COLUMN: Pandemic helps me embrace, not just accept my status as a bald man
Guys, if your inevitable fate is becoming apparent on your heads, too, I encourage you to join me on this life-affirming journey
At the half-century mark, age-wise, if one positive thing in my life has resulted from this dreaded pandemic, it's that I have finally, 100% officially embraced the fact that I am a bald man.
Well, not totally bald, bald. But other follicle-y challenged dudes like me know what I'm getting at. I don't have a cue-ball head, exactly; if I let my hair grow, it would eventually show up in its salt-and-pepper glory starting on the sides above my ears and then would wrap around the lower half of the back of my skull. And a hundred or so hairs would sprout from the scalp on the top of my head as part of some sad, lonely and thin follicle forest. But I know I'm bald and not just "balding" because if I let that ring of hair grow around my head and let those isolated hairs continue to grow on the top of my head for a dangerously long period of time, people wouldn't social-distance from me because of COVID-19, they'd keep a safe distance because I'd look like a creep.
“Hey, Mike, how’s it going? No, seriously, how’s it going? You OK, bud?”
Pre-pandemic, I'd regularly sit down in my stylist's chair once a month or so to catch up on each other's families and the community scuttlebutt. But her skills were largely wasted on me. To label those appointments actual "haircuts" is wholly inaccurate, since for years my stylist never actually "cut" a single hair on my head. She never touched a scissors. She grabbed her trimmer and simply shaved my dome. Don't get me wrong, she's wildly skilled with that device in her hand, and to witness her mastery as she'd change from an attachment of one length to an attachment of another length was like witnessing Michelangelo doing his thing in the Sistine Chapel.
But I never left her salon bald, bald. I always left essentially bald on the top of my head, but with a ring of super-short hair around the rest.
As of the pandemic, when I've sat several times now in a stool in the middle of the kitchen or elsewhere in our house and yard with a towel draped over my shoulders and my wife, trimmer in hand, ditches the plastic attachment on its head after a minute or so and goes all-in with no barrier between those tiny, blindingly fast moving blades and my head, afterward I am bald, bald.
And I dig it, baby.
Bald might not be beautiful, but it sure is easy. It sure is maintenance-free. And it's surprisingly liberating. I've majorly lacked hair for at least a couple of decades now, but during the first couple of days last spring after my wife fully shaved my head for the first time, I went to work and to various other places wondering if anyone would take note. "Hey, look," the might say to themselves. "Mike is bald, bald."
I was a bit apprehensive then. Today, I’m free. Liberated.
Guys, you George Constanzas of the world, you Richard Pitinos, join me. Don’t fight it. Don’t try to obscure it or otherwise hide it, and, god, whatever you do, don’t let other hairs go egregiously long on your skull so you can comb them over what is rapidly becoming your inevitability.
More than a decade ago, when I first casually came across a photo taken by a fellow hockey parent from the back row of the bleachers at one of our kid’s games, I saw the growing bald spot on the top of my head a couple rows below and my jaw dropped; at first I refused to believe it was me.
The denial eventually gave way to my harsh, painful reality: After possessing the Guinness Book of World Records Best Mullet in high school and college, I was going bald.
But all these years later, thanks to this damn pandemic, I’ve fully embraced my status as a “sexy, bald man.”
Those are my wife’s words, not mine. Thanks, Schmoopie.