Back when I was 22 and had lost fewer hairs than there are today liberal Republicans in the House of Representatives, I walked around saying things like:
I'm bald! I'm bald! Help me, I'm bald!!!
Who’s ever gonna want to date me now?
(Well, I'll finally find out if bald guys really do wax their heads!)
As I raged against my follicle-free fate, I had hair several inches below the bottoms of my ears, McCartneyesque bangs, and a hair dryer that fairly well gasped every time I post-shower pulled it out from inside the bathroom cabinet.
But when I regarded myself in the mirror, I saw actor Yul Brynner. Minus the cool.
I tried the remedies of the day. But brushing 100 strokes so clogged my comb, by stroke 70 or 80 it resembled the upper lip of former TV film reviewer Gene Shalit. Immersing my head in Jojoba Oil rendered me an enormous Caesar Salad, irresistible to any wandering intergalactic giant bent on lunch and a chrome-dome Perry.
Off I went to the dermatologist who calmly advised me that, yes, I had the beginnings of male pattern baldness.
That is, a death sentence.
“What on earth can I do?!!!” I cried.
“The best you can do,” he counseled “is develop philosophic acceptance of the situation.”
Philosophical acceptance of the situation?
Maybe Plato could develop philosophic acceptance of the situation. At least until Socrates stopped taking his calls and began showing up with Aristotle at the dance!
Now I burned even greater time and intensity agonizing o'er my fate. There may yet be hope I reasoned; when it came to being bald, certain distinct looks can win the day.
As with, say, Yul Brynner.
But ruggedly masculine, I was not. My best claim to fame was “cute.” And in the world of the bald, "cute" is what closes in New Haven!
A few more long-suffering years of alopecial angst and then one day a miracle did appear! A possible reprieve became available, not from the governor but from Rogaine, then a prescription medicine named minoxdyl.
I feverishly garnered a blessed script from a more sympathetic (and balder) dermatologist, cradled it, coddled it, and filled it.
And minoxdyl did indeed prove highly effective …. in thinning out my wallet, along with my hair.
In my 40's, the reassurances slowed, became ever more interlaced with homilies about my alleged nice personality, and then stopped. My hairline beat a steady retreat, my bangs went bust, my replacement flips flopped, and desperate times in time called for a desperate measure:
A Full Nicholson!
Minus the cool. Way minus the cool.
Now life's devolved into an endless cycle of increasingly shorter haircuts at increasingly taller prices, progressively greater grooming for progressively lesser grooming results, and at last the elusive philosophical acceptance, at least of a sort.
So what have you learned about baldness, Dorothy?
Thinning out my wallet, along with my hair.
I’m bald, I'm bald, help me, I'm bald!