mean).

In short, aging is bullshit.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:40 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


>Obligatory Picard in a wig.

Oh man... that's a skillful actor for you--he can say SO MUCH with just a single expression. In this case, "Fuck this, and fuck you for making me do this."
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:35 PM on March 13


I've been shaving my head for almost thirty years. I started when my hair started thinning. I like it. I can't imagine having to deal with keeping hair tidy. What a pain in the butt.
posted by entropos at 6:30 PM on March 13


In short, aging is bullshit.

The alternatives have limited appeal.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:40 PM on March 13 [12 favorites]


I'm a trans guy myself, and I love that I'm going bald. My receding hairline gives me true gender euphoria, no less than growing a beard. It also gives me a lot of privilege, in that I'm read as a middle aged white guy, and thus treated with all sorts of unearned social respect. Seems to me balding doesn't lose a man status, it actually secures it.

I'm sorry that some men feel bad about balding, but seriously, women get scrutinized in a million more ageist ways than men do and that kind of limits my sympathy. Transitioning in middle age made this so clear. Before: being made part of all sorts of anxious conversations about body parts wrinkling or sagging and what to do about it. After: crickets. Nobody has ever asked me about my antiwrinkle strategy since my transition. What a relief. If you're getting teased about your bald pate, that's not right. But it's also a lesser problem than the generalized ageism aimed at femme people in our society, methinks.

Anyway, when I think of men who embrace balding, I see Patrick Stewart. When I think of men trying to hide their balding, I see Donald Trump. That basically ends my thinking about the phenomenon :P .
posted by DrMew at 7:05 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


I shaved my head bald in my 20s (my then-girlfriend, now-wife HATED it--which is one of the main reasons I haven't done it since then). I remember it making my daily routine a lot easier, and I remember pillows and showers feeling amaaaaaaazing. Oh to have a bald head again.
posted by duffell at 7:19 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


That his paltry little soul got a smidge bigger at the end only after his squeaky-voiced manic pixie dream girlfriend sacrifices her hair and makes a creative joke?

For some reason - I'm really not sure why; the extra-high voice? her instant willingness to let him shave her head? the instant soothing of her feelings with an ice cream cone? - I kinda got the impression that she was supposed to be like his 12-year-old little sister. Dunno.

But yeah, talk about drama llama before that. And, y'know, when you decide to carpe diem your baldness you don't just shave the middle of your head for the Bozo the Clown look, you pretentious twit.

Also, one of the "bad bald people" examples that flashed by was Yul Brynner, which, c'mon. If you can't tell the difference between "bad" and "bad-ass" . . . . .
posted by soundguy99 at 7:27 PM on March 13


I echo some of what DrMew says. When I transitioned, it was such a relief to throw off the pressure to appear feminine enough, to lose the burden of scrutiny. I have all the empathy in the world for the constant judgment women face because I've lived with it. Men are judged for being short (as has been pointed out) and occasionally for going bald, and that's largely it, save perhaps serious obesity.

And yet when I see my hairline receding, I don't feel the same sense of gender euphoria he feels. It definitely does help me get gendered correctly; I let my hair get a little too long on top, obscuring the hairline, and I got way more confused looks. I'm also reluctant about some other male traits, so in conclusion, trans men are a land of contrasts? I think there needs to be space for people to be upset and insecure about whatever they are insecure about.
posted by AFABulous at 8:47 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


I was once in a theology class about the eschaton and everyone was arguing about the bodily resurrection and one of my fellow students said that when God resurrected our bodies in perfection, he didn't know exactly what it would be like but he knew for damn sure he wouldn't be bald.

There are not enough ????????s in the world to express the puzzlement I felt at someone who felt like God's final concern at the end of the world would be MAKING SURE NOBODY WAS BALD.

(And he was like Patrick Stewart bald, it was not an unattractive balding!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:14 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


why are his baldness genes personified as a racist caricature of an Indigenous person

me, to me: oh, it was a "joke" about scalping. I just got it.
posted by wreckingball at 10:25 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


The animation's a selection for Sundance and has won awards at many other festivals. It's also nominated for a César - the French equivalent of the Oscars

I inherited blond hair from one side of the family, the thick non-balding hair from the other and the premature greying gene from both.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:22 AM on March 14


Why are people telling other people not to feel upset about a drastic change in their appearance they can't control? I would hate to not be able to choose whether I had hair or not... so much. I feel like, for women, there's tons of pressure on us to be attractive but it's alleviated (in a completely unbearable, exploitative way) by the existence of things you do and buy to meet the standards. Just exercise and eat right and dress well and skincare and makeup and sleep well and think well and stay out of the sun and epilate and you won't be so repulsive. It takes all your time and money and attention, it uses up your precious life and gives you very little, but what it does give you is a sense of control. Which is a patriarchal, capitalist, evil illusion, but one I'm used to and kind of depend on. So the idea of my hair just falling out and not being able to put some spanx or niacinamide or something on it and feel like I might be making a difference, damn. (Also I'm a black woman, so hair feelings run deep.) Idk man, it's your pate and you can cry if you want to.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:47 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Can't wait to go full bald and jacked! Nothing more unattractive than a combover !
posted by Mikey236 at 5:13 AM on March 14


There are not enough ????????s in the world to express the puzzlement I felt at someone who felt like God's final concern at the end of the world would be MAKING SURE NOBODY WAS BALD.

