For a lot of men who approach that time in their life when the hair on their head just gives up and disappears, it can be a daunting time filled with anxiety and Google searches for hair loss treatments. It’s very common for us guys to worry about hair loss and going bald – almost as common as hair loss itself (which is extremely common by the way!) But as is pointed out over and over again on this website, it’s an incredibly unnecessary worry and going bald is really nothing to be concerned about.
Now, society in the past and present has dictated that men with thick, flowing hair show style and beauty, and especially in the modern world with hair styles being a big part of the modern man’s look, having a good head of hair is definitely considered to be a quality attribute to looks. Our biological impulses still guide us towards finding a “mate” with good genetics in order to produce beautiful and strong offspring. The attributes of a biologically dominant man do include being tall, having a symmetrical face, thick hair, a defined jawline, and a muscular appearance. Women for example are considered to be biologically ideal if they have good hips for childbearing, ample breasts (within reason of course), a symmetrical face and other beauty standards. However, these impulses do not control 100% of our brainpower and we evolved from having primal instincts an awful long time ago. The modern world is one of incredibly diversity and basic beauty standards are incredibly flexible. Modern society is heavily leaning towards acceptance and just letting people be who they are and not pigeonholing everyone into defined categories. Gender fluidity is real, style is subjective, personality and emotion are considered highly attractive qualities, and base standards of beauty are being broadened.
“But what does this have to do with being bald?” I hear you asking. Well, I’ll tell you…
The keyword here is subjectivity. Consider “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or “it’s what’s inside that counts” or “bald men are considered to be more confident”. Wherever you look you’re going to see phrases and quotes like this and to some degree they’re all true. But the point I want to emphasise is that the world is NOT a one-size-fits-all place, if that were true, every human being on the planet would probably have the same hair, same skin colour, and be the same height and weight. We are all different and that’s what makes us interesting and beautiful. The way people perceive you is going to be largely down to you and how you act or how you choose to dress or project yourself. So being bald is not an issue if you are comfortable with who you are and you accept your identity and own that person inside.
When I was noticeably starting to lose my hair it was not something that I was actually that self-conscious about, it was just more of a nuisance than anything. My crown thinned out dramatically over the space of about 3 years until it was very noticeable and it made my hair look messy and uneven. But even knowing this and being able to see it, it took me a while to take that step to shave it all off – why? Perception. My main train of thought was not about how I would look as a bald man, it was how other people would perceive me. This concern about what other people will think of you is not just a trait that relates to baldness, it’s an incredibly prevalent human condition – we want to be liked and loved. Human needs are numerous and we all have different needs that we prioritise differently depending on our outlook on life, our goals, and our personality. But at the end of the day, we are social creatures and acceptance by others plays a large part in building our own confidence. By making such a bold change to your appearance (pun intended) you are changing how other people might perceive you. But is that a bad thing? Absolutely not.
After shaving my head, I mentally divided the rest of the world into 2 categories:
1. People who I already knew
2. People who I would meet from this point onwards
The way you contemplate these two categories may differ from how I do, but I actually had more concern over those in the first category. These were people who knew me with hair, who already had a comfortable view of who I was and what I looked like. This is the familiar and comfortable place in your life where you don’t have anxiety about judgement because you already know these people, whether it’s family, friends, colleagues or whoever. By shaving your head you break that familiarity and almost adopt a different identity in the eyes of those who already know you. And that’s potentially the cause for concern, or at least it was in my eyes. I didn’t want to be looked at differently or for people I knew to change their opinion of me because I was now a bald man.
What I soon learnt is that these feelings of concern are completely pointless and no reason to be concerned at all. The fact is that yes, you are going to look different and people are going to react to it – you can’t tell people not to react. Women change their hair colour and style all the time and people react to it, it’s natural. But a reaction is not a condemnation and just because you look different, people aren’t automatically going to look at you in a lesser way.
