There are three important days in every bald(ing) man’s life: The day you realize you’re losing your hair, the day you realize you should shave off what remains, and the day you finally do.
Growing bald gracefully is about reducing the gap between these milestones as far as possible. I learned this the hard way.
Before recounting my decade of denial and deceit, here are the bare-headed facts: I suffer from a type of baldness I call “the Prince William.” It combines an expanding circular patch on top (“the Friar Tuck”) and receding corners (“the Jude Law”). The two must eventually meet. Or, to put it another way: The bridge between my last strongholds of follicle activity has grown ever thinner, my hairline drifting apart like two continental landmasses. What once resembled Pangaea is now little more than a footbridge over the Bering Strait.
My mother was the first to notice this tectonic shift. “You’re thinning,” she observed, hovering over my then-25-year-old self at the family table. It seemed fitting that the woman who delivered me into this world should also discover my first sign of aging. After all, losing your hair is coming to terms with the possibility of looking like a big baby again. (Although my mom recently confirmed via WhatsApp that I had a full head of hair at birth. “I don’t do bald babies,” she added, unhelpfully.)
What followed will be familiar to men around the world. Realization is a creeping process of denial eroded by moments of shock and, later, resignation. Denial was believing that what wasn’t in the mirror (namely a birds-eye view of my head) didn’t exist. Shock was encountering a photo of myself, taken from above, and wondering, ‘Who’s that balding guy standing exactly where I was?’ Resignation was seeing an acquaintance across a bar, his greasy comb-over fooling only himself, and muttering to my wife: “Just don’t let me get like him.”