"Bald is hot," an article in the New York Times recently announced. We bald guys hear this kind of hype all the time, "Bald is cool, bald is beautiful" -- but only from people who are not bald. It's well-meaning and is usually followed up with examples of good looking bald guys like Bruce Willis, Michael Chikless, Michael Jordan, or if you're older, Yul Brynner. These men are not bald -- well, I mean, they are bald -- but they are actually covering it up by taking it all off, which puts them in a completely different category called "shave-head," which is all-scalp-all-the-time, which makes it an elective, not a genetic imperative and just doesn't look good on everyone. It is not bald. Bald is a guy who's taller than his hair, whose shiny pate shines above his hair-fringe -- the fringe being the defining component of bald much like a bare mountain top rises above its own oxygen-starved timberline. Looks impressive if you're Mt. Everest, not so much if you're Burt Reynolds.
Let's own up to it, as a predominantly Judeo-Christian society, we have an imbedded bias against bald. Nooo? Have you looked at the Bible lately and the story of Sampson? The guy went from winner-to-wimp, lost everything including the girl, because he lost his power-hair.
Anyone in Da Vinci's The Last Supper feature a slaphead? No.
You know any Greek or Roman gods with fringe? From Ulysses to Superman to the Incredibles, can you name any bare-pated superheroes?
How many young girls do you know grow up dreaming of a fringe-worthy Mr. Right?
"Bald men are more 'virile'," that's another one we hear. There's absolutely no biological evidence and it raises all sorts of false expectations in both sexes.
How many denuded presidents have we elected since the 20th century? One. Eisenhower. And that's because there was no choice. His opponent, Adlai Stevenson, was also bald and he was derided as an "egg-head." Yes Gerald Ford was fringe-worthy, but he wasn't elected. So Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson, forget about it.
Please understand, there is no comfort when people tell us that centuries from now highly evolved humans will be hairless. This only helps if you're planning to be immortal.
You see our position here? Stark-scalps enter the mating marketplace with a perceived physical deficit. Hairpieces are too obvious. Shaving it all off just doesn't work for all heads. So we genuine fringe-worthy guys need to figure out -- if not beautiful, what are we?
How about this: Bald looks wise and all-knowing. It's Buddha, Freud, Capt. Picard, Mr. Miyagi and Yoda. Bald looks better coming out of a pool or shower. Bald means we don't have to spend a lot of time and money on expensive hair stylists.
Bald tends to be taken more seriously, more substantially. When Sean Connery stopped doing the rug-bearing James Bond role and started doing fringe-only parts, he became an esteemed actor. Bald is loveable and generous -- right Santa? Bald is smart, which is why the term "egg-heads" came about. I don't think I've ever seen actor Ed Harris wear a rug and he never plays dolts. Bald is powerful like the enduring Mr. Clean. Any man who can get rid of dirt and grime in just a minute is some sort of potent.
Wow, it all sounds so impressive, doesn't it? Maybe we're on to something here. If you sum up all these characteristics, bald is really quite special, kind of wonderful, perhaps even terrific? And maybe, just maybe, if we say it enough times, we may actually get to believe it.