One of the best things about running this site is the interaction it affords with the people that visit it. One reader and member of the email list recently wrote me with the following:
Just a thought here, purely for the sake of argument!
If a guy starts to lose his hair, isn’t shaving it a recognition of the fact that there is something wrong with losing your hair, and that something ought to be done about it? If we had the opinion that nothing is wrong with going bald, we would do nothing about it, which would put shaving if off out of the equation. It could be argued that by shaving off your hair, you are pandering and perpetuating to the idea that natural baldness is distasteful. The most honest of bald men do absolutely nothing to hide it, which includes shaving if off.
I have to say I’m a bit undecided on the issue. What do you think?
This was my response:
This is something I’ve thought about a lot myself. I actually agree with your argument, to an extent. If going bald was really something that didn’t bother us, if we really have gotten over it, then it wouldn’t really matter how much hair was growing (out of the sides and back) of our heads. At some point, though, I become less philosophical and more practical. My principal argument is that it is possible to look and feel good about yourself, to be confident and to be happy as a bald guy. I think shaving your head or at least buzzing it down gives guys the best realistic opportunity to achieve that goal. That is acknowledging that most of us have not completely abandoned societal standards for appearance.
I shave my head. I also dress reasonably and generally keep myself pretty well groomed. All of this indicates I care about appearance. This is true. If I think I look good, it helps in that positive confidence feedback loop. So in many ways, I’m not above the standards that society has set. I may have taken a leap and embraced an alternative, but I’m still working within the same framework. At the same time, while I may not have transcended that framework, the most important thing (for now anyways) is that I am fulfilled with my life as a guy without hair. For many years this wasn’t the case. But I guess another way of thinking about it would be to say that my work isn’t done yet.
Anyone else want to weigh in on this? What do you think?. For more on this topic, I touched on it in an earlier post (see here)
photo credit: flickr user hisham_hm
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