What I actually found was my friends, colleagues and family were all very supportive and complimentary of my choice to shave my head. I honestly believe that people who are close to you are not going to berate your decision to take back control of how you look by saying fuck you to thinning hair and shaving it all off – because it’s a powerful and confident move. Unless you have very judgemental and shallow friends, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be met with much negativity, and even if some people you know do react badly, I can assure you it’s going to be the minority. And over time, everyone you know is going to get used to how you look. And I don’t even mean a long time because people are on the whole very adaptable and forward moving so it won’t take long before everyone forgets the version of you with hair and just accepts you as the gorgeous bald man that you are now. Yes, you might get the odd comment about it during the transition period where people are still getting used to it (for me this was mostly from my mum!) but again, that’s going to be the minority. Very quickly your new look and identity will take over you will live the rest of your life, and that’s likely to be more of your life than you spent with hair I might add, as a comfortable and confident bald man. I shaved my head at the age of 33, so if I live until I’m 80, that’s much more than half of my life spent as a bald guy – and I’m absolutely fine with that. It’s a timeless look and I never have to worry about my hair ever again, which is such a freeing concept!
The second category of people are those who you are yet to meet or have only met since becoming bald. For some this will be cause for concern, especially if you’re single and currently on the dating scene or you work in a job where you’re regularly on display or advertising yourself, and your recent decision to become bald has knocked your confidence slightly. Well, I have even better news for you: the vast majority of people really don’t care that you’re bald! Look around you… bald men are not rare and they’re certainly not weird, bald men are an incredibly common sight because being bald is a very, very common thing. Almost 50% of men experience some form of hair loss by the time they’re in their 40s so you’re not exactly an anomaly.
What this means is that people who’ve never met you before just meet you and react the same way they would if you had hair. It’s as simple as that. Picture this; a blonde woman decides to dye her hair black, which is a drastic change in look and will likely contrast her skin tone and make her appear very different overall. She then goes for a job interview and starts a new job, all of her new colleagues not thinking anything of it and just going “oh yeh, Allison in marketing with the black hair”. That’s the end of the story! People who have never met you before will not look at you and think “I wonder what he looks like with hair, I wonder when he first shaved his head…” No! they’re just going to look at you and see a man, who happens to be bald. That is who you are, to them you are not an altered version of your true self, you are just this person.
I shaved my head during lockdown so at the time I was working only online and all my meetings were happening over various online meeting platforms. The very next day after I did it, I had a meeting with one of my colleagues and a potential new business partner – a perfect split of the two categories I’ve been describing. My colleague was surprised but not negative in any way whatsoever, actually very complimentary. And the person I had never met before barely reacted, because to her, I had always been like this.
As the months went by and I met more and more people, lockdown restrictions were lifted and I got back onto the dating and social scene and I attacked the world as a bald guy. No one I met reacted negatively to the fact that I was bald because to them it was a perfectly normal thing. And I even showed some people pictures from a few years previously when I still had hair, and do you know what their reaction was? “You look weird with hair, I much prefer you bald”. Let that sink in for a little while. People you have never met before will automatically build their familiarity of you as a bald guy, that’s who you are, that’s what you look like, it’s not weird, it’s not different, it’s absolutely and 100% normal.
The fact is that once you shave your head, there is likely to be no, or only a tiny portion of people already in your life or new to your life, that look at you uncomfortably. Your new normal will rapidly become just that, normal. And why not take that opportunity to boost your overall look at the same time? Buy some new clothes, add some stylish accessories, start working out, grow your beard out… whatever it is. Don’t shy away from it, embrace it, and I guarantee that people will notice and not in a bad way.
So what did I learn in the year right after I shaved my head for the first time?
It makes absolutely no difference to you in a negative way
99% of people couldn’t care less whether you have hair or not
People get used to it very quickly
It actually an opportunity for you to better yourself in other ways
It feels great
Let me give you an example. I’m a big fan of comedy and I really like the American comedian, Bill Burr; a red headed Bostonian who made the choice to shave his head in the last few years and adopt the bald guy look. Now when he first did it, it looked different to me as I was used to him having hair. But it wasn’t long before I just got used to it, and now when I watch older clips of him from when he had hair, it looks funny to me.
Now that’s just one personal example but I’m sure there are many. A lot of guys actually look much better bald than they did with hair and it really suits them – I’ve been told this myself! So don’t shy away from it, accept it, own it, take back control and adorn your new identity with pride and confidence. Use it as an opportunity for improvement, not for self-doubt.