Walsh’s Wonderings — From going bald to bald

It had been too long. Not the hair, of course. The hair had not been “long” for eight years (here’s a link to my 2013 column on my 19-month journey to donate my hair).

No, it was the slow, painful erosion of my hairline from a forehead to a “six head” that led me to shave it all as clean as an eight-ball. The monk look, with it’s classic “horseshoe around the back,” simply didn’t track for me.

Shaving one’s head seems to be the “in” thing to do nowadays and I’m happy to ride that wave into my dotage. I can go for a jog and not look like a dog left out in the rain; instead I look like a cardiac patient trotting away from a house fire, like God intended. I no longer have to scramble for hats on a bad hair day when I forgot to shower (also, fewer showers). The cost of letting one’s hair grow wild and free is the upkeep involving shampoos, brushes and even hair ties.

By the age of 50, about half of all males experience pattern hair loss. Many struggle to plug the dike with things like minoxidil treatments or hair transplant surgery (I’m looking at you, Nicolas Cage).

I fall into the camp that has little to lose outside of the hair. I remember laughing at my older brother as he began to lose his after college. He had walked through life as a perfect physical specimen before mortality touched his hair follicles. He experienced a brief rough patch before shaving the rest and revealing a perfectly-shaped head, rocking the look like Michael Jordan or Bruce Willis.

People like me never breathed that same rarefied air when it came to physical beauty. I never had the classic good looks of the rest of my family, so losing my hair was like losing a contact lens — inconvenient, but hardly enough to ruin my day. In fact, I decided to go ahead and shave my beard at the same time. When I looked in the mirror, I realized I now looked like a thumb a child had drawn a face onto. It still didn’t faze me.

I wasn’t ready for the fact that now I can suffer sunburn simply by walking out in the cold, getting cold much more quickly and often, and instantly having people mistake me for Daddy Warbucks without the cash (or Annie).

I did struggle over whether to keep the beard, because a bald head and an unanchored beard is a tough look to pull off. Where do you stop the hair: above the ears, below, with a fade into the chin? It could be the difference between looking like Jasan Statham or Zach Galifianakis from Hangover 3.

Mainly, shaving it all off required a lot of research into the mysteries of electric razors, pre- and post-shaving lotions, and the stemming of blood that made the back of my head look like I’d just survived being thrown through a plate glass window. I’d forgotten how much time is involved in the daily shaving ritual, and I’m rethinking whether this is sustainable without a transfusion.

Thankfully, I’m not planning on following the suggestion of a few friends that I should try continuing with the manscaping further down south. There are some places that need to remain wild and free.

You can read more at RobertFWalsh.com, contact him at RobertFWalshMail@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @RobertFWalsh.