Sorry guys, I really should’ve thought about this sooner

IMG_1846 - Donald Faison

IMG_1846 – Donald Faison (Photo credit: Anime Nut)

Stanley Tucci

Stanley Tucci (Photo credit: nick step)

I have a confession to make.

Until recently I’d never given much thought to what it must be like for a guy to go bald. I suppose it’s not entirely unusual as I’ve never been a man, I’ll never have the equipment to be a man and in spite of all the trouble this female body has caused I’ve decided to carry on living in it.

 

Many of my male friends have lost their hair, some at a very early age, but I never stopped to think how it might have affected them.  Now I realise it probably did affect them, it no doubt knocked their confidence and changed the way they thought about themselves – at least for a while.  Most of them didn’t talk about it and I guess that’s because we still have some old-fashioned ideas about what ‘real men’ are like, what they talk about and which emotions they’re ‘allowed’ to express.

I wish all that nonsense about being strong, silent, macho, tough, etc, etc, etc, could be banished because the guys I know have the full suite of emotions, they’re eloquent and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to express whatever is on their mind without worrying whether or not its the ‘manly’ thing to do.  I don’t care about manliness, I think its healthy to articulate thoughts and feelings  rather than keeping them locked up inside.  The act of saying what we think or feel  goes along way towards building meaningful relationships, it helps us understand (and appreciate) each other a whole lot more and it facilitates the elimination of ignorance and misconceptions.

Even though guys can look good with shorn heads or no hair at all (think Stanley Tucci or Donald Faison) I imagine the process of losing their hair and knowing it will not regrow is pretty traumatic.  Wayne Rooney said as much when talking about the reasons behind his hair transplant and James Nesbitt commented that his second transplant had changed his life and future career prospects.

Having now experienced losing my hair, all of it, I have a much better understanding of the emotions that go along with it. I know the ‘what the heck happened’ feeling when it looks like a horde of hungry moths descended during the night and chomped big patches at random.   I know what its like to look in the mirror only to find a complete stranger looking back. These aren’t feelings that fill you with confidence, high self-esteem or super-hero strength. The whole thing takes a lot of getting used to even for someone like me who can get to the ah, Fec-it! place quite quickly. Even when you know the hair loss is temporary and the big C is presenting a whole range of other interesting topics to exercise the mind…

I’ve always known that contrary to common folklore, guys can have insecurities, crises of confidence and emotional wobbles; it’s never bothered me because we’re all human and these are natural reactions to some of the curve balls life throws at us.  I suspect hair loss, especially for guys of a young age, is a pretty traumatic experience.  If you can’t talk about it because society says that’s not manly it must be quite isolating too. From 2013 onwards I for one will be less ignorant and much more empathetic to the challenges hair loss presents for my male compatriots.

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7 thoughts on “Sorry guys, I really should’ve thought about this sooner

  1. When I started losing my hair, my boss – who is mostly bald, told me about his experience as a young man losing the hair. I’ll always be grateful to him for relating his experience and sharing those emotions. You’ve brought up a very interesting side to the hair-loss discussion! ~Catherine

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  2. Bald is beautiful, embrace it. And enjoy it. Think of all the time you save not doing it and the money saved on hair care products. You can try a color wig you would never try before! Hair is overrated and is not what makes a person. I was sad at first when I lost mine but the positive was when I had hot flashes from the chemo it was great. Be strong and be well. If you need a laugh see the pics on my blog of me shaving my head. Xo

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  3. I am not completely bald, but my hair has most certainly thinned and thinned quite noticeably from when I was younger. I’m in my late 40’s and keep my hair cut using a #1 clipper (0 would be virtually bald) and I wouldn’t have it any other way. For one thing it is really easy to take care of. Wash it, towel dry it and I’m off. I’ve told my kids if the rest of my hair falls out don’t expect me to get implants, cover it with a toupee or anything of that nature because it is not going to happen. When its gone…its gone. I do suppose however, that losing it young would have been different and I certainly don’t envy your loss of hair due to cancer. I’m very sorry about that. I guess what I’m saying is that I haven’t found hair loss to be something that I have ever focused on or found terribly important, but I’m sure that others would strongly disagree. Be well Tracy and by the way I really enjoy your writing.

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  4. Hi Tracy,
    I have 6 sons, 5 started balding before they were 30. They were not happy. But they are blessed with good health, so really this is minor compaired with having cancer.
    Wishing you well,
    Denise

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