Monday, January 31, 2005

Haircut Stories

I ran across a website called The Haircut Story Site which features, as you might guess, stories about people getting their hair cut. What caught my attention was this story about a person admiring the sight of a bald-by-choice individual.
Then the girl said "I think all men should be bald"

"Oh really?" asked the bald guy - rather surprised "You like it?".

"Yeah I think it looks great. I think all men should be shaved. Men shouldn’t have any hair on them except their eyebrows and eyelashes".
The site also links to a message board and The Haircut Site.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Fulfilling a vow

From The Star Online, this story about a woman who shaved her head to fulfill a vow she made.
KUALA LUMPUR: M. Maliga was on her deathbed on her 50th birthday last March after taking a new medication for her arthritis. Her lungs were swollen, she was paralysed from the neck down and on a ventilator. In her moment of need, she cried out to Lord Muruga to heal her and vowed to shave her long, thick waist-length hair if he did.

Today, Maliga is not only alive and well but is able to walk with the aid of a walking stick. In keeping with her promise, Maliga shaved her head during the Thaipusam celebrations at Batu Caves here yesterday.
The Thaipusam celebrations are an annual Hindu festival. Shaving one's head bald as a symbol of humility and atonement is common at these festivals.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Something of a headshave lottery

Found an interesting story in the Herald Standard the other day. Holding a headshave to raise money and support friends isn't new, but the staff and students of Bethlehem-Center High School in Pennsylvania have put an interesting twist on it.
Exactly how many students will go under the clippers depends on how much money is raised to help the family of Brandon Statzula, an otherwise healthy and popular student athlete from Malden, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatments at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

All this week, Dr. Richard Martin, principal for the Beth-Center High School, will be making announcements and encouraging those who want to make a donation to do so. For every $50 that is collected, a name will be picked and a volunteer will have their head shaved.
On top of that, if they manage to raise $1000, the principal's head will also be shaved.

It's a creative way to go about it. Good luck, guys.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Mailbag: Seeing the back of your head

I have looked on several different websites and I have yet to find an answer to this simple question: how does everyone see the back and the side of their heads to get a clean shave? I know the answer is a mirror, but is there a special mirror or technique?
First off, you don't need to be able to see the back of your head in order to get a close shave. Personally, I shave by feel in all the areas that I can't see in the bathroom mirror without a problem. This takes a little practice, but it's not too hard to pick up; in fact, I sometimes shave in the shower without any mirrors at all. Your wet fingers running over the surface to be shaved will find any rough spots, which you can then go over again with your razor.

You can see the back of your head if you use two mirrors. The simplest method is to use a handheld mirror and your bathroom mirror. Turn your back to the bathroom mirror, and hold the handheld mirror in front of you, adjusting it so that you can see the reflection of the back of your head. You can shave with the razor in one hand and the mirror in the other hand. This is awkward at first, but it can be done with practice.

Some people are fortunate enough to have a set-up wherein they have multiple adjustable mirrors in the bathroom. A friend of mine had one where the mirror folded (on hinges) at two points, so you could fold the mirror in such a way that you could accomplish the same thing described above, but without having to hold one of the mirrors.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Yul Brynner

Yul BrynnerOver at Bald R Us, Tony has declared Yul Brynner to be the Bald Man of the Century.

Yul Brynner was probably best known for his role in The King and I, for which he won a Best Actor Oscar. He shaved his head for that role, and kept it for the rest of his career. It was part of the distinctive style that made him seem mysterious and exotic in the various roles he played. Whether he was playing an Egyptian pharoah or a post-apocalyptic warrior, it was hard to turn your eyes away from Yul Brynner.

Brynner died due to cancer in 1985. The Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation was created a few years before his death, after Yul realized that his long use of tobacco was contributing to his health problems.

Yul Brynner at the Internet Movie Database
Quite Simply, The King

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Shaving as hassle

In an article in the Oregon State daily Barometer, Darrin Crescenzi talks about the hassles of shaving.

