A Growing Number Of Men Are Becoming Hair-Free And Carefree
By Brad Goins + 21 Others
Lagniappe recently sent questionnaires to nearly two dozen bald men in the Lake Area.
We asked them if they had any tips for first-time shavers. Did they ever have problems with their baldness? Did they joke about it? Or did people direct jokes at them?
The men who responded told us they had grown content with their look — had even became proud of it. And we gained a wealth of information about the day-to-day life of men who take it all off.
For men who were experiencing some degree of baldness before they decided to shave their heads, a starting point of discussion is: Just where did the baldness come from?
In other words, was the baldness inherited? And if so, just how did it travel down the family tree?
Some men who look around and see bald ancestors, and who find themselves losing hair early on, decide to reconcile themselves to the inevitable and take the leap. They grab the clippers and embrace their baldness.
For some, the fact that the baldness passed down through family lines is a reason to embrace the look; makes it a point of pride.
Our respondents are well aware that the bald look is presently a popular one. That seems to give them all the more reason to feel allegiance to it.
Participants told Lagniappe about practical benefits of baldness.
They’ve had a lot of experience with shaving. And they have some good advice about it.
They find that now that bald is so big, there’s a place for humor about it.
What about hats? Bald men are often seen wearing hats, especially in sunny or unusually cold environments. As we’ll see in the following comments, some have more success with the protective use of hats than others.
Each participant was asked these questions:
1. Were you ever given a gift related to your bald style?
2. Can you laugh about your style? Do you have a favorite bald joke?
3. Do you have any problems because of it?
4. Do you own many hats?
5. Do you have any tips for first-time shavers?
Participants could answer as few or as many questions as they liked. Enjoy …
“As a business owner/operator I don’t have much time for hair appointments. So the alternative to having to go to the barber is to shave it myself.
“I’ve been wearing a bald head since 1995, and I shave every day in the shower.
“It’s convenient, it’s quick, and it’s a great hairstyle for a convertible!”
“My father was bald; his father was bald; so the myth that it comes from your mother’s side of the family is not true. My grandfather on my mother’s side had a full head of hair until he died.
“I started losing my hair in high school, so this has been my ‘style’ for many years.
“Being bald is a family tradition and my ‘style.’ I would not have it any other way.
“I can recall some lady telling me that they make things that can help your hair grow now … I guess the look on my face told the story because she quickly stopped telling me about it. Then I explained to her that I like it this way.
“I save a lot of money and time … No haircuts, hairbrushes, hair products; and I don’t spend a lot of time fixing my hair or getting ready to go in the mornings.
“I cannot imagine life with hair. For one thing, it would be way too hot.”
“As a youngster, I was picked on and called ‘mop head’ because of my thick black wavy hair … I remember saying, ‘God, I hate this hair.’ Well, be careful for answered prayers, I guess.
“It was either make a really good-looking monk or let go of the dream and shave it all off. The look stuck and it’s been with me for over 20 years now.
“Lots of persons of the female persuasion find it very sexy! (Yay!) Special thanks to Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Vin Diesel, Bruce Willis, Stone Cold Steve Austin, etc., etc., for keeping it real!
“I can swim faster; be the first to know when it starts raining. My collection of hats fits better and it’s not quite so hot out for me now.
“I hear that bald guys are bald because of a higher testosterone level. I’m inclined to believe that one.”
“I never have a bad hair day.”
“If I grow my hair out, I can laugh about it.
“When it comes to hats, I only have three caps: one beanie and two knitted hats.”
My advice for head shavers? “Go against the grain for a closer shave. Be prepared for a cool head.”
“Aside from ripping up all of Southwest Louisiana in 2005, Hurricane Rita ushered me into the bald life. I was a reporter at the American Press. All of us in media were making preparations for what we expected to be a rough time, since Rita was forecast to be an end-of-the-world storm. There would be water shortages and no electricity. And any of the creature comforts of life were going to be nixed temporarily.
“Thinking about basic necessities and things that could get in your way while you were working and surviving were paramount. The day before Rita struck, I was at home and looked at my hair — which was thinning then — and decided to shave it off. In my opinion, hair was going to be a problem that I did not need.
