Monday, 16 February 2009

'Mr Sex': Hair Yesterday, None Today

Something you might not know about me; I’ve been shaving my head for over ten years. It had been on the cards for ages; I remember being in a barbers when I was 22, and he mentioned that my hair was really fine. And I thanked him. By the time I was 25, it was starting to thin out like a bastard, and I got obsessed with checking the top of my head on CCTV cameras. By the time I was 26, I took a razor to my scalp. It was either that, or my wrists.

In many ways, I was extremely lucky to go bald when I did. I was in London, a place where people generally don’t give a toss what you look like. And I was in the mid-nineties, when head-shaving was a bit fashionable and actually a bit sexy (thank you, Grant Mitchell). I had none of the dilemmas that my slap-headed ancestory had to deal with; getting a rug, using those mad hairsprays or trying to rock a Bobby Charlton were not options I could entertain. The best thing to do was get shot of it all and not give a fuck. Which I did, and I do.

In the spirit of Dan’s recent post, and for the benefit of men everywhere who are heading that way - and for women who don’t understand – this is what it’s like..

1. Yes, it really is a very big deal.

Losing your hair, no matter how brave a face you put on (or underneath) it, is horrible. For starters, it’s usually the first sign that you’re beginning to slip away from your peak. Not only are you constantly tracking the spread of your male pattern baldness, you also start monitoring people’s reactions to it. You watch the direction of their eyes when you talk to them, and are just waiting for them to make comment on it. And when you’re in a relationship, it’s even worse; it’s a very obvious dealbreaker (in fact, I still believe that me shaving my head was the nail in the coffin of the relationship I was in at the time).

2. When you do it for the first time, you turn it into an event.

There’s no turning back, and it’s almost a rite of passage, so you have to make the most of it. You could book in at the most expensive barbers you know and have someone apply the straight-edge razor to your head (seeing as it’ll be the last time you ever have need of places like that), or you could spend a couple of hours slowly doing it yourself – giving yourself a Travis Bickle Mohican along the way, of course.

3. You will spend the first week constantly touching your scalp, looking in every reflective surface in the vicinity, and feeling extremely vulnerable.

It’s weird how the lack of a couple of inches of hair makes you feel fragile as fuck. Just as someone who switches from glasses to contact lenses can’t help pushing a finger along the bridge of their nose, you will be flinching whenever the wind changes.

4. However, at some point in that first week, you will walk under a low-hanging tree and realise that you suddenly have an enormous new erogenous zone.

Seriously. And when it snows for the first time, your knees will buckle.

5. Your mates will deem it The Most Important Thing to Ever Happen in The History Of Everything.

One or two of them – the infantile sort whose sense of humour never left the laughing-at-one’s-own-genitals stage – will make constant references to Kojak, do the slapping thing Benny Hill did to Jackie Wright, etc etc. Yawn. The others will bang on relentlessly about how brave you are, as if you’ve amputated your own arms with a knife between your teeth during a polar expedition. Either way, you’ll be obliged to reveal it to everyone you know as if you were The Queen unveiling a statue, over and over again.

Oh, and none of your male friends will tell you what you need to know – that you don’t look like a twat.

6. Your female friends, on the other hand, will tell you that you don’t look like a twat.

But, unless they suddenly pull you towards them and say “My God, I never realised how sexy you are – let’s do it right here, on this pub table”, you won’t believe them.

7. Then they’ll tell you that you look like Harry Goldenblatt off Sex And The City.

But seeing as you’d sooner watch your Dad shit in a glass bucket than that load o’ rammell, you won’t know who he is, and get a bit scared that he’s a paedophile or something.

8. You will automatically lose any chance of getting some with at least 60% of the female population.

Sorry, but it has to be said.

9. Of the remaining 40%, half of those that would get with you want to because they think you’re something you’re not.

This was a real eye-opener for me. I used to have a skinhead cut when I moved to London, and an alarmingly high percentage of my peers thought I was a racist, Gay, or a Gay racist. As soon as I shaved it all off, a lot of people assumed I was hard as fuck (when I’m actually soft as arseholes). A lot of the women I ran into appeared to have a penchant for nightclub bouncers, and were a bit let down when I wasn’t nailing them to the bed and offering to beat the shit out of any man who had done them wrong, even if all he had done was short-change them by 5p at the newsagents.

10. Regardless of whether they fancy you or not, all women will want to stroke your head.

…whilst being totally unaware of Point 4, and not realising that to people like me, stroking a bald scalp is foreplay. I’ll be sat in the pub minding my own business, some pissed-up girl who I don’t even know runs her hand over my head on the way to the bar, and she might as well have licked it. When your female friends do it, it’s even worse; you have to fight to stop yourself running your hand up their leg in response. So please don’t do it.