When you are growing up, shaving is one of those ultimate steps to manhood that we all aspire to reach. Our daddies do it, the guy on the Schick commercial does it, and someday, when we are all grown up, we will do it too.


Your dad, that guy in the Schick commercial -- they don't tell you that the process of shaving your face can be one of the most painfully terrifying experiences that you'll ever have. That, and you'll have to repeat it every day for the rest of your life.

There's nothing like running your cheek down a cheese grater to start your morning off right.
It sounds like Darrin needs to work on his shaving technique, or at least pick up some shaving oil and a Mach 3 (or a Quattro, since he seems to be a Schick man).

Shaving can be a hassle, of course. Darrin was taking a break from shaving his face and enjoying the time away from his razor. I've taken breaks like that too, letting my hair grow for up to a month. It can be very refreshing.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Dad shaving for daughter

From the Richmond & Twickenham Times, a story of a father shaving his head to support his daughter.
Simon Anderson's head will be shaved at 2pm on Wednesday January 26 at Isleworth Congregational Church on the junction of Twickenham Road and Worton Road, in a tribute to his nine -year-old daughter, Siobhan, who was diagnosed with Leukaemia in November last year and is being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital.


Mr Anderson said: "I am doing this to show my daughter how proud I am of her. When we found out that Siobhan had Leukaemia, her biggest worry was that she was going to lose her hair. So I decided I would shave my head too to support her, and I realised I could raise money for the hospital at the same time. I was touched by how brave the children being treated at the hospital were, just smiling and laughing most of the time even though they are so ill, and it made me realise how proud I am to be Siobhan's dad. She just wants to get better for everybody. She has the best spirit in the world."
He's shaving his head on the 26th of January. If anyone wants to donate money, there's contact information in the linked article.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Mailbag: Hair gel shine

It's interesting to find products being used in ways that were probably not intended by the manufacturer. Here's a fine example: using a hair gel to make a bald head shiny.
SHINE hair gel.

I discovered, when I had hair, that the gel caused my scalp to look shiny. People kept commenting on the thinning hair and the shine of my scalp. So, when I took all my hair off, I thought I'd go back and see if it would work as a shiner. Use a pea sized amount. Instant shine. It must be a plastic. Works great and lasts all day.
I don't know if this would work with just any hair gel, but it sounds interesting.

Not everyone wants a shiny head, of course, but if you're looking for a little extra brightness up top, it might be worth a try.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Mailbag: More positive reinforcement

Following up on a previous post, here's some more positive comments I've received from people who shaved their heads for the first time. This first one's from John:
My wife loves it! I'd been begging for her approval about shaving my head for two years and gotten a VERY negative response. (You married guys know what I'm talking about. No major decisions without prior consent!) That is, until yesterday. Out of no where, after years of saying I'd look like a goon, she said she thought I'd look good bald so I should do it ASAP! I sent her your link a month ago but figured she never even checked it out. Now she won't leave me alone. Although I find it a bit embarrassing, she's calling everyone telling them about it.
For many guys, the decision to shave or not to shave is at least partially up to their wives. I'm glad it worked out for John.
I wrote you about a month ago about shaving my head for the first time. Well, I did it and everyone likes it, and says it looks much better than hair on the sides. And people love touching the bald and smoothly shave scalp. Everyone told me why didn't I do it in the first place. I told them I didn't know how people would react. They told me not to worry what people think, its your hair and no one else's. As long as you feel comfortable with it, don't worry.
That one covers my philosophy in a nutshell. You can't please everyone with your appearance, but you should at least try to be comfortable with yourself.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Daikoku Shaving Fukurokuju

Daikoku Shaving FukurokujuFrom the Japan Times Online, an article about an exhibit displaying paintings from the Edo Period (1615-1868).

