It’s ok to be bald, people

I was shaving my head in the bathroom today when I realized that it has been 18 years since my hair started to thin out. It really feels like a lifetime ago when I first became terribly distraught about becoming a balding man at the tender age of 21.

My university days was the period which I had to grapple with this issue head-on (ok, bad pun) and I decided not to take any medication as it was both expensive and not permanent in restoring my hair. I also had the support of my girlfriend, and now my wife Goy, who liked my lame jokes better than my departing hair.

You may not believe it, but as a teenager, I had a thick head of hair that sported natural brown highlights when the sunlight bounced off it. Unfortunately, my thick hair did make my big head seem even bigger (hence the nickname Tua Tow in school).

Me at 18 years.
Me at 18 years, during a school event.

Since 2008, I’ve shaved my head regularly so people won’t spot the thinned-out areas of my scalp. People are so used to my current bald look, they don’t even remember what I used to look like with hair.

Me at 38
Me at 38 years, right after a fresh shave.

Earlier today, I spotted a lady in the city area who appeared to be suffering from a very serious hair-loss problem. The entire top portion of her scalp was very bare with thin wispy strands, but she chose to keep the remaining bits of her hair shoulder-length at the sides and back. She looked like a cheerful lady, but one cannot help but stare at how she chose to deal with her follicle issues.

I know this post may seem offensive to a lot of people who are going through hair-loss issues, especially ladies, since we are all conditioned by society to believe that a headful of hair is a sign of beauty and being bald is bad.

Believe me, I truly understand the despair and depression that comes with hair-loss, and it’s a terrible, terrible nightmare to see so much hair coming off in your hands when you take a bath. I can’t remember how much I shook my fist at God but I sure did.

Nevertheless, I’m done with the handwringing and have long gotten over the hair loss problem – today, my firm belief is that if you’re losing your hair in unsightly ways, you should crop your hair extremely short or shave it off totally until short-term hair loss goes away, or you accept that it’s a long-term problem that you have to live with.

Comb-overs, “antennas”, or Franciscan monk hairstyles (bald at the top only) all invite quiet derision from other people, whether you realize it or not. If you are balding, you should see a dermatologist immediately to get a professional opinion on whether it is a short-term or long-term problem, then, make a call on how you want to deal with it.

Male-pattern hair loss (ie. where your front hairline recedes and increases the size of your forehead) looks ok on most men, but not on women. Female-pattern hair-loss (hair thins out from the top of the scalp and this radiates outward over time) is not pleasant for any gender. If your hair is falling out in clumps, you are probably under high stress and need help pronto.

And while you sort out your feelings and go-dos about your hair-loss problem, please remember … IT’S OK TO BE BALD, PEOPLE! No matter whether you are a man or woman.

Here are the lessons I’ve learned over the years that I hope can make you see balding or baldness in another light.

People get used to it, sooner than you think.

Our looks change over the years, no matter how much we try to prevent it. The funny thing is that people don’t really realize how much you’ve changed in appearance unless they look at your old photos and gasp. That’s why we don’t realize it when our friends or ourselves look older or fatter as the days go by.

When I show people photos of my old self, the old friends chuckle while newer friends just say “That doesn’t look right, you look better bald.”

Shaving Is Saving… Time and Money

I remember the old days when I had hair and had to visit the barber. I would take a 30 min bus ride to Lucky Plaza where a Mat Rokker barber worked, wait another 30 min for my turn, pay him $10 for his services and then spend another hour going home to wash my head. So on average, getting a hair-cut would expend 2 hours of my time and $10 of my money.

Everyone who decides to go bald voluntarily should buy his or her own hair clipper (usually $100, I recommend Braun models), and you gotta shave your head at least once a fortnight to keep it looking fresh. If I factor in how many times I’ve shaved my head since 2008 – that’s 182 times – I’d have saved 364 hours and $1,820 in barber fees. That more than covers the cost of the two clippers I’ve used over the period.

And of course, you also save a lot on shampoo (which is still necessary to nourish the scalp).

Then you might ask – isn’t shaving your own head difficult?

Nah, you just set it to the shortest hair-length setting and just keep the clipper going over your head for a consistent shave. You really don’t need to visit a barber or hair-dresser if you shave your head with your own hair clipper.

Bald is beautiful

People often say to me that they can’t afford to shave their heads because they have funny head shapes. Well, I have a pointy head too but it’s not as pointy as Netscape founder Marc Andreessen!

Charlize Theron in Mad Max : Fury Road

And yes, Charlize Theron looks good whether she’s got hair or not. She’s a professional actress and model mah.

However, the secret to looking good when you’re bald is not how gorgeous your face is, but how confident you are of yourself and in your ability to enjoy cool air running over a bare scalp.

You don’t sweat so much anymore

I don’t fret as much about global warming because I simply sweat less than other people, even in this ridiculous 34 deg C Singapore weather.

On the other hand, you do have to make sure your head is covered in offices with very cold air-conditioning, because it can make you fall ill easily. A beanie always helps.

People are less likely to mess with you

I mean, just about anyone with a bald head exudes more attitude than he or she intends to.

The very fact that you have rejected society’s notion about hirsuite beauty, already speaks volumes about the way you have accepted your own appearance and become clear about what you want to look like.

Yul Brynner by W. Eugene Smith in The King and I, 1956.

That perceived confidence, whether true or not, always never fails to impress or intimidate people, and that’s not a bad thing 🙂 I mean, have you ever seen a bald guy or woman who looks like a pushover? Not often right?

Be bald and proud.

Bruce Willis, photo by Gage Skidmore from Wikipedia.
Bruce Willis, photo by Gage Skidmore from Wikipedia.

Postscript: An interesting Bible story involving a bald guy

From 2 Kings Chapter 2:23-25

23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!”

24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.

25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.

2 Replies to “It’s ok to be bald, people”

  1. You should try the Awakening treatment by Lo’real available in saloons. I have seen amazing results at an affordable price.

    1. No, not for me, but maybe others may want to consider. IMO, Balding is a natural and inevitable thing for many people, that’s something important to consider too before going for any commercial, non-prescribed treatment.

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