I'm collecting research for an upcoming blog post about what men do with themselves when their hair starts to go. Do you shave it off altogether? Do you comb-over? Are you letting it go naturally? How does this make you feel? If you would like to email me privately (with guaranteed anonymity), please send an email to email@example.com. Thanks!
If we're comfortable doing it, can we post answers publicly? Perhaps some of the answers could help others...
i started going thin in my early 20's. i have seen my dad in a cross-wind and his come-over doesn't fool anyone. i decided to not fight it and accept it. and for the record, growing and styling it like it isn't thin is as much denial as a come-over is: (think: Michael Bolton in the early years).
so i did a buzz cut for a while, very much like Chuck Knight's profile pic. now days i shave even closer just to stay low maintenance and save money on visits to a barber.
as an aside: i hated having red hair as a kid. it was bright red too. it made me stand out, and i got picked on for it. then as an older teen, i learned to love it... yes for the same reasons, it made me stand out. and it was a badge of my heritage. and just as i learned to love having bright red hair, it got thin, turned blond, and fell out.
at least i have my beard, that's still red.
Hi Ian, thanks for your info - fascinating. I'd really like to talk to your dad about the comb-over, or maybe you can give me some insight about it (i.e. who DOES he think he's fooling/he must feel vulnerable showing/admitting his bald pate).
Also interesting about the red hair - you don't look like a ginger either. I can see that your beard is flaming! Are you Scottish?
my dad keeps the comb-over cause that's what my mom wants. he does not grow a beard because she doesn't like it. .... .... and yes, there is an entire talk-show implied in these small facts. he really doesn't care about such things; my mom does; so it doesn't fight it.
yep, Scottish heritage on both sides of the family, with some Welsh mixed in.
Thanks Ian. This is the first time I've heard about a woman being involved with a comb over and to be honest, I'm slightly horrified. Has your dad tried wearing it short? Who gets the last word on how he presents himself - your mum? (I just got a shiver up my spine - I'm sure your mum is lovely but your dad is the man behind the image and he should in theory, have the last word, non?)
Not trying to make trouble, just want to understand.
I'm starting to thin on top. Currently, I am just letting it go naturally. As long as I keep up on my haircuts, it works fine. No combover - not ever. I may consider shaving my head, but honestly, I'm not that worried about it.
I briefly considered using a product like Rogaine - but I'm not big on things you *have* to maintain (forever) or it gets worse when you stop.
In the end, my wife doesn't care, and neither do I. Not that much anyway. :)
Hi Liam, I appreciate your response and I'm glad that you're doing the natural thing (for the moment at least). A hair dresser I know uses Rogaine and swears by it, but like you say, he's never far away from it at the salon, so he doesn't have trouble with maintenance. I could see it becoming an addictive drug to the rest of the fellas, though.
I sent you an email, Leah. Here's the whole story...
But, sickness takes its toll. And, many of the medications were steroid based, like prednisone, and caused hair loss. My glorious mane of hair, styled into a luxurious pompadour, went flat. Additionally, my hair texture changed, and a bald spot began to appear at the crown of my head. Yes, I tried all the usual stuff, pouffing it up, blow drying it for volume, combing it over, etc, but ultimately it was a losing battle. The "air" had been let out of my beautiful pompadour, and it just looked sad. And, since my current barber had not addressed the issue, other than letting it grow to an 11" long combover, I was starting to look like Donald Trump... Well, I looked the part, so I told him "you're fired!"
You asked how I felt? Devastated. My magnificent blond hair was my crowning glory, a golden crown on the top of my head, but it now looked flat, and sad. And I was sad. And embarrassed. And, frankly, emasculated. And, I was without a barber!
So I tried to find someone who could fix it.
Over the next few years I bounced from barber to barber, each fresh perspective actually improving my cut, but it never really had the beauty it had before. So, 2 years later, age 39, I decided to change styles completely. Walked in to a country barber on the first 100F day, and told him to cut it short. I walked out with a tight taper cut, taken down to about a #4 on the top. The term is "ivy league"...quite appropriate for a hot Texas summer day. And, my balding spot looked less obvious.
Over the next few months, I tried several more barbers, and each of them kept insisting I should try a flattop. Hmmm. Thinking about it, a flattop is *supposed* to be bald on top, which means that the already balding spot would be featured prominently, and that was kinda' scary. But eventually, in fact on my 40th birthday, I sat in the chair and confidently announced to the barber that I was ready to go flat.
And WOW, did we!
My hair had never been so short. But, the squareness actually flattered my face shape, and visually slimmed my round face. Additionally, while my balding spot was featured prominently, it actually looked "right" where it blended into the landing strip. I had a landing strip, shaved bald...not a balding spot. It sounds like such a tiny distinction, but trust me, it's HUGE!
And it looked good. In fact, when I walked out the door, I immediately received 3 compliments on my hair. Talk about a confidence booster!
Ultimately, my answer was to accept the balding, and work WITH it, rather than trying to hide it. That required a complete attitude adjustment, but once it happened, good things happened.
I've been flat ever since. In fact, since coming off the medication my hair actually came back, so I no longer have a bald spot. But I also no longer fear going bald. It's quite liberating to be freed of that fear.
I've stayed flat ever since, and twice a week, like clockwork, my flattop is freshened up...landing strip and all.
It's a good thing that I like getting haircuts! :)
wow... i had always thought you always had a flat-top. it fits you so well.
and wow at that scary story. glad to hear you got your sight back!
when i said i had a "buzz cut" previously, i should have said "flat top" cause that is exactly what it was. and yeah, a flat top does hide a balding crown very well.
Why do you think I'm so big on people finding a *good* barber? A good barber can work miracles.
And, thanks for the compliment.
Chuck - see my email to you.
My experience is different than most people's. As a young man I had thick, curly hair. Most women loved it. I didn't. My uncle and both grandparents were bald so I was hoping I would go bald so I could shave it. I didn't go bald at all. I had a short hair cut for years and decided about 5 years ago to just shave it. About 2 months ago I decided to grow my hair out and lo and behold, I was thinning a bit on top. I had a balding patch near the back of my head on the top. It was somewhat noticeable when the hair was growing out, but now that it's about an inch long on top, it doesn't really show.
It doesn't bother me, but now I just have to decide what to do with it. I won't pretend it isn't there and I won't do a comb-over. Probably just keep it somewhat short (Roger Sterling from Mad Men) until it gets it doesn't look good. From there, I'll either try a flat top or something like that or just go back to shaving.