A Bonanza of Options for Budding Baldies

(Originally ran on September 22nd, 2003 as "How to cope with male-pattern baldness")

As an international sex symbol*, it has been difficult for me to face the reality of male-pattern baldness. While it may be easy to assume that such a subject is not a serious issue at a university marked by youth, vigor, and healthy follicles, a quick stroll across campus will set you straight: baldies are among us.

Fortunately, in our day of modern technology and advancement, there are many options for the man (or woman) faced with an AWOL head of hair. It is important to consider the long-term implications of every option before deciding what course is best suited for your situation. Here now are a few of those options:

The Comb-Over:

Easily the most infamous of baldie solutions, here is where many typically middle-aged men try desperately to both preserve the hair they have left and simultaneously use it to hide those spots that have departed. Specimens of this category are easily identified by long, slick swafts of hair that originate somewhere below the ear and wrap up and over the scalp, finally to blend into the opposite sideburn.

The Hat:

This is a vastly underused technique, perhaps because of its limitations. After all, in modern society, at what wedding reception, symphony or all-valley karate championship can one wear a hat and remain unnoticed? The most visible example of this phenomenon is actor/director Ron Howard (Happy Days-guy), who hasn’t been spotted without a baseball cap since the mid 1970’s.

The Full Monty:

No doubt the boldest move for a subject, the full-on cueball shave is an option I have considered for some time. This is the only option that has become almost fashionable in its adherents, as even non-baldies have gotten in on the act. Obvious participants in this category include Michael Jordan (Hoops-guy), Steven R. Covey (Seven Habits-guy), and Patrick Stewart (Captain Pickard-guy). But be warned: the danger of this move was demonstrated by one of Elaine’s boyfriends on "Seinfeld." If you shave it, it may not come back.

The Close Shave:

For those who don’t like the idea of having to bic your dome every day (me), the Close Shave is a nice option. It retains the dignity of making no effort to conceal your baldness, yet carries a minimum of maintenance. It also prevents the "Tibetan Monk" look that threatens my head. Just pull out the clippers, go #4 on top, #2 on the side, and never pay for a haircut again.

The Crosby:

One of the most curious reactions of some baldies is the Crosby, so named for David Crosby of the rock band Crosby, Stills and Nash. While no attempt at comb-over or other concealment is made, the subject for some reason opts to grow the back of his hair out to hippie-length, creating a sort of genetic-enhanced mullet. This is most commonly found on old rock stars from the 60’s and 70’s, except in the case of Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, or Lou Reed, who after further investigation have been determined to be the same person.

The Piece:

While humorous results are typically the standard here, Sean Connery managed to extend his James Bond career for years through its use. By the time he unveiled the full glory of his unencumbered dome, he had long since established his fame as an international sex symbol** that could play a dozen different nationalities and keep the same accent.

The Hair Club for Men:

The commercial alone is enough to dissuade most potential clients from this option. The idea of grafting hair from horses or other barnyard animals, let alone other men, is a concept reserved for only the most desperate of baldies. Early fake Christmas trees looked horrible, and hair transplants haven’t left that stage. The fear of being stopped in an airport security booth because of excess metals in my scalp will keep me far from this one.

Spray-on Hair:

(Insert your own joke here)

Rogaine:

Here is the zenith of medical progress. Thanks to products like Rogaine, no one has to scour the state of Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth anymore. Well, maybe. Word on the street is that the results of hair-growing products aren’t limited to the scalp.

So, for those of you about to bald, please take the preceding into consideration before making the big choice.

*This is true. Last year a foreign girl fell in love with me and then left the country.

** Also true. Last year a New York cab driver fell in love with him and then left the country.