To baldly go where lots of men have gone before
I have my hair alright. I suppose I could delude myself that it’s always gonna be there, but only under the influence of REALLY powerful hallucinogens like LSD, mescaline, or Keith Richards. The truth, however, is in plain sight. I’m losing hair like ballot papers from Florida.
Historically, hair loss has been a bad omen. Napoleon started noticing how his hair was starting to recede when he was in Waterloo, got distracted from his brilliant campaign, and… we all know what happened after that. Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear to stop people from noticing his bald spot. It worked too. We don’t remember him as the bald painter from the Renaissance, do we? And it’s not entirely because he was NOT from the Renaissance.
Sure, there is little or no truth in the last paragraph I wrote, but hair loss is still a pretty major concern for the average man, who is ready to pay 1.2 zillion of his native currency in the hope of follicular growth. A hundred years of medical developments and marketing gimmicks, more of the latter than the former, have resulted in a world where you can look at a countless number or articles in magazines, newspapers or medical journals and be amazed to see that your hair falls steadily on the pages.
There ARE a lot of articles on dealing with hair loss. The advice that you get can typically be classified into three categories.
1. The Miracle Formula
Some company called HairSpray Inc will invariably use bad puns printed in bold red letters in your emails and magazines about a secret formula invented by German scientists who were working diligently over the past three decades over the hair loss problem, ignoring everything else from AIDS to cancer to personal hygiene. And finally, using long-forgotten herbs which were initially used by the Ancient Incans who, in turn, had stolen them from the Mayan civilization, HairSpray Inc. has discovered the secret to eternal hair. The ultimate hair growth formula. If you use their product, codenamed XJ-367, available in limited quantity to the first million suckers to shell out $72.99, hair will grow from every part of your body, including your eyeballs, and your life shall be very fulfilling, right until the moment people mistake you for a giant ball of weed and bury you alive. You won’t be able to scream because of all the hair growing on your tongue. The hair will last for twenty years after the rest of you have decomposed.
2. The Shaln’t-a Clause
The more down to earth, believable medical miracle, where you are GUARANTEED results. But it comes with a clause. You shall be given a list of “Thou shaln’t do this. Thou shaln’t do that” items, and that’s where the trick lies. You shouldn’t eat non-vegetarian food, you should walk three hours a day, you should not sleep too much, you should not sleep too little, you should not take too much of the medicine, you should not take too little of it, you should not snore too loud, you should not watch Hindi movies, you should not sit on comfy chairs, you should not bathe in cold water, you should not bathe in hot water, you should not breathe at any rate other than what is specified by the doctor, etc etc etc… If you break this clause, you lose the guarantee. You also lose some additional hair because of all the money you’ve thrown away.
And let’s not forget ‘medicines‘ which give you side effects such as acne, headaches, blurred vision, lightheadedness, low blood pressure, irregular heart beats and chest pains. Not joking here. These are the listed side effects of a popular drug prescribed by doctors. And I read that it sells well too… This proves that people are willing to consider an early death, as long as their hair is intact.
3. The self esteem path
The spiritual and enlightened mode, where the author urges you to look beyond your hair; that you are a beautiful person and that’s all that matters; that trying to grow hair is not only fruitless, it is also needless; that you should embrace your baldness (metaphorically, of course. If you try that literally, you’ll look like a bald idiot trying to cover his head with his arms). These articles are usually written by guys with lustrous, impeccable, well-oiled hair, who spend the time they have left after writing these articles either brushing their thick locks into wavy masses of lustrous shine or laughing at the baldies who take their articles seriously and walk around in false-pride.
Now which path should I take? I’ve decided to look at the positives. As you can clearly see, I am an optimist by nature. There ARE advantageous to the bald look. I need to look at them more closely, with an open mind. I’m not completely out yet, but I’m halfway there. So what are the positive sides I can think of for the time when I’ll be completely bald?
- It’s incredibly easy finding me in a dark, crowded theater.
- You just have to enter and shine a torch at the audience. My head will light up like a Christmas tree.
- It takes just a second drying my head with the average towel.
- This may not seem like much, but over the years, this adds up to a lot of time, hence increasing efficiency. And we engineers go wild at the concept of boosting efficiency.
- I’m a shoo in for the ‘Count your own hair’ contest
- I don’t know where such contests are held, but I’m pretty sure that with some polite inquiries, I can find out easily enough.
- No more going to the barber to get my hair cut
- Here again, it may not seem like much, but over time, you save a lot of time AND money on this. And if you thought we engineers go wild at the concept of boosting efficiency, just wait till you get a load of an engineer who has just saved a buck.
- It’s easier to relate to Homer Simpson
- Hair free, carefree, beer belly, lazy… Paint me yellow and I’m good to go.
- I’ll have a snappy and readymade comeback for people who say things like “keep your hair on”, “don’t get in my hair”, “he wouldn’t harm a hair on your head”, “don’t split hairs now”, or “I’m a hair’s breadth away from hitting you senseless”.
There are probably plenty of other good points that I’ve missed out completely. Maybe I shouldn’t wait for nature to take it’s course. Maybe I should be proactive. Where’s my shaving kit?