Your recent question about women and Botox prompts me to raise a much more serious problem: baldness. Until recently, I had thought that the only dignified response to my bald patch was to try not to look in the mirror. But I am now wavering, having seeing Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant, which seems to have been a success. If he can do it, why can’t I?
Although most of this is about personal vanity, there is also a work angle. I work for a media company, where the accent is on youth. I’m not sure there is much room for a bald geezer with a wispy fringe of white hair – which is what I anticipate being, in about five years.
Journalist, male, 48
For a start you would be a laughing stock. It’s a hard, sexist world out there: women are allowed to do all sorts of unnatural things to themselves in the hope of looking younger. Men are not. Robert Peston, whose dark, full locks you may envy, was last year door-stepped by local reporters who wanted to know if the BBC’s business editor had recourse to the dye bottle. If you decide to do something much more drastic – have follicles from elsewhere on your body implanted into your scalp – you will be an endless subject of curiosity and mirth.
You claim there are two problems with your baldness: work and vanity. On the first problem, a transplant will make matters worse. Your young colleagues will not think: “What a cool young guy.” They’ll think: “What a scream, the pathetic old geezer’s had a hair transplant.” If yours is a company that favours youth, you are in trouble anyway. The best way to survive is not in some painful, costly effort to put back what nature has stolen from on top of your head, but to emphasise what age has put inside it – wisdom experience, etc. It is hard to flaunt those things if you are endlessly checking how your bald spot is advancing.
On the second problem, vanity, you need to accept your hair is falling out and it’s going to go on doing so. The only answer is to view baldness differently. If you are only getting a bald spot at 48, you are exactly average. About half of men are going bald at 50; you are doing better than many – a third of them are already losing hair at 30.
In any case, there are much worse things than being bald. There was a recent survey that asked CEOs if they’d trade off another two inches of height for a full head of hair. They all said they would. Small, in their eyes at least, is more of a problem than bald.
So hold your back straight, cut off those white wisps, and put a rolling screensaver on your computer of famous baldies such as Winston Churchill and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. On second thoughts, maybe better to stick with your kids or a sunset, anything other than hair. The less you have, the less you ought to think of it.
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