An open letter to Dad’s who are losing their hair due to male pattern baldness:
I’m thinning and I know it! Yes, that is a reference to the song “I’m Sexy And I Know It” and it was on purpose. First let me explain that while my hair is thinning by the minute, my confidence level is still high. But this has not always been the case. You see, it all started back in 2003. I realized that I was thinning in my crown area a bit sooner than I had hoped. (My dad had been rockin’ the bald head for years, so I knew I wouldn’t escape!) But this was too soon…TOO SOON! I had just graduated from college and was on my way to my first job. I had a hair style that was a “poof” for lack of a better word. It was an auburn cotton ball perfectly quaffed atop my head. A total nerd with an oddly athletic frame. I was combing my hair straight back into my classic “poof of success,” when I suddenly noticed a rogue hair sticking up. I had to fix it. I grabbed a small mirror to check out said hair, and was shocked at what I saw as I examined the back of my head. It was not a total bald spot by any means…and not a noticeably thinning area to most. But to me, well it made me feel sick. It was the moment that I realized that I was actually aging. All my life I had been told I had a baby face and had played the part of the guy who looked years younger than he actually was! I couldn’t wrap my brain around it…
So like any young man too concerned with his appearance, I made an appointment at my general practice family doctor right away. I would figure this out! I had done a bit of reading on the internet that mentioned that perhaps a deficiency in iron could be the culprit and was convinced that was it. The doc took a look and did confirm that he noticed some thinning and that he would run a blood test. “It could be just part of getting older,” he said over his shoulder with a chuckle in his voice. His tongue-in-cheek way of saying it had me a bit offended. This was serious! This doctor was actually suggesting that I was a victim of…gulp…male pattern baldness?! Feeling a bit dejected and embarrassed, I went back to my friend the internet to find out what I could do. As you know there are many products out there to help with this natually-occurring problem, including hair clubs for men, Rogaine, surgery, hair plugs…you name it. It took me awhile, but finally I had a revelation…”I think I’ve got some time.” I was in my twenties and I had until my thirties before this was going to be a major problem, right? Until then, a little creative styling will do the trick!
Fast forward a little over ten years. Recently I was sitting on my couch holding my newest addition to our family of five and my wife took a picture of me holding our baby boy from over my shoulder. She posted the picture and it was super cute. What I didn’t know, was that she had cropped out the back of my head portion. She didn’t even mention it until one day in the bathroom when I had that same moment I did back in 2003, except this time it was 2015 and I was 34 years old! That thinning spot was still there, but it was waaaay more thin! She mentioned the picture she had taken, and how she had noticed it but didn’t want to hurt my feelings. But a strange thing happened this time…I was not sick to my stomach. I was not shocked. I simply looked at it, said to myself “well, there is nothing I can do about it and my wife still loves me,” and I moved on with my day. I thought about cutting my hair even shorter to mask the inevitable bald spot, but in a strange way I felt like I had earned that bald spot. See, back in the early 2000’s when I was interning in New York City and just starting my career, I was always this young dude who was told I would get better with age…like a fine wine. Well that time had come. This thinning spot was my badge of honor! My proof that I was experienced in life and well-seasoned.
Well, I’ve decided I am not going to take any supplements or Rogain or have surgery or anything like that to slow down, or even mask the fact that I am thinning. You know (according to the Huffington post) the men’s hair loss industry is a $3.5 billion dollar industry annually, and though those fixes might be the answer for some, I have chosen to not let my insecurities get the best of me. I am going to enjoy my hair while I have it. The only person I have to impress is my wife and she loves me no matter how much hair I have on my head. My kids might say “whoa daddy” if they see a bald spot, but they would still love me. So who cares?! You are not alone. Rest easy knowing that over 50% of men over 50 have some sort of hair loss. Check out this article from the men’s journal on 10 facts and myths on hair loss for men. Besides, you know how many successful dudes out there are balding, thinning or shave their heads completely? Off the top of my head: Michael Jordan, Jason Statham, Walter White (Breaking Bad)…I mean are you kidding me?! Those dudes are awesome and so are you!
Focus on being a great husband and dad, the rest will take care of itself!