“Almost 10 years after that moment, I still shave my head bald and love it.
“It is a soul-freeing practice. No shampoo needed. No conditioner. No gel. No barber shop. All a bald man needs is a wet wipe or towel and soap, and our basic noggin. Hygiene needs are addressed simply and quickly.
“For what it’s worth, I find the bald style classic and clean. If you are blessed with a nice aerodynamic head, baldness is even better.
“One of the best ways to enjoy a day is as a bald man. People with hair truly do not get to enjoy a nice breeze or cool water like a bald person does. When you’re bald, you feel it all.
“I do wear hats — I have dozens — on extremely hot and cold days. As Grandma cautioned, ‘You gotta protect your head.’
“A bald head can be integrated into your fashion style. I wear bow ties (own dozens), wild socks (own dozens), colorful clothes (owns lots), all of which, to my mind, blend in with my southern sensibilities.
“I also like to wear a beard with my bald look even though I do get pulled to the side at airports by TSA personnel who intend to make sure this Louisiana man is not dangerous.
“Here is some basic advice for anyone interested in the bald life. Invest in good shaving cream, shaving lotion and a razor. A bald head is a statement to the world. Therefore, treat your head well. Shave it patiently, because head skin is
sensitive and you don’t want to walk the planet with a noggin that resembles a pimento loaf because it’s nicked up and cut up from hurried shaving.
“Being bald will open the door for nicknames. Some will be good-natured and others crude. People in my circle have referred to me as Buddha, Da Cuban, Big Head, Shiny Head, Love Child of Shaft and Sara Palin and CIA Agent (when I’m wearing the beard).
“On the flip side, there are people, some of whom are strangers, who ask to rub my bald head in order to make a wish or test to see if it is as smooth as it looks. My bald head is at times a victim of close friends and family, who like to pluck or slap me upside of the head. Note … these are people who are extremely close to me.
“I am a sucker for those of the fairer sex who give me a kiss on my bald head. Haven’t you heard — kiss a bald man and succeed?
“The bald life is good. I live it and relish it.”
“Bald is beautiful!
“So … about 10 years ago, I started complaining to Sheila about how little hair was on the floor when I got my hair cut. She kept daring me to shave it. After a few more cuts (and a few Crown on the rocks), I went for it.
“There were no bumps or goofy-looking surface map, so I kept it.
“I shave every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. I buy my razors at greatrazors.com, where I get the same name brands I would normally buy. But they are cryogenically frozen down to -300 degrees Fahrenheit, and last about three weeks. It’s Sunday when I can see how grey I would be if I let it grow out. Love it!
“I know a bald dude who shaves with some kind of contraption that has wheels on it like a Matchbox car.
“I pretty much only wear boonie hats to work in the yard and on the boat; a ball cap could leave a silly-looking line.
“My advice for new shavers — shave against the grain to get slick and use Cremo shave cream as opposed to the well-known name-brand shave gels.
“My photo shows I’m pretty damn popular … if not stylish.”
“As for being bald, it was a 50/50 choice because the top was receding; so I just decided one day to shave it all off.
“I have been shaving my head now for about 20 years. When I first shaved my head, the movie Con-Air came out, and I was asked many times if I was Cyrus — actor John Malkovich. That was funny.”
“Well, I can start off by saying that my baldness is genetic. With that being said, I must have good genes! Ha ha!
“There are many advantages. There are no bad hair days, I don’t need a lot of
shampoo, and it’s cool in the summer.”
“I’m not completely bald. By the time I reached 25 or so, I was thinning significantly on the top of my head. By 32 or so, I was extremely thin on the top, and had resorted to the Pat Riley style.
“I was on a bear hunting trip in Canada and there was a little barber shop across the street from a cafe. I got tired of my hair looking crazy, so I walked in and told the lady to shave me. She refused until I took the clippers and ran them through my hair. Thus, my total baldness began. Now, I’m lucky to grow 10 hairs on top.
