Without their efforts, the world would be a very gray place.

For a guy who is cranially-follicly challenged, I make a lot of bald jokes. Well, maybe I don’t tell actual jokes, like, “So this bald guy walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder…” But I make bald wisecracks, I guess you could say, that mostly poke fun at myself.

    Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, or a just a cry for attention, because when I do say something disparaging about baldness and it’s apparent that I’m in a roundabout way referring to the large amounts of hair lacking on the top of my skull, it usually comes across as an open invitation for my wife to say something nice about me. And not just something nice like, “Thanks for going grocery shopping,” or, “Wow, you really did a thorough job cleaning out the litter boxes.” But she’ll often say something about me being handsome, sexy even.

    The old myth goes something like, if you’re male and your grandfather on your mom’s side of your family was bald, then chances are you are going to deal with some baldness issues at some point in your life, mostly likely sooner than you’d prefer. That pretty much fits the hereditary pattern in our family, and me cracking wise about the fact I haven’t had to comb or brush my hair for more than a decade also serves as an opportunity for me to assure our two sons that, if there is indeed any truth to the old myth, they’ll probably have a comb in their hand when, as bitter, shriveled-up old men, they open their front door to tell the neighbor kids to get off their lawn. Their mom’s dad, you see, is pushing 70 but looks younger and has a full head of hair.

    I knew years ago that my hair was thinning, and I was rolling with that reality as best as one could expect. I decided long ago I wasn’t going to try to do anything cosmetic to convince the world or myself that I had a full, natural head of hair, so the Hair Company for Men or that Bosley hair replacement treatment weren’t going to get any of my cash.

    Still, I remember being at some type of event where someone took pictures from an elevated angle, maybe from a stage or something, and when I saw one of the pictures, I literally said, “Who’s that guy?” He had a huge bald spot on the top of his head that appeared to be expanding by the minute. Told by a giggling person who must have thought I was kidding around that it was me, I actually think I broke out in a cold sweat for a moment or two.

    I was going gray long ago, too, but women kept telling me that I looked “sophisticated” and “distinguished” with that whole “salt-and-pepper” look. OK, so it wasn’t exactly a lot of “women” who said that. It was my mom.

    Yes, my mom, who started to go gray at a young age and defied that reality by coloring her hair for years. Years ago, when she finally said enough with all that and embraced her natural look, she kind of blossomed. Her hair isn’t really gray, it’s almost white, and it makes her look elegant in a certain way. Like an ice queen or something, but a warm, caring ice queen.

    For a guy who doesn’t have much hair, and much of what he has is gray, I sure seem to have a lot of thoughts to share about the subject of hair. If Lt. Col. Frank Slade from “Scent of a Woman” were reading this column, right about now, the character played with Al Pacino would bellow, “The history of my hair, by Mike Christopherson.”

    But that all ends now, because I’ve finally wised up. It’s all you women who are obsessed with your hair, not me; it’s just taken me this long to notice. Do you realize how many women in my age demographic, their early 40s, would be substantially gray if they didn’t color their hair all the time? It’s an unreal number.

    It hit me at a hockey game. I looked down at a friend a couple rows below me, and she was clearly due for a coloring. But, funny, it never even occurred to me that she treated her hair at all; I just thought she was blessed to look like a young brunette, even though she’s older than me. But there they were, about a half-inch worth of roots growing out of her scalp, and they were gray.

    Since that day, I’m on a mission to notice women – casually, not in stalker-like fashion – who, if they didn’t color their hair, would be gray, or at least mostly gray. And they’re everywhere! It’s unbelievable. Think of the money and time that is invested in this battle against relentless time. If guys have fantasy sports to waste time and money on, women spend billions of dollars and who knows how much time covering their gray hair.

    Don’t get me wrong, you all look great. I’m certainly not complaining.
    Maybe I never noticed this ubiquitous hair coloring because my wife doesn’t color her hair and isn’t gray at all. She doesn’t look a day over three months and 20 days older than me.

    Just messing with you, kid.