“Give me a head with hair. Long beautiful hair. Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen...” - The Cowsills
Let me preface this my saying that I am in the post-follicular stage of my life. Yes, I am bald. In a world where hair turns heads, I am left on the sideline. Now of course, it does have it's advantages. I don't spend a lot of time and money trying to make it look good with combs, sprays, dyes and various appliances. It is an easier way to go about things.
Back in 1964, the traditional world gasped when four mop-topped men from Liverpool, England invaded this country making it fashionable to grow hair longer. (Look at the pictures of the Beatles today and you wonder what all the fuss was about.) When the Cowsills and company tried to push for hair that made grown men look like Cousin Itt from the Addams Family, fashion gladly opened its arms to the trend. Since that time, men’s hair has been shorter, longer... whatever. But only a few brave pioneers went without. Yul Brynner brought bald to the movies. Telly Savalas brought bald (and lollipops for grown-ups) to television. But after that, the list of hairless heroes is really pretty sparse.
For women, the trend goes the other way. Rebellion for men was to grow hair longer, while women wanting to protest their oppressed lifestyle began to cut their hair shorter. Soon we were faced with females with crew cuts, and eventually Sinead O'Connor, the Irish singer-songwriter, who found she could get more attention for herself by shaving her head (and by ripping up pictures of the Pope on live television). But the point is, the world is attracted, enthralled, and overstimulated by hair.
As a boy, my hair was blond. That color lasted until kindergarten when for unknown reasons my hair darkened to a dark brown. And it was thick. Very thick. The barber always had to “thin” my hair to get it to lay down correctly. Oh what I wouldn't give to have some of those thinnings back now! In high school, I began to experiment with facial hair. Except for baseball season, I had a full beard throughout my senior year. And hair down to my collar. It was that way through college and into the work world. I shaved my beard for the first time after high school about six years after graduation. Then I started growing it longer. I can remember fashioning a crude ponytail for it one morning when it was particularly unruly.
Then something happened shortly after I got married. (Not that it's my wife's fault. I'm sure it's just coincidence.) My hair started to thin even when I wasn't in a barber's chair. After a few years of trying every hairstyle imaginable to make me look a little hairier, I gave up and got it all cut short. Then gradually over the course of time, what hair remained got shorter and shorter until one day while shaving my face, I decided not to stop at the top of the ears. By that time, a ka-jillion other guys with the same situation decided to do the same thing too -- shave the head and grow a goatee. So now, ironically, I look like a ka-jillion other guys (only infinitely more handsome). The crowd of people with long hair has become the crowd of people with shiny heads. It's like the circle of life for hair.
I will also add that I have rejected the school of thought to “grow what you can” or to trim hair down so there is a semi-circle around my dome. Bless you, sir, if that's you. I just have too many memories snickering at people wearing toupees, or having the “toilet seat” haircut, or the long locks in the back with nothing on top a la Hulk Hogan. And don't get me started on the comb-over. But in the end, it's all superficial anyway. True beauty is not found in a do like Fabio or a cut like Farrah or Jennifer or whoever-is-in-style-today. Hair is window dressing. True beauty is in one's character. But hair does keep you warmer in the winter. And for now, I'm glad it's summer.