Now, I’m bald… or, as some of us prefer to be called, a “Hairless-American.”
In fact, I’ve been bald for decades, long before Samuel L. Jackson made it cool. Ah, I’ll never forget that night, summer after junior year of high school, when a girl I’d improbably been making headway with abruptly stopped running her fingers through my hair and said: “What’s this little missing patch back here?” Man, that evening took a sharp turn.
You see, like millions of men, I suffer from male pattern baldness. Doctors call this condition “androgenic alopecia,” stemming from hypersensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which literally kills the hair follicles on top of our heads. Ah, I’ll never forget that morning, after I shared this explanation with my then-five-year-old son, who in relaying it to his attractive, young preschool teacher said: “Daddy’s testicles died.” You got that right, kid.
Of course, being stuck with a flesh yarmulke nearly all my adult life left me little choice but to grin and bare scalp it. Here are merely a few benefits of being bald:
• I don’t clog the shower drain.
• I’m lice proof, dandruff resistant and I’ll never have a bad hair day (although in some ways being bald is like having the worst hair day, every day, your remaining days on earth).
• I’m both hydro and aerodynamic, which would come in handy, you know, if I actually swam or ran.
• I’ve wound up with a rad collection of hats, hats being the poor man’s toupee, much like Funyuns are the vegetarian’s pork rinds.
• I haven’t spent a dime on haircuts since 1999, thereby saving a total of roughly $6,000. Another 24 years, I can buy myself a skiff. What’s your hair earning you?
• Baldness is natural. Why fight biology, that’s my motto, which explains my gut. And raptor toenails.
• I’m spared the agony of slowly going grey. I once enjoyed a glorious mass of shoulder-length, flame red curls. By college graduation, they were gone. But, as Neil Young famously put it, “Better to burn out than fade away.” Of course, that’s easy for him to say; he’s almost 80 and still rocking those awesome mutton-chops.
• I’ll never, ever be tempted to wear a man bun.
• I’m closer to my thoughts… you know, approaching them from the outside.
• Talk about a great excuse for growing a beard. Nothing like a big, fat beard to take the sting out of going bald, although now THAT’s slowly going grey.
• One average, bald men have higher levels of testosterone, which proves my point, yet again: hair is for kids; it takes a real man to wear a ridiculous terry cloth sweatband when he plays pick-up basketball.
• I can entertain a room full of children with nothing more than my scalp and a box of magic markers, preferably washable.
Indeed, these are heady days for those of us forced to wear a permanent inverted Mohawk. Bald pride abounds. In fact, a Bald Men Club of Japan holds an annual Bald Man Competition. In this Olympic-style international tournament, two men stick suction cups to their heads, attached to a single red rope, and then attempt to pull off their opponent’s cup, tug-of-war style. Better start training for next year; I wonder what the rules say about Spider Tack…
Chrome domes we can all admire include: Shakespeare, Gandhi, Bernie Sanders, Michael Stipe, Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Bruce Willis, Michael Jordan, Sinead O’Connor, Lex Luthor, Jeff Bezos, Bozo the Clown, Mr. Clean, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, the lead singer of Midnight Oil, the drummer of AC/DC, every member of the Blue Man Group, Winston Churchill, Pac-Man, Dr. Phil, Mr. Magoo, Mr. Burns, George Burns, Bill Murray, Pitbull, Orville Redenbacher, Moby, Charlie Brown and, of course, the Dark Lord Voldemort.
So say it loud: I’m bald and I’m proud!
And please, whatever you do… Don’t grow a comb-over.
• Geoff Kirsch is an award-winning Juneau-based writer and humorist. “Slack Tide” appears twice monthly in Neighbors.