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!)