The reason the article caught my eye is that one of the paintings depicts one god shaving another god's head.
One such painting, "Daikoku Shaving Fukurokuju," demonstrates the happy and humorous natures of these two members of the group of Seven Deities. Daikoku is the deity of prosperity, while Fukurokuju is the deity of longevity. Daikoku is almost naked, clothed only in a loincloth and wearing a red hood. Holding a razor in his right hand, he must climb a ladder in order to shave Fukurokuju's head, since it is so elongated. The painting illustrates the human qualities of deities, who seem less than godlike in such poses, showing that the immortals have as many foibles as us ordinary folk.
Now that I've seen the picture, I feel fortunate that I don't require a ladder to shave my own head.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Mailbag: extending blade life

Razor blades never seem to last long enough. A little over a year back, I received this suggestion through email about extending the life of a razor blade.
As you know, both Braun and Remington have introduced electric shavers with an automatic cleaning feature. These units sit in a bath of an alcohol-mixture.

Well, if it's good for a shaver, then it may be good for a razor, too. I've taken a tall coffee cup that has a cover and partially filled it with some cheap alcohol. The cover reduces the amount of alcohol that evaporates. I use it to clean my razor and it does a good job, too.

But I went one further. I got a second coffee cup and partially filled it with -- vitamin E oil. And it is here where I store the razor. The oil serves two purposes. First, it locks out both water and air thereby eliminating the possibility of rust. Second, when first used, it carries with it some oil that serves as a lubricant (at least for the first few strokes). One could also use jojoba, baby oil, or whatever is lying around the house.

So, two coffee cups that were gathering dust, some alcohol and vitamin E oil, at a cost of under $3 and will probably last for months. I cannot scientifically prove that this technique makes razors last longer but I believe it does. If any of you out there try this and do have measureable results, please write back and share it with the rest of us.
There was a discussion on in December 2002 that discussed thesame issue. The majority of people there seemed to prefer mineral oil, but as the emailer suggested, it seems a number of products will produce a similar effect. Personally, I've tried this with baby oil and it seems to work fine.

Along the same lines is the Edge Saver, a commercial product. I didn't spot anything on their site that mentioned the type of oil they use. I tried and reviewed the EdgeSaver a while back.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Hockey player's hair shaved by fan

Shaved by a fanFrom HeraldNet news comes this charming story of a hockey player's efforts to raise money by shaving his head.
In the middle of the Everett Events Center hockey rink Sunday evening, Mark Kress' tresses were sheared by one of his biggest fans.

Snohomish resident Barbara Lipp won the right to wield the clippers in an online auction at the Silvertips' Web site. After the first period of the game, Lipp helped cut the hockey player's mane, which he was growing long to raise money for charity.
Mrs. Lipp hadn't even bid herself; her husband had done it so that she could have the honour of shaving her favorite player's hair off.

Kress had hoped to have his hair long enough to donate it to another charity, but didn't quite make the required 10 inches length.
Though the player ended up about an inch short of being able to donate his hair to Locks of Love, he decided to go ahead with the haircut after meeting his goal of raising $10,000, said Silvertips Spokesman Keith Gerhart.
To everyone involved: way to go!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Mailbag: Positive reinforcement

People are sometimes very nervous about shaving their heads for the first time. They often wonder if it will look okay, or if they will be mocked once their head is shaved. I thought I'd share some emails I've gotten from people who have shaved their heads for the first time.
I shaved my over my vacation and was anticipating some negative comments from my co-workers but upon returning to work, many workers complimented me and said I looked good. The part that's really interesting is a couple of guys stopped wearing the hats that covered a bald spot on their head and one of the girls that never wore shorts suddenly started wearing shorts and I overheard another girl telling someone that what I did was very bold. I think my change helped people feel better about themselves and they can be who they are without fear of ridicule.

I'm now shaving every evening because my hair grows very fast.
That email's from Larry, and it's fairly typical of the comments I receive. Here's another positive email that I received from Mark:
I just wanted to say "thank" for your informative site. I shaved my head 3 days ago and am still getting used to everything. My reason for shaving - I was born with a small "bald" spot near the front, left-hand part of my head. For all my life I had this patch of skin where hair should have been. So everday I would have to comb hair over it. I was always self-conscious about it...

