I have a confession to make, soon I will be turning 30.
Soon I will have to write 3-0 on forms. Soon, check-out people at Tesco will start calling me ‘sir’. Soon, I will start being set up on dates with women who have kids in high school. Soon, I will have to start going to Ikea for things other than chips and Swedish meatballs. Soon, I will have to acquire a basic knowledge of curtains and learn that there are more colours than the seven in a rainbow and there is more than just one kind of white paint. Soon, my luscious locks of thick brown hair will start to thin out until there is more hair on my pillow in the morning than on my actual head. Yes, the glory days are truly behind me but it doesn’t mean I can’t grow old (and bald) gracefully.
The receding hairline is likely to strike most men (and some women) at some point in their lives. It’s all about how you cope with the inevitable. Thankfully for this article, there are a host of guys who have been faced (or headed?) with this issue.
Here are some real-life strategies adopted by high profile names.
1. Be a tank
Going bald can actually add to your ‘hard-lad’ look if you have the personality to carry it. The moment action heroes like Jason Statham start to thin on top, is the moment they need to get the Mach 3 out and sharpen it up. It also helps that Jason Statham is as hard as nails and no one would dare to take the mickey out of him. In his latest movie ‘Spy’, he ‘jokes’ about how when his left arm was ripped off, he stitched it back on with his right arm! Bruce Willis also falls into this category of ‘tough guys who look extra tough because they are bald’. Although he has had some dodgy wigs for movies like ‘Surrogates’ and the ‘Sixth Sense’…
Basically, the lesson to learn from these guys is hit the gym right now and if the hair goes you will at least be a tank.
2. Be a DJ
Moby was famously picked on for being ‘36 and bald’ by Eminem. I know rapping is all about trash talking but why pick on poor wee Moby? Especially for being bald? Everyone knows the rules of slagging. To paraphrase Chris Rock, a bald guy can make fun of someone with a luscious head of hair but when a guy with hair slags someone with none, it’s just mean. Moby didn’t let his follicle challenges take over his life, however. He rose above them, he wore glasses to distract people and he also created ‘Play’ which is still a great album 14 years later.
3. Don’t revel in past glories
Growing up, two of my favourite footballers were Zinedine Zidane and Alan Shearer. For years we watched as these two legends showed us how they could do a lot with a ball at their feet but progressively less with hair-sculpting wax in their hands.
If you watch old footage of Zidane aged 25 destroying Brazil in the 1998 World Cup Final, you’ll see there were already signs of thinning from the crown forward. This is particularly cruel as you are the last person to realise what is happening back there. By 2001, when Zidane signed for Real Madrid, it was clear he had accepted what was happening and got the (very) short back and sides. Of all the people in the world, I think Zidane makes being bald look classy. He does it like no one else can.
Former England Captain Alan Shearer on the other hand, suffered from denial for years about what was going on up there. Unlike Zidane, he thinned out from the front, in the worst way possible. So much so, that he was holding on to the small tuft of hair at the front of his head for many years after he shouldn’t have been. It wasn’t until a few years into being a ‘Match of the Day’ pundit that he finally accepted what was happening and he looks much better for it. I wonder if he ever gets jealous of the 55 year old Gary Lineker and his impossibly good hair as he sits across from him in the MOTD studio. At least Alan scored more goals for England…oh wait…at least Gary isn’t married to a model half his age…oh wait…Some people just have all the luck.
4. Don’t be white
The stress about going bald seems to be a white guy only problem. I realise, being a white man myself, commenting on anything to do with race is like walking a tightrope on ice-skates and juggling flaming bowling balls at the same time. But I’m just going to say that the way prominent role models, such as Michael Jordan and Dave Chappelle show off their domes with no shame, as if there is almost a sense of pride with being bald, should be adopted by my race. Take note white guys.
Tips 5, 6 and 7. Accept it, accept it, accept it!
Really lads, being bald is not a big deal. I can empathise, sort of, because back in 2009 I completely shaved my head. And apart from that initial moment where you touch your head and there is nothing there, it really wasn’t that bad. Granted, it grew back, and I appreciate having hair, but if I do lose it again it won’t be the end of the world. Certainly accepting it is a better option than behaving like people such as Jude Law, a modern-day Samson, who believed that the strength of his acting career lay in having a full head of hair. Our very own James Nesbitt isn’t fooling anyone either – mind you he will never be out of work – any casting director looking for a middle-aged Northern Irish guy will surely have him on speed dial!
So hopefully now we can all come to terms with the amount of hair people have on their heads. No one naturally has more hair than they did a decade ago. But so what? That’s life, we all grow old. In the western world, you can expect to live into your 80s if you are lucky. If God spares me, that will be five more decades and I’m not going to waste it freaking out about what I can’t do now that I could do yesterday. Modern culture worships youth in a way that has never been seen before. It is time to change that. It’s time to listen to wise words from Granda and Morgan Freeman. Time to chuck out the wigs and accept what we have got. That’s a world I want to grow old in.