“I’ve received a number of nifty gifts for my baldness: old-style brushes; razors; gift certificates to fancy barbers. The truth is — and this is my advice to the ‘baldies’ who still have hair on the side and back — it is easier to simply buy the
Fusion Four blade razors and run them over your head when you shower at night and in the morning. It keeps you nice and slick!
“If you can’t take a bald joke, you had better get implants. I probably hear a couple of them a day. Just remember, bald is beautiful. In addition to the bald jokes, you have to be ready for people, even strangers, to rub on your head because they want to see what it feels like. My wife has advised me at parties that ‘if another woman touches your head, that’s it!’ So it can be pretty funny. Plus, it can make Halloween fun. I was Pit Bull last year.
“I own more hats than I can count — both to wear with suits to court and for recreation. I’m trying to avoid skin cancer like my father [got].”
“Hair is for the Air Force and fancy women.”
“For me, the shaved head look isn’t so much a decision on ‘style.’ I had long
hair for many years, then [went] back and forth between the occasional head shaving.
“I later shaved my head when my mother-in-law had to shave hers during breast cancer treatments, and I never went back.
“It doesn’t hurt that my wife likes it!”
Swift says he lost most of his hair in his early 30s. He “finally tired of combing a few strands and shaved it all off.
“I’m glad to see a lot of young guys shaving their heads. Now it’s stylish. I started wearing hats for protection from the sun, but especially in cold weather. It is amazing how much a hat helps keep your body warm.
“My favorite hat is a fedora style, and when I wear it, a lot of folks comment on my hat. I’m sure most are making fun. But I need a hat more than most
Of the bald look: “It’s interesting. It looks cleaner.
“My grandfather chose the look. I respected him. It’s something I grew up with.
“When I was working as a sportscaster for the Billings Bulls hockey team we had a promotion. Someone would shave his head if we sold out the building.” [The coach backed out at the last minute; Dow took the shave.] “I was in my mid-20s. I liked the look.
“I just never got a haircut I was in love with. I put matters in my own hands.
“I kept this style long enough that my wife actually likes it.
“I still like it. When I was in the hospital and it grew back, it nearly drove me crazy.
On first-time head shaving: “I don’t know if I would do it in the winter. You’ll forget a hat. Do it in the spring — as a spring cleaning project.”
“I use Edge Gel for sensitive skin. I use Slick. It gives you more of a shine.
“I get all the Steve Austin jokes. I actually have that build.”
On one broadcasting job, Dow was walking the sidelines of the University of South Florida football team. “I hear, ‘Hey, Mr. Clean.’ I look up. Two students point at me and say, ‘You suck.’”
“I had hair until I was in my 30s.
“It runs in my family — Dad and uncles. So I just said, ‘don’t fight it’ — so I just got rid of it.
“It’s great: no trouble, no worries, no effort and minimal expense. Just get up and go!”
Perry advises first-time head shavers to “think of all the saved time getting ready.
“There is just one problem with baldness. Just sunburns. And it burns!
“Yes, I buy hats and forget to wear them. They are really lots of trouble to take care of.”
In response to the question Can you engage in humor about your baldness?: “Always do!”
“I went kicking and screaming into baldness in my 20s and 30s. I have embraced the bald look for quite a while.
“Actually, it has become an accepted look for many years now, and I really enjoy it!
“Gotta be careful shaving … Being in a hurry and shaving a bald head don’t mix too well.
“I get the Pit Bull thing quite a bit when I am wearing my sunglasses. But I am certain lots of bald guys get the same thing.”
“Everybody gives a bald man a hat. I’ve got three hats I wear and 150 other hats. [McMillin has a different favorite hat for hunting, fishing and MSU and LSU games.] I don’t like wearing hats. When it’s really cold, I go nowhere without a skull cap.”
“Absolutely I laugh about [being bald].” Comedian Jen Kober once made a joke about McMillin’s baldness from the stage; she referred to his “four-inch part.” McMillin also cites another joke: “Any time you have two bald men standing next to each other you have Dolly Parton.”