As I got older, and my hair began to thin it became increasingly difficult to cover up my baldness. I would spend 30 minutes messing with my hair each day and I'd still not be happy with the results. Plus, I drive a convertible and own a motorcycle... so my hair would always get messed up anyway.

I had been thinking about shaving my head for a year... My only hang up was that, considering my bald spot... my decision would have to be permanent. But when I finally did... I felt so free! For the first time in my 30 years of existence, I didn't have to worry about my bald spot, my thinning hair, or anything... just a smooth scalp.

It's going to take some getting use to.. but I know I'll be fine.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my story. Thanks again!
Nearly all of the email I receive from first-time headshavers is positive, which is great. Keep it up, folks.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Does shaving affect hair growth?

There is a common belief that if you crop your hair (or shave it), it will grow back thicker than before. There are other, similar beliefs, like the idea that if you pluck out one grey hair, two more will grow in its place.

Conversely, there is also the belief (among some people) that shaving your hair will cause it to grow back thinner, and eventually lead to baldness. Similarly, some people believe that wearing tight hats, or brushing the hair too much, will lead to baldness.

In case you were wondering, none of these ideas is true.

The hair we see on our heads is dead protein. All hair growth takes place in the hair follicle, which is below the skin. When we cut or shave our hair, we're cutting or shaving the dead part of it that has grown out past the surface of the skin. This doesn't affect hair growth in any way, neither positively nor negatively. Hair growth can be affected by environmental factors (stress, diet, radiation, possibly others), but these are things that affect the hair's root. Shaving or cutting hair only affects the dead part of the hair, so it won't affect it's growth.

If shaving somehow did increase hair growth, you can be sure that we'd know about it, because it would essentially be a cure for male pattern baldness. Billions of dollars are spent every year by men trying to re-grow their hair. If all they had to do was shave it for a while, you'd be seeing a lot more shiny domes in the short term.

And conversely, if shaving caused hair to come back thinner or disappear, then we wouldn't need to keep shaving our beards. Granted, beard hair is different from scalp hair, but at the least, those of us who shave our heads would expect hair loss from the scalp to be even, and not focused on the top as it actually is.

However, there may be reasons why people think that shaving can affect growth.

Consider this situation: your hair is receding. You shave it all off and then, after some period of time, you re-grow your hair. You will almost certainly have less hair than before you shaved. Although this is attributable to natural hairloss, it may seem to some people that because they shaved, they lost more hair.

Conversely, one might shave one's head, live the bald life for a while, and then re-grow it without suffering any hair loss or gain. Some people, having become unaccustomed to the sight of their hair, might perceive even more hair than they previously perceived. In this scenario, a person might believe that shaving actually increased hair growth.

While these perceptions might arise naturally, they do not reflect reality. Shaving your head will neither increase nor decrease the number of hairs on your head, nor will it affect their thickness or colour. All shaving will do is to make your hair really short for a while.

Related Links:

Does shaving stimulate hair growth / hypertrichosis? - Includes references to a study done in the 1920's showing that there is no link between shaving and hair growth.

Top Ten Hair Myths - Myth #1 is "Cutting your hair makes it stronger or grow faster."

Hair Follicle Structure - Information about how hair "works".

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Outrageously Smooth

So, does the image of a bald woman sell liquor?
The commercial featured a girl in a bath who asks her boyfriend to shave her. Her thighs are seen rising out of water as she submerges her head in a fit of giggles - the image of swirling water turns into swirling Blavod Black Vodka. In the next scene we see the boyfriend preparing two glasses of the Blavod before removing a towel on the girls head to reveal that it is here that the shaving took place, rather than lower down, as had been insinuated. The slogan "Outrageously Smooth" then appears on screen.
That's from a press release mentioning an ad campaign for Vodka that played in the UK this past year. I haven't seen the commercial myself.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Mailbag: Does age matter

Here's a curious question that I've been asked more than once through email:
What is a good age for someone to start shaving their head?
I don't know what is meant by "a good age". There isn't any specific age that's better or worse for shaving one's head than any other, as far as I know. Some cultures and religions have rituals that involve shaving the head of a child as young as 1 or 2 years old.

