Monday, August 08, 2005

Mailbag: About time

I received a great email this weekend from Ernie. It's the type of story I've heard before, but he really tells it well.
Hey, I just wanted to write in hopes to let a few others know they aren't the only ones out there. A bit about myself: I'm currently 45. Since I was 22 I've been so embarrassed about losing my hair that I either wore a hat or just plain avoided situations (pools, swimming, sports) that might bump off my hat. I felt like I had some sort of sickness.

Then I finally had enough and sought a doctor for hair transplant. All looked great in the photos. So I went ahead, I was told I'd need 2 to 3 scalp reductions. After my first one I went back to the doctor and saw many more guys then first hand. To be honest I was in shock at how easy it was for me to tell they'd all had work done and actually how bad it looked. So I stopped at that time, now with a big scar on my head and still no hair. I eventually went to hair pieces. They were all high quality human hair and no matter what anyone said I could always tell, even though in photos it was difficult, I continued to wear them, but always with a hat, almost like a back up system in case my hat had to be removed, or fell off, in either intimate settings or court, weddings funeral and such. I was always stressing and worried. Then I would never let anyone touch my head for fear of detection, not even my wife. Then at around 2 weeks it would begin to smell a bit, or at least I could smell it, then the itching and if it was hot, damn it was just terrible.

Last year I began thinking about shaving my head, it's in style and all. However I met with some resistance from my wife. Her concern was that I would not be happy and then have no hair; she knew how sensitive I was about my head. But her biggest concern is that I would look even more intimidating than I already did. I am 6'4, 270 with fully sleeved arms and a muscular build. To this date in time, even my kids had know idea I even wore a piece, they only knew me as "dad with a hat". Or if any one did know, no one ever said a word.

It took me almost a year to convince myself just to remove it and shave it off.

So now listen anyone in a similar situation. Yes it was scary shaving it off, but it has been absolutely the best thing I've ever done to date.

Upon first shaving it all off I was white as could be on top: my face was usually either very tan or red from hours in the sun on my bike, so it stood out. But as I walked out of the bathroom, my wife smiled and said damn you look the sexiest I've ever seen you. White but sexy.

She took some of her self-tanner and applied it to my head in hopes of toning down the white until at least the sun caught up with me.

I then went down stairs, without anything covering my head, the first time in about 20 years... think about that. Twenty years. Before I'd even reached the landing my oldest daughter yelled at me to come back. She was still in bed, however saw me pass. She just smiled and said damn dad you look 10 years younger and sexy as hell. What made ya do it. I just said it's been hot out and I need a change. (she is 22). As I continued down the stairs to my chair to put on my boots, word traveled quick. Now my second oldest daughter and her boyfriend came down. Again both very positive on how much they liked it, he even commented that now he was shaving his head (the next day he did). They both said I looked like Stone Cold Steve Austin. I didn't even know who he was, had to look him up on the internet... yea there is a resemblance.

Then the next daughter came in with her boyfriend, she rubbed my head, smiled and said it looks hot, but be careful with the sun.

My last but youngest daughter was the only one who said she didn't know if she liked it or not. So I asked her why, her response was far from what I expected. It wasn't that she didn't think it looked good, however her comment was that I already scare the crap out of her friends, now they'll sure to be scared of me (she's 15).

It's been almost 3 weeks now, I haven't worn a hat in that time. If I'm in the sun I sometimes wear a bandana, but it looks cool; after all I'm a biker and it fits.

I've had nothing but positive comments, far more than I'd ever dreamed possible. I've now had many younger females at the gym comment and begin to talk to me, at first about my head, but then to other things... most of them wanting to rub my head.

All of my daughters' friends have also commented on it and how much they like it.

So guys, don't wait 20 years and go through what I did... just do it.

My wife, interestingly enough.. I have a friend who has shaved his head as long as I've known him, when my wife sees him she always says hi and rubs his head. A week or so had gone by and she'd not really even touched mine so I got kinda weird about it and finally asked her. Her response was kinda sad, that she haddn't been allowed to touch my head in over 20 years, just hard to break bad habits. She's always loved shaved heads but was afraid to tell me because of how sensitive I'd always been about mine. Kinda sad, huh?

Oh, and that scar on my head from so long ago, yea it's there, but only one person has noticed. I just told them I had surgery when younger, they said it adds to my look.

So guys I know it may be scary, but trust me: I know that's hard, but take it from me a guy that's been there... take the plunge. I shave my head every day in order to avoid the partial shadow. That'd be my only tip.
Thanks for the email, Ernie. A lot of guys live much of their lives embarrassed by hair loss, and it's always great to hear about people breaking free from that worry. It's amazing, the psychological freedom that comes from shaving it all off.

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