(actually, fuck it; do do it. It’s the only pleasure I get nowadays)

11. You get used to it very quickly, to the point that you’d look weird with hair.

Although the downside to this is that you’re locked into looking the same way for the rest of your life. As the majority of men never use make-up, and we can never get away with going into town wearing a wig like women can, the only thing that men can do to change the way they look is to have a haircut. That option’s not open to me any more, which is a downer. Yeah, I could grow a beard, but it it’s an obvious over-compensating manoeuvre that fools no-one. Consequently…

12. You feel the need to tell every man to do as much mad shit with their hair as possible.

Not because it’s better. Just because you can.


Anonymous said...

"…whilst being totally unaware of Point 4, and not realising that to people like me, stroking a bald scalp is foreplay."

I'm currently very attracted to a man who's bald so I'll remember this if things develop :-)

Mia said...

Wow. The 60/40 thing is so true. I love a man with or without hair. It's never been an issue with me, but for so many of my girlfriends it's a complete deal breaker.

Had no idea about the fact that scalps were so sensitive either, what wonderful news.

Nottingham's 'Mr Sex' said...

Seriously. Make one pass from the top of the forehead to the nape of the neck with the fingertips, and again - very gently - with the fingernails.

The Bad Yogi said...

Just want to say that when my wife began to lose her hair due to Chemo (she's fine now, thanks), she asked me to help her shave it off. Which I did, and it was a GBFD. But as time went on and her libido returned, it was a big turn on for both of us. So you know. And everything you said about men went double for her (seen as gay, etc.)

Her hair is now nearly to her waist.

Fi Fi said...

Very enlightening - I will certainly remember that one! And canvass opinion amongst my folically challenged male friends, just in case it's, well, just Mr Sex that gets to benefit!

For the record - definitely get it shaved as soon as it starts receeding, it's the only dignified thing to do and it knocks years off. And personally I don't have a strong preference either way, other than I'd rather no hair than gelled hair. Yeuch!

TheRose said...

Interesting post - thanks!

badgerdaddy said...

Sorry for not mentioning this sooner - you do look good with a shaved head!

I wouldn't do it myself, but that's because I have eyebrows that could play a Thunderbirds villain.

Terry said...

All very, very true for me, except numbers 1, 7, 8 and 12.

I'd been doing it in stages while I was at University, first down to a number two, then eventually before my first day at my new magazine job some two years later, a number one. So for me it was inevitable, and less harrowing than I thought it would be.

This is also partly because girls started becoming more attracted to me. I don't know why, maybe I wasn't seen as that man with the thinning hair, but instead that hot dapper skinhead. 'I bet he could take care of me', etc etc. I had loads of people tell me it suited me, especially girls.

In fact, shaving my head was probably the best thing I ever did for my self-esteem, and I've realised why; my hair, when I had it, was a fucking rubbish unruly mess of a wiry mop, and it drew girls away from my handsome face.

One of my best female friends took to stroking my head as well, and while I never had feelings for her, I most definitely would. I had to tell her in no uncertain terms that if she carried on I would have to proposition her for a damn good shagging. She didn't carry on, unfortunately.

Jules said...

I like Terry's response to friendly fondling!

Personally I've never found thinning (Which my hair definitely is) or shaving it all off (which I occasionally do) to be a big deal.

I guess that just varies from person to person. I will admit to really liking short hair on girls!

Z said...

Trick is to shave it off while you've still got a headful. Get used to it while you've got a choice.

TranceMunkey said...

I couldn't have a Travis Bickle if I wanted to (and if I could, well, I wouldn't need to shave my scalp anyway). Grade one all over for me.
Have a gorgeous female friend who occasionally likes to stroke the resulting burr but she is (of course) gay.

Col Matrix said...

I started losing my hair at 17 (Christ!) and it went pretty damn rapidly. By the age of 21/22 I was essentially faced with the inevitable task of just shaving it off.

It was the best thing I ever did. Fortunately, it suits me - I don't have a weird shaped bonce or anything that would make it look odd. Bald head, and a bit of stubble, sorted.

It was good because I finally stopped worrying about what people (especially girls) thought about my crap attempts at hiding just how thin my hair was getting. WHen you shave it off, you're making a statement I suppose - you're acknowledging that your hair is going and that you don't care that everyone knows.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, my success with girls increased loads, and these days I have a lovely 21 year old girlfriend who loves me the way I am (she's never know me with any hair at all).

Maybe some girls will flat out refuse to date a guy with no hair, but fuck'em. Their loss.