Shaving doesn't harm the hair any more than cutting it does, so shaving one's head won't affect later hair growth. As long as shaving is done carefully, it won't do any damage to the skin either. As far as I've been able to determine, there are no permanent physical affects that result from shaving, so there's no physical reason to limit headshaving to a particular age.

That said, there may be social and cultural reasons not to shave one's head at a given age. Particularly, children under 18 who are living with their parents may live in situations where their parents do not wish them to shave their heads. In situations like that, I generally advise children to abide by their parents' wishes; I don't think a hairstyle is worth the family discord that might result.

Once a person is an adult, I think they should be free to make any and all decisions about their personal appearance. Also, children who's parents do not object to headshaving shouldn't have a problem.

I've had emails from kids as young as 12 that shave their heads, and adults in their seventies. Nearly all report positive responses from family and friends. There is always the possibility that one's peers might not like the look, and even mock it. For younger children, the potential for social stigma might be a risk they don't want to take, and it is possible that teasing might result from shaving one's head. Generally speaking, though, it's not normally a problem.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

How often should one shave?

I'm often asked how often one should shave their head.

I can't really offer a specific recommendation. After all, it's really a matter of personal choice: how smooth you want your scalp to be, how sensitive your skin is, and how much work you want to put in.

I've communicated with people who only shave once a week, people who shave a couple of times a week (like me, usually once every 2 or 3 days), those who shave daily, and a select few who actually shave more than once per day. Each choice has its advantages and disadvantages.

Personally, I like shaving every 2nd day. After the 2nd day, the stubble's a bit much for me. But I don't really want to shave every day, as it gets a bit tiresome.

But a good rule of thumb is that you'll probably want to shave your scalp about as often as you normally shave your face. The hair tends to grow at the same rate, so you already have some idea of how much stubble to expect.

Monday, January 10, 2005

More support

Shaving one's head to support a friend isn't uncommon. Normally, it's in support of someone with cancer, but cancer's not the only thing that can lead to someone losing their hair. For Kyle Wyss, a brain tumor and the subsequent surgery meant that he had to shave his hair.

From West Salem Coulee News:
Several of the teachers and students have resorted to shaving their heads as a symbolic means of support for Kyle, as well as a fund-raising method for the Wyss family.

Dave Cowley, junior high literature teacher, had his head shaved after he had pledges of $100. Cory Everson, junior high math teacher, also had his head shaved after receiving pledges of $100.

Yet to have her head shaved, Kathy Young, library media aide, said she will do so after she receives pledges totaling $1,000. She's still working on gathering that amount.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Mailbag: Blade life

A common question I received through email:
I personally use the Gillette Mach 3 razor but I have a problem. The blade doesn't stay sharp long enough it seems so I was wondering how many times should I shave using the same blade before replacing it?
The question of blade life is highly dependent on the individual. Some people have soft, sparse hair and can use a single blade for quite a while before it gets dull. Some people have very thick, coarse hair and they go through blades quite quickly. As a result, there's no way to be sure how long a blade will last for you.

Blades should be changed when they start to get dull enough that you find yourself using more and more pressure in order to get the same quality of shave. This is often noticeable when you start to feel more irritation when you shave, because irritation is often caused by pressing too hard with the razor while shaving.

As a personal rule of thumb, I tend to keep an eye on the 'comfort strip' on my Mach 3. When the comfort strip starts to crumble and disappear, that's when I consider changing the blade. Note, that's not the same as changing it when the color fades from the strip; that usually happens pretty quickly, but it's not a good indicator of blade life (as we discussed in this article). Even when the comfort strip is mostly gone, the blade might be sharp enough to use, but you have to develop a bit of a feel for that.

