What It’s Like To Start Balding At 20

by George P.H. on January 17, 2013


A few months before my 21st birthday, I went on a coast-to-coast road trip across the United States. Looking at the photos my friends made, I realized I was balding – fast.

I knew it was bound to happen. Most men in my family start losing hair early; I’d been finding more and more of it in the sink and on my hands each month. But oh my God – I really wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon!

It felt like the beginning of the end. My youth was over before it started. As I scoured Google for ways to make my hair grow back, images of women laughing in my face and men talking behind my back appeared in my mind.

All these years later, I know that most guys feel this way when they start losing hair. But the reality of living as a young, bald guy has differed from my expectations in just about every way.

Here’s what it’s really like to start balding at 20.


When I realized I was balding, I started shaving my head clean to stop people from realizing I was follicly challenged. I feared that if others knew the truth they’d look at me sideways. Women especially, I felt, would pass on a 20-year old with old man hair.

This went on for some time. Like most men, I wanted to hide my bald from other people. Then something unexpected happened.

In the summer of 2009 I was working on a big project from home. I barely went outside so I let my hair grow out, bald spot and all.

One day I went to buy groceries and saw this truly stunning girl at the store. She was curvy, well-dressed and had the most beautiful smile. Totally forgetting about my patchy hair, I asked for her number – and she said yes.

I only realized when I got home, but she knew I was balding and still wanted to see me again!

I couldn’t believe it. Maybe going bald wasn’t an automatic sentence to a lifetime of celibacy… but I had to make sure.

So I went out that weekend and the weekend after it without shaving my head to see how people reacted. Nothing changed. Girls still liked me; strangers still smiled at me; nobody laughed.

I noticed one difference in the way people treated me – but it definitely wasn’t what I expected.

The Little Perks

When I started going bald, it felt like everyone started to treat me with a little more respect. At first I wrote this off as weird coincidence – but recent research suggests this really happens!

Studies find that bald men appear more masculine and MUCH stronger than their hairy counterparts. (They also score higher in leadership potential, unconventionality and dominance).

Sure, we may be a little less pretty to look at, but since women care less about looks and more about power – this doesn’t matter. Being bald ROCKS because it projects useful, attractive qualities to the people around you!

I can’t remember the last time a drunk guy tried to fight me. Girls constantly tell me they like bald men. And in all these years of having thinning hair, only one person’s ever made a joke at my expense.

(Plus I save so much money on shampoo!)

If you’re young and worried about going bald – stop. Thinning hair’s normal, useful and attractive to the opposite sex. (Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write). 

A Few Caveats

In a way, going bald is one of the best things that’s happened to me. It made me realize that looks matter very little; that I can be attractive no matter how I look on any given day.

(Besides, the “projecting masculinity” thing is a nice bonus!)

Just remember: there’s no reason to rock a regular hairstyle if your hair is visibly thinning (or already gone). Bald with dignity: get a buzzcut or shave your head clean. No wigs, no spray-on hair, no comb-overs!

(P.S. If you’re hitting on a girl and get rejected,  make a playfully-dramatic face and ask: is it because I’m bald? Gets some laughs and a number more often than you’d think!)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Billy Taylor January 19, 2013 at 11:57 am

I started balding at 20 as well. I first noticed it shortly after I joined the Army. Before that, my hair was long enough for me not to notice. But once I shipped to basic training and they shaved my head, it became undeniably clear: I was balding in the exact same pattern my father did–around the same age he did too (though that didn’t stop ME from denying it).

I shaved my head clean, on a daily basis, right up until about a year ago. My girlfriend (at the time) and I decided that for our Christmas presents to each other, we’d split the cost of going to stay at a luxurious hotel, on a beach up in Maine, for a weekend romantic getaway. Jacuzzi bathtub, fireplace, king-sized bed–everything was set to be awesome. Except for one thing: I’d forgotten my razor. Surely, I thought, as soon as my hair began to grow in, she’d be completely turned off by the sight of my baldness, rather than the man she was used to who was “intentionally” bald…But I was wrong: she actually liked it!

Her and I ended up breaking up a few months after that trip, but ever since then, I’ve cut back on shaving my head from every day down to about every week, and I must say: I prefer this–what I call–”owning it” look a whole lot more. (A girl I dated last summer even told me I reminded her of Jason Statham :-)

I’m a firm believer of the idea that perception is everything; thus, whatever you may be insecure about–be it height, body hair, lack of handsomeness–is only a detriment to your image if you perceive it to be. Because if you do, then that insecurity will become manifest in your self-presentation, and confidence is a much more valuable boon to your attractiveness than any uncontrollable superficial trait. “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” Hell, I used to be compulsive about shaving my chest hair too, but that also recently stopped as there’s currently a young lady in my life who keeps complimenting me about how masculine she thinks it is while running her fingers through it.

Great write-up as usual, George. I’m appreciating this blog more and more with every post.
Let baldness be a right of passage to manliness!


Billy Taylor January 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm


Currently, it’s been two weeks since I’ve shaved my head. I’m about to run out to grab my morning coffee right now and I just reached for my hat to hide the fuzz growing atop my head out of insecurity–but then I stopped myself realizing that I’d better practice what I just verbosely preached.


George P.H. January 25, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Hey, Billy!

I’m happy you got exactly what I was saying. And I *so* relate to you on the body hair. As a teenager I was very self-conscious about my body hair and also tried shaving my chest. But even though many women are vocal about it being gross, the complaining seems to stop when they fall for a hairy man ;) . It’s all about owning who you are and your self-perception, you’re 100% right. Thanks for the comment!



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