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The Chrome Dome

by Jon Stonger on 10 August 2009

baldness 500

Baldness can happen to anyone.  Well, not just anyone.  It usually doesn’t happen to children, and doesn’t happen often to women (chemotherapy and Britney Spears’ head-shaving excluded).  No, it usually happens to men, and it happens more often as we get older.

We stare into the mirror, wondering.  Is that area is really moving backwards, or did I just sleep on it wrong?  Is there really a bare patch back there, or did I comb it differently?  At some point, alas, some 40 million American men have realized that they are going bald.  By the time they reach 60, 2/3 of Americans will have started to lose their hair.

The history of baldness and its ‘cures’ goes back to ancient times.  The Biblical prophet Elisha rubbed bear grease on his head.  Julius Caesar tried to cover his receding hairline by combing his hair straight forward.  The great Greek physician Hippocrates applied sheep urine to his bald spot, and Roman men used chicken dung.  Through the 1800′s and 1900’s, patent medicines touting baldness cures abounded.

The link between testosterone (the actual culprit is a related hormone, 5 DHT) and balding quickly became apparent.

As proof, history had the example of the eunuch. Eunuchs never went bald, and if they were going bald when they became eunuchs the balding process stopped completely. However, lost hair was never restored. The only 100% effective preventive measure against baldness was — and remains — castration. (ibid)

If nothing else, going bald proves you still have balls.

We may laugh now at the ludicrous methods people in the past used to in futile attempts to restore their hair, but that doesn’t stop men in America from spending over $1 billion dollars a year on hair-loss treatments.

A drug like Rogaine costs over $500 a year, only has less than a 1 in 3 chance of working, and stops working when you stop taking it..  You have to rub a cream on your head twice a day- not exactly a macho activity.
Other drugs like Propecia can be more effective, but carry a risk of impotence- which defeats the goal of the whole enterprise.

A ‘hair system’ (which is code for a toupee) can cost from $500 to $2,000, plus $100-$200 a month in maintenance.  After spending all that money, you still are walking around with a wig on your head.  It could be blown off by the wind, and don’t even think about jumping in a pool.  Even if it stays glued to your head, people can often tell you’re wearing a rug.  Now suppose that by some great fortune, you fork over the piles of cash for your toupee, it works perfectly, and you land a great night with the women of your dreams.  What’s going to happen when she runs her hand through your hair?  Is she going to notice?  Here’s the kicker.  At night, you’re supposed to store the thing on a mannequin head.  What if she wants to sleep over?

If dropping three or four grand on a treatment isn’t enough, you can look into hair transplants.  Treatments cost between $3 and $8 per graft, but you might need thousands of grafts, bringing the total cost into the multiple thousands of dollars.

Men spend the most on hair transplants, to the tune of $800 million a year . . . That’s because each transplant can cost from $3,000 to $20,000.

For $20,000, you can make a big down payment on a very nice sports car, and probably end up getting laid more than you would with the hair transplants.

Some men try to hide baldness with a variety of grooming tricks, most commonly, the comb-over.  We have all seen men, clearly bald, walking around with a few lonely strands of hair plastered down on their scalp.  Who is this designed to fool?

In previous years, a man could hide his pate under his hat, which was an indispensible accessory.  Buying a hat is still a possible solution (they may even be making a comeback) but it certainly doesn’t work for everyone.  Buying the wrong hat can look silly, but a serious hat can add a distinctive touch.  Also, it does a nice job of preventing sunburn on the top of your head, which can really hurt (believe me).

Still, you’re going to have to take the hat off sooner or later, probably as soon as you step inside (if the manners I learned as a kid still apply).  It’s one thing to put on a hat in the rain; it’s entirely another to still be wearing it in a movie theater.  Are you going to keep it on during sex?

I sympathize with men who struggle to cure their baldness.  If you found a cure that works for you, great.  This article is not meant to mock, but instead to offer one piece of advice:  Take it like a Man.

Much of what makes a man respected or attractive has little to do with his appearance, and much more to do with how he is, and what he does.  A confident, powerful bald man will fare better in life and love than a full-haired whiner.  A man who is comfortable in his intelligence, charisma and place in the world doesn’t need hair to get women.

He just needs to be rich.

Photo: Science Daily

About Jon Stonger

Jon Stonger is a novelist and short story writer. His first book, The Adventures of the Delineator: The Slimy and the Sentient, is now available. He currently resides in Suwon City, Korea.

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