There are ways to increase blade life. Ensuring that your hair is as soft as possible before shaving (by making sure it's very wet, like shaving during or after a shower) helps. Storing the blade in mineral oil or something similar helps cut back on corrosion on the blade; there are commercial products like Edge Saver that do the same thing.
Cryogenically-hardened razor blades are also available, which tend to last longer than normal blades.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Embracing the inevitable

There's an excellent article on the Marin Independent Journal website about baldness.
"I felt a scraping across my head," Snesko, 58, recalls. "She was shaving my head with her Lady Schick razor. I just (about) fainted."

Then came the words every follically challenged male lives for: "She said, 'You are so much better looking bald.' It so disarmed me, I let her finish the job. And I've been happy and grateful ever since."

Amen, and pass that mirror over here.

Bald is beautiful.
The person quoted above is Tony Snesko, founder of the Bald R Us website, which celebrates baldness.

It's interesting how our self-image can be tied up in our hair. But as the article points out, most men are affected by baldness or thinning hair at some point in their lives.
Male pattern baldness affects up to 90 percent of all men.

You can't run. You can't hide. So you may as well go with the flow.
Fighting against male pattern baldness is like fighting against the setting of the sun. It happens whether you fight it or not. Recognizing that it's not necessary to fight it, though, can make life a lot easier.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Bald community

baldSo where do you go when you want to talk to people about headshaving? Who do you ask when you've got questions about razors, shaving creams, bumps, and skin irritation on your scalp?

Other bald folks, of course!

The Bald by Choice Men's Club has been around since 1998, and it's a great place to talk about the BBC lifestyle and ask shaving questions.

Though it's not been around as long, Head Shave Central is another good message board for communicating with fellow baldies.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Mailbag: Cole

Cole and his fatherI've posted stories about people supporting family and friends by shaving their heads (1, 2, 3, 4). Just recently, I got an email from a father whose three-year-old son has leukemia.

As I've mentioned before, I think the idea of shaving one's head to support a loved one is beautiful. Unwanted hair loss due to chemotherapy or surgery can be very difficult for people to take. It's made easier when they have the very visible support of those close to them. Hopefully, the depth of our love for family and friends is always obvious; making it visible to everyone around is a nice touch.
My 3-year-old son Cole was diagnosed with childhood leukemia a week before Christmas. He started chemo treatment immediately, and he begun losing his hair after about 2 weeks of treatment, just before the New Year. We always got our haircuts together, so when I told Cole we need to cut his hair, he agreed to it if we did it "together". He got a close buzz cut, and the chemo medication will take care of the rest over the next few days. I did a buzz cut for myself, followed by a full shave, so we would match. I intend to keep my skull shaved at least until Cole's hair begins to grow back, sometime after his 2-year chemo treatment is over.
They've set up a website for Cole which includes pictures and other information. Good luck, Cole; I'll be thinking of you.

Lessons learned from Christmas

From the Citizen-Times, a somewhat humorous look at Christmas. I mention it only because of this bit:
Our society has become ridiculously litigious. I know this because one of my Christmas gifts, an electric shaver, came with the following warning: "Never Use While Sleeping." (Laugh if you want, but this apparently has prevented thousands of senseless head shaving incidents over the years.)
I always avoid shaving while asleep. Too many nicks and cuts.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Mailbag: Advice for a balding transvestite

I sometimes get questions through email to which I cannot reply, normally because the person who filled in my contact form with a non-working email address. Here's one recent question; with any luck, the person who asked will come across it here. Jennifer had given permission to post this question in her initial contact.

Name: Jennifer
Hi! Your site is very informative and has quite a positive bent to it.