Tips for first-time shavers: “Shave your hair very short at first and try to get some sun. When you shave the remainder, that part of your scalp will be very white. Get the tan right. After you shave, put sun tan lotion on your scalp to help it adapt to the tan.”
McMillin has a humorous anecdote that relates to that advice. “When I first shaved my head, I had the Bozo look.” Immediately after the shave, he travelled to the LSU/Alabama game with his wife and two friends Paula and Danny Gaspard. As he wore a hat, no one in the group knew he had shaved.
When the group stopped to eat in a Taco Bell, McMillin removed his hat. Paula, who was sitting across from him, “gasped. She gasped! ‘What did you do?’ she asked. She looked at me. ‘Your head! Your head!’” His friends said that while the top of his head was tan, the sides of his head were so white they were “almost blue.” The group laughed about it the whole afternoon.
“At Halloween one year, I put on a wig and sunglasses. Not a soul knew who I was.”
“I’ve learned to shave my head at night. That way if you happen to get razor burn, it’s usually not a problem in the morning.
“Less is more. There’s really no need to shave more than three times a week.
“Hats and sunscreen will become your best friend. Before leaving the house, I used to check for my wallet, phone and keys. Now I’ve added a fourth item: my cap.
“If you happen to knick your head while shaving, don’t try to hide it with a flesh-colored Bandaid; instead, embrace your self-inflicted wound with something bold like a Spiderman Bandaid. That way, at least people won’t feel sorry for you. They might laugh, but they won’t feel sorry for you.
“One downside is that when you nervous sweat, there’s nothing to hide it. Rest assured knowing that it’s not just awkward for you, it’s awkward for everyone.
“Choosing to shave your head is a bold move. I started shaving my head at 26. Some guys just look better bald.”
“Being bald for me is purely a choice. Since I started shaving, I have tried to grow my hair back and I never could stand it.
“The reason I started shaving is I was always too busy or lazy to stop in and get my hair cut, and it got so long I couldn’t stand it. So one night, I just took the razor to it.
“The myth that shaving your head saves on the cost of shampoo isn’t true; razors cost even more than shampoo.
“My best advice for anyone looking to shave their head for the first time — always wear sunscreen. There is nothing worse than a sunburnt, freshly shaven head.”
“My hair started thinning about 10 years ago, and after some encouragement from my wife and a few bald buddies, I took the plunge and shaved my entire head. Now, there is no way I would ever go back. OK, who am I kidding? I can’t grow hair for —-. But the point is, I like the look and the carefree lifestyle.
“As an active guy, keeping a clean-shaven head just works for me and my lifestyle. I love to camp, hike, sail, scuba dive and stay outdoor-active.
“Several friends say they cannot imagine me with hair. So my ‘lack of hair style’ is just a part of who I am. It’s not a stance, statement or really a choice. It’s just me.
“I do laugh about my bald look sometimes. I recently saw an old friend that I hadn’t seen since high school. Time had been less than friendly to her. You see, in high school she was one of the hot girls. Now, she was, well, let’s just say not in the best of shape. Her first words were, ‘Oh you’re bald!” (Since high school she had developed Tourette’s.) I laughed out loud, and thought to myself, ‘Yup, I’m healthy, in great shape and have a beautiful wife who loves my bald head. I’m blessed!’ As for her, I just gave her a big smile, and thought to myself, ‘Thank you, Lord, I didn’t wind up with you!’
Problems with baldness include “bright sunny days. Hats and sunscreen are your friend. Also, if I accidentally bump my head and develop a scab, it’s not good.”
Walker owns many hats. “All styles and shapes. But only for the sun protection. In the evenings or indoors, I firmly embrace the look.”
Tips for first-time shavers: “Take your time. Razor nicks on a bald head are not your friend. Use lots of shaving cream and lotion afterwards. The first time, it took me quite a while in the shower, and I got more than a few razor nicks. Now, its a daily routine during my morning shower and takes about 3 minutes. No nicks!”
Walker says he knows the biggest perk of baldness. “Have you ever noticed that bald guys always have the hottest wife?”
“I have no earthly idea what any of you gentlemen are talking about.”