Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Balding: No it’s really not OK to pat my head

It’s my own hang-up, but I doubt I’m alone in this sentiment. Why is it that people, strangers or dear friends, feel it’s totally OK to mention that I’m balding, losing my hair, have a receding hairline, have a five-head, comment on the shine? It’s genetic, not due to anything I’ve ever done and completely out of my control. It’s a perpetual bad hair day. Yes, I’ll use the term balding as long as there is any hair on my head because it’s an ongoing process. Just like aging; another fact of life out of our control. I won’t get plugs, or surgery, or a rug, or a weave, or a sophisticated clinically proven plastic grid system based on Barbie® technology. I also won’t try pills that carry a danger just by touch, not that I’m nursing or pregnant.

Look, I don’t pat your stomach to acknowledge a loyal regimen of pizza, beer and chocolate, or the pending birth of your child. I don’t tug on your cheeks or jowls, or giggle at the ripple effect after smacking your derriere. So for the love of Pete, don’t pat my head to show me what used to be there. If you’d like to buy advertising on this space, we can talk.

I understand no real hurt is intended, and I don’t cry myself to sleep over it (I save that for the playoffs), but men are vain creatures with self-image issues just like the fairer gender. As you can see from the pictures above, when I was a young man I had a freakin’ mane, man. Long, spiral curls like Daltrey in his Tommy days. We’re talking my generation (pun intended). Today, it’s more like Daughtry, except his looks damn good and is by choice.

When I was in middle school, my hair was uncontrollable and usually a mess. I didn’t get to that rock star hair until the end of college (no perm was necessary) because I also wanted to have straight, feathered hair like everyone else. Sad, because when I finally let it go natural in college (pic above) it only lasted for a heartbeat. When it was time to leave school for the real world, apparently it was time for my hair to leave too. But just like adult children finally heading out on their own, it’s taking its damn time.

My favorite poster was in my 8th grade science class, a shot of Einstein in all his wiry glory with a simple caption: “It’s not the hair that counts; it’s what’s under it.” True words that helped me get through my insecurities as an adolescent and still help me get through my insecurities in mid-life.

I know in the grand scheme of life, hair is unimportant. And if I’m going to keep things in perspective, my hair loss is genetic and not a reflection of my health, which is excellent. So I’ll count my blessings. Sometimes hair loss is the result of a person’s intense battle with cells within their own body, which itself is a sign of beauty because all I see is a fighter. How dare I be so vain. Bald can be beautiful, baby!


Anonymous said...

Mike, that's a hot college pic of you! I only know how you looked at OMHS and then 10+ years later.

A couple years back I found myself incredibly attracted to a balding (and shaved) man in his early-40s. This cracked me up, as I had to acknowledge that I, myself, was nearing the onset of mid-life. It was a very physical marker for me.
I remember reading, at that time, that baldness and higher levels of testosterone traveled together. And while younger women (younger than me, that is!) were less likely to find balding men attractive, 40s and up women did, as such balding indicated higher levels of testosterone.

No scientific claims of anything here. Only anecdotal evidence of my own.

I just love your blog and adding another layer of knowing you by reading your blog.

So, rock on.

Esmerelda said...

I didn't realize....that you were....losing your HAIR!


(want some of mine, i'm tired of it)

happilycoupled said...

Mike, your comments were most appreciated on my post about renting issues in HoCo. I agree with you. I am not very confrontational either. I was scared to knock on their door and make my case alone, and I guess I thought going with him would help the situation, but clearly, it had the opposite effect. I too thought about leaving a note, but, as the noise did abate (presumably the family members were from some distant area and went back) and has remained so, I think I'm going to let a sleeping dog lie, in this situation. Thanks for responding! Unfortunately, some people will never be brought around to having consideration for their neighbors, just as some people will continue to barrel along on the Beltway at 90 miles per hour, narrowly missing every other car that's staying within the flow of traffic -- until they kill themselves or some unsuspecting other driver.
Jen from That's What I Think

Lisa Dennis Stevens said...

Great to see you again -- hair or lack of... I remember that photo. I still have it in my portfolio. Amen to growing old gracefully. We all have to do it. Might as well accept it. Keep up the writing. I've enjoyed reading them.
Lisa D.

Mike said...

Hi Lisa!

Lisa was the actual photographer of this classic 80s picture in our college radio days (WUMD-AM at UMBC, now WMBC Radio streaming on the web). Wonderful to hear from you, Lisa, and so glad you're a reader!

Best regards,

mikefish said...

Maybe I can post some new "Wanted" posters on the WUMD lounge walls. Geez, I always wondered what ever happened to those things. Shout out to Lisa D!! 22 year greetings!!

One Wink at a Time said...

Your honesty is so refreshing. I don't think many people could speak so openly to the world about a physical trait that they aren't happy about.
It amazes me though, how calloused people can be about things like this. I've struggled all my life to gain a few pounds and keep them on. It astounds me that people will actually say to me, "You're so skinny, you make me sick..." and think that I'm going to interpret that as some sort of back-handed compliment. I would NEVER dream of saying to someone, even my worst enemy, "You're so fat, you make me sick!"
Just for the record, I think a high forehead on a man is quite, umm... appealing, if you get my drift. ; ) As is your earlier photo...

Mike said...

Clearly, Linda, you have good taste in writing, and men. :-) Luckily, hair is not so important at my age, or to my girlfriend. Otherwise I'd be rocking a rug.

CtKingston said...

Great post Mike. I'd never pat your head, how rude, oh my goodness. Ha! Hey when I had a huge hairball of curls old ladies often asked, "Can I touch your hair?" -WTF?> No, you can not! Hair or even lack of it, I mean, sheesh, touch is personal, not for weirdos to grab on. Hahaha!

I love the diptych -before and after!
Good one Mike!

Mike said...

Thanks, Tina! Exactly - personal space is personal space. Nice to see you here!