I need some advice/inspiration here, so here's a brief intro:
I am a 5'11 transsexual woman who "passes" most of the time. I feel I am pretty. My hair's shoulder length. The last few years male pattern baldness has been occuring (my mom is even very bare on top). I've tried "products". I try to style my hair to cover it. I am getting tired of this and am considering shaving my head! What are your thoughts on this? I mean..a very large part of my identity is of being feminine. Most family/friends accept me as a tranny girl. I also think bald people are beautiful. Part of why transsexuals sometimes seem to overcompensate to be girly is because they wish to outbalanc e some of the other social cues, such as being 5'11 and a relatively strong bone structure (that's me). If you can advise that would be appreciated. If you can steer me towards other help in this matter that would be great.

Thank you very much,
I don't know if my comments will be helpful, but I'll give it a shot.

I assume you've already looked through the "For Women" section of my site. If not, you might want to look through some of the links; there are two stories in there that I found interesting that deal with women who have shaved their heads.

Personally, I think many women continue to look very feminine with shaved heads. Society in general is becoming more open to the idea of bald women, but unfortunately it is still far from mainstream (as illustrated in a previous article). Women who do shave their heads often face some discrimination from people who are intolerant of certain kinds of differences.

One problem you might have is that even if you shave your head regularly, it is very common for 'shadow' to be visible. This is isn't as much of a problem if you're blond and have fair skin, but otherwise it's usually apparent where your hair would normally grow. While baldness does affect some women, it's uncommon, and the visual appearance of male pattern baldness will still be apparent to people who look (if they're not paying much attention, they'll probably not notice). Male pattern baldness is distinctive enough that it would probably not match most people's ideas of feminine.

One possibility would be to shave your head and then wear a wig. Baldness makes wigs easier to deal with, I'm told.

My personal opinion is that the only person who has to be happy with your appearance is you. If you like the way you look, that is the most important thing. You said that you have family and friends that accept you as you are, so I expect that they would continue to accept you whether your hair was long, short, or absent.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The stigma of baldness for women

photoThough the bald-by-choice look is more common than it used to be, it's not universally accepted. This is especially true for women, who can suffer some serious discrimination if they shave their heads. Consider this story from the Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star as an illustration.
NGEL HOPKINS thought having cancer was bad enough.

Then, chemotherapy made her hair fall out, and she lost the ponytail that used to hang down her back.

But the worst part of the ordeal was having people make fun of her. Strangers who saw her at the gas station or grocery store would give her dirty looks and make snide comments about her bald head.
In this day and age, I find it amazing that people would harass a women with a shaved head about her appearance. Given how common cancer is in North America, you'd think that people would have a little awareness and compassion, you know?

In Hopkins case, when she revealed all of this to other people in her life, they decided to support her by shaving their own heads. Sisters, other female relatives, and neighbours got in on the act. Naturally, this got even more stares.
When they tell others why they're hair-free, people change their attitude, said Frank Miller, Campbell's boyfriend.

"They'll go, 'Awww, that's the sweetest thing I ever heard,'" he said. "But it's just amazing how quickly people judge another person."
Her family and friends have pledged to stay bald as long as she does. Maybe the people in her area will learn a little something about compassion along the way.

The story got covered by WAVY TV as well.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The thin blue line

Tammy Hansen Snell of Nebraska StatePaper comments on the blue comfort stripes on modern disposable and cartridge razors:
The packaging states that the razor "..has a blue stripe that fades away when you are no longer getting the optimal shave"

Poppycock. The blue stripe has been gone from my razor for two months now, and my shins still get as smooth as they did three months ago.

Indicator strip, schmindicator strip. It’s a ploy intended to make me throw away a perfectly good razor and buy another one.

Well, I’m tired of playing along. The economy will have to adjust to the fact that I refuse to throw the razor away until it no longer does a decent job.
I agree fully.

Personally, I find that the blue stripe tends to fade completely after one or two shaves. I still end up using it for about 10 to 12 shaves, though, with good results. No, the razor isn't as incredibly sharp as it was on the first two shaves, but it doesn't need to be. In fact, I find the shaving more comfortable once the blue stripe is gone; that's when the razor's finally been 'broken in', so to speak.