God's priorities after he murders all the sinners and wakes up everyone Tim LaHaye approved of:

1. Resurrect follicles
2. Cellulite forever banished to the Land of Wind and Ghosts
3. Explain exactly what was going on with that German cat in the box
4. Make everything look like a Thomas Kincaid painting
5. Endless fountain of Dr. Pepper
posted by middleclasstool at 5:22 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, it's hot Dr Pepper.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:44 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


1. Resurrect follicles

SY SPERLING IDEA
IN MOVIE '2001'
RESURRECT FOLLICLES
ON PLANET JUPITER
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:23 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


I was once in a theology class about the eschaton and everyone was arguing about the bodily resurrection and one of my fellow students said that when God resurrected our bodies in perfection, he didn't know exactly what it would be like but he knew for damn sure he wouldn't be bald.

Hence the infamous Scholastic question: how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:31 AM on March 14


Losing your hair sucks. Shaving your head and moving towards acceptance of your baldness are definitely healing moves, and it certainly helped me, but I don't buy for a second the attitude that baldness is somehow a good thing, like you're somehow better off without hair. That's like saying "oh man, I used to have this classic car, even though it was fun to drive and made me feel stylish and cool to have, it was also annoying to maintain, so long story short I sure am glad to not have my classic car anymore." No you're fucking not.
posted by saladin at 6:33 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I will say that bald-ING is a lot worse than bald. The tonsure look is just not a look most people can pull off, and any man who is trying a combover is only making themselves look rediculous.

The difference between a tonsure and totally bald is vast. In our society men have the option of just shaving it all off and looking pretty good.

Pattern baldness is passed down via the X chromosome, which is why men are more likely to get it than women, the Y chromosome doesn't have a matching gene so for men pattern baldness is basically dominant. But the gene is actually recessive which means if you have two X chromosomes then you've got a vastly lower chance of having pattern baldness.

My paternal grandfather died with a full head of hair and looked surprisingly like Joseph Stalin (seriously, he even had a Stalin style mustache). My maternal grandfather went bald in his 20's and actually won a Mr. Clean lookalike contest once because he was also buff as hell.

My brother and I both started going bald in our early 20's, and I've embraced it since I was 25 or so by shaving off all my hair.

Women have it much worse. A guy can just shave off all his remaining hair, look younger and cooler, and join the ranks of the cool totally bald people. If you're a man and you're balding, I'd highly recommend joining us and shaving it all off. The tonsure look is just not a good look.

But women in our society pay a pretty big social price for shaving their heads. Even women with really short hair, much less no hair at all, get stares, judgement, and possibly harassment. Plus reduced employment opportunities.

My partner is suffering age related hair loss, as others have noted both men and women tend to lose hair past 50. And for her it's a lot more painful than it was for me. Add to that she's black, and has a whole raft of racist hair issues to contend with, and she's not happy with her hair.

She, like a lot of black women, gets misgendered a lot, and she doesn't like it, and she knows that if she did go for a cool looking Wakanda warrior bald look she'd be misgendered even more often.

For a man, being bald really isn't a big deal if you embrace it and shave off the remnants. For a woman being bald really does tend to suck.
posted by sotonohito at 7:13 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I will say that bald-ING is a lot worse than bald. The tonsure look is just not a look most people can pull off, and any man who is trying a combover is only making themselves look rediculous.

The difference between a tonsure and totally bald is vast. In our society men have the option of just shaving it all off and looking pretty good.


The key is keeping it short all over. I used to completely shave my head every few days, and it took a certain amount of work to maintain, not to mention getting cold in the winter.

Nowadays, I just use a handheld clipper to buzz myself down to a uniform #1 length once a week, and I always look neat without having the medieval monk/sad circus clown effect that comes with having a bald top with too much length on the sides/back.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:44 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I would hate to not be able to choose whether I had hair or not... so much.

Wait until you find out about the inevitable joys of getting old.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:31 AM on March 14


SY SPERLING IDEA
IN MOVIE '2001'
RESURRECT FOLLICLES
ON PLANET JUPITER


ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS, EXCEPT HAIROPA. ATTEMPT NO TRANSPLANTS THERE.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:37 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, it's hot Dr Pepper.

The crushed ice is also cursed.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:39 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


that's bad
posted by entropicamericana at 8:58 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Wait until you find out about the inevitable joys of getting old.

