I suffer from a medical condition called Androgenic Alopecia, caused by a sensitivity to the hormone Dihydrotestosterone.
Let’s call a spade a spade here:
I’m bald. Or balding, rather, I guess. But the fact is the virile dark brown mane of my late teens and early 20s got God’s Great Haircut when I was 24. And it’s been all downhill since. I never understood the phenomenon in which women can hate another woman, just because she’s pretty, until I started losing my hair. I get it now. When I see a dude with great hair I want to punch his lights out.
Gone are the days of carrying a brush in my car. I don’t even own a brush or a comb anymore. That’s not totally true, I guess. I own a suit brush and a 2 inch long beard comb.
Which brings me to this: Look around. See that guy? Late 20s probably? Beard? Baseball cap? Chances are high that it’s all a hot mess under that hat.
And that brings me to this: Why? Why is he wearing a hat? Why did he grow a beard? Why did I?
As far as the beard is concerned it’s very much a “might as well grow what hair I can” situation. Because losing your hair is, and I’m serious, the equivalent of cutting a lion’s mane off. That’s not meant to be some exaggerated, puffed-up, try-hard simile for masculinity, which most people can attest that I tend to stay away from. It’s just true. Men are proud, which is no secret. And our hair is a big deal. And when it starts falling out, and when that’s out of our control, it’s devastating. It’s humiliating. It’s, frankly, emasculating. And just like our poor lion it sucks all the royal bravado that, in doses, can serve us well, right out of us. Understand that, yes, it really does matter that much to men. No matter how many times guys who are losing their hair are told “It looks good on you!” or “You’ve got the head for it!”, it’s hard to believe that message. It’s harder to hear and believe that women don’t care that much. The jury’s still out on that one.
My hair started going when I was 24. I grew it out even longer. It got thinner. So I cut it shorter and tried to style it to minimize the damage. It got thinner still. So I cut it shorter again, still hanging on to it.
In the past year or so, all hell broke loose up there. So I bought clippers and took to the garage. Because there is quite literally nothing I can do about it. I can use Rogaine, a solution that makes your hair fall out before it grows back, only really works on the “bald spot” on the very top, and is completely nullified if you stop using it. I could use Propecia, which works like a dream for some guys and is utterly useless for others, and does all sorts of undesirable things to your mister bits.
Or, I can shut up and just deal with it. I had hair, now I don’t. It’s not like I went down a bad path in life, shunning all my parents’ teaching, and this is the consequence. It’s nature. It’s out of my control.
It’s taken four years, over 1,200 days, of looking in the mirror every morning and wistfully remembering. I’ve reached balding Nirvana. I’m content.
And, it might actually be the least important thing about me.