Because our bodies fail we can't have vanity? I'm not old, but my joints and nerves have been fucked for some time. The two years I was in the most pain, stuck at home and giving up all my dreams, getting my hair and makeup right was the nicest thing that happened in my life for weeks or months at a time. Everybody's going to get old or die or both, and you won't be spared it for never having feelings about your appearance. Like, no, baldness and other cosmetic signs of aging aren't the same as a permanent loss of actual physical function (just potentially a challenge to your identity and the way everyone perceives you, and a constant reminder of your own decline and eventual death) but you could say that about almost anything.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:10 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


And I often do. :)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:19 AM on March 14


I shaved my head once and I was instantly a skinny Nazi skinhead.

Unfortunate assumptions and sunburn are the only downsides of going bald.


Add having to wear a cap or some other protective covering to avoid having to have per-cancerous spots frozen off your scalp to said list.

I remembered when I was in the end stages of my "going bald"ness and getting harassed by some drunk skater who thought I was a racist skin. Which in retrospect was probably better than him thinking I'm a racist skin and going either "whatever" or "right on!".
posted by gtrwolf at 11:37 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I'd rather have hair than not, but I mean, 10 years seemed like plenty of time to get used to the idea of balding for me.
posted by klarck at 12:29 PM on March 14


Balding isn't bad at all, and neither is bald, as long as it is groomed and looks purposeful. Keep what you have trimmed. Trim nose, ear hair, keep facial hair tidy. Otherwise it's just as if you've chosen to let it all go to hell.

And personally speaking, the men in the "before" hair replacement pics ALWAYS look so much better IN the before pics.

The men in the "after" pics invariably look as if someone has been at them with too much product and a roller brush, and have a glazed, nervous smile that's halfway between "I look great, I think?" and "How much did I pay for all this?"
posted by jfwlucy at 2:05 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I mean, this gets into the ballpark of judging people for plastic surgery and stuff, which gets mean pretty quickly. It makes an easy punchline out of something people can't fully control. Regardless of how you handle it, going bald is a major transition in your outward appearance, and not everyone is noble of spirit enough to not be insecure about that. It affects how you and other people might see you, and some people can accept it with good humor (like the animation that this thread is about), but some people have a harder time. Judging people, or making jokes about them, for trying to cover up their baldness means judging them for not seeing their own bodies the way you think they should, and I don't know what to say about that except that it's a little mean.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 4:40 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Being bald sucks. It’s not like I wake up every day rueing my scalp, or it has a tangible effect on the regular order of my life. But it sucks, and no one would choose it. The only upside is wearing winter hats without having hair to mess up. Which isn’t nothing, I guess.

People always say “oh just shave it off”, “toupees are dumb”, “hair plugs are stupid”, and, especially, “combovers are the worst.” But nobody actually seems to believe those things on a subconscious level.

Everybody always makes fun of Trump’s ridiculous weave/combover scenario. But if he was openly bald instead, he would not be president.

Everyone has mocked Joe Biden’s hair plugs since the ‘80s, but without them he’d be getting as much buzz about being #46 as Jerry Brown (I.e., none).

Kevin James would not get big movie roles if he was unwilling to wear a rug.

Nobody ever describes or thinks of John McCain as “bald” despite having the thinnest, most obvious combover imaginable. (Granted, white hair and melanoma-survivor-pale skin helps with that.)

And shave it off... I mean, it’s not a terrible solution, but how would you like to be restricted to one hairstyle, not of your choosing, for the rest of your life? And, sorry, but when I had hair I *liked* having the option to not cut it for months at a time. And I’m also tired of people acting like the head-shavers are doing something noble and brave by doing the thing everyone always says they should do.

Being bald is stupid and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. I don’t doubt that other people are legitimately ok with it, but I’m not, and I think it should be ok to be not-ok with it.
posted by mellow seas at 6:53 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


My mom was telling me how there's a whole online community of people obsessed over whether or not one of our local tv weathermen wears a toupee or has plugs. They collect pictures of him from on-location shoots in the wind and rain and analyze his hairline, they even tracked down his high school yearbook photos for comparison. I thought it was funny that a man's hair is the only issue over which he'll face the kind objectification women face everyday.
posted by peeedro at 7:39 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's prohibitively expensive for the average person, or uncomfortable to wear for long periods but I always found Bob Odenkirk's hairpieces on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul to be really convincing, especially if you've never seen him without one. (He's not bald, but has very thin hair.) As anyone who's read my twitter knows, I think he looks just fine ;) but the characters needed to be younger.
posted by AFABulous at 8:38 AM on March 15


I don’t doubt that other people are legitimately ok with it, but I’m not, and I think it should be ok to be not-ok with it.

That's a legitimate choice, and I totally empathize with that feeling. I'm not thrilled about being bald myself.

As for my own choice, however, I realized early on that there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it; so rather than clinging to a grudge against an unfair universe I elected to accept my fate and get on with the rest of my life. "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change", and all that.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:17 PM on March 15


but how would you like to be restricted to one hairstyle, not of your choosing, for the rest of your life?

For me it's pretty great. I hated having to worry about how to comb my hair or what to tell the barber to do. I never knew what to say when the haircutter would ask"how do you want your hair?" Now I can just say, "#1 razor all over" and that's it. I just regret that I didn't shave it all off years ago.
posted by octothorpe at 12:18 PM on March 15


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