The geek with the receding hairline. The greasy, balding business man. The egomaniac with a combover. The hot stud with the smooth head.
These are all stereotypes that our culture associates with the bald and balding. Doesn’t the description, “short, fat, and bald” render a concrete image in your mind? What about “bald and sexy?” Did you visualize Vin Diesel?
The first fallacy with bald stereotypes is that they almost always relate specifically to men despite the fact that 40% of hair loss sufferers are women. With statistics like that, you’d expect a portion of the stereotypes associated with hair loss to represent females, but they don’t.
The next fallacy has to do with polarity. In one extreme, we have the bald loser. He’s the guy who can’t get a date, lives alone, and annoys even his own friends. Think George Costanza of Seinfeld fame and you’ll get the picture. At the other extreme, we have sexy daredevils who are confident and alluring, and are often heroes. Bruce Willis epitomizes this image, even though for a good portion of his career he was wearing hair pieces. But even after he went for the full shave, women still considered him hot.
So where does this leave the rest of us regular guys with bald spots and receding hairlines? Are we destined for the pathetic fate of becoming a George Costanza or faced with the insurmountable task of emulating Bruce Willis? Not at all.
Getting locked into these stereotypes and trying to fulfill them will make us into caricatures of ourselves and posers of the pillar characters and celebrities that have helped render the stereotypes in the first place. The trick to debunking these stereotypes is pretty easy and might surprise you. Just be yourself. Wait – there’s more. Being yourself is easier said than done, especially when you’re trying to cope with the frustration and emotional devastation of hair loss. But once you realize that your hair loss is just one small part of who you are, you can begin to understand that we define our hair loss and how it affects the way we appear to others. Our hair loss does not define us.
How can we do this? By being strong, confident, fulfilling our responsibilities and obligations and pursuing our dreams. Do all this without letting hair loss trip you up and turn you into someone you aren’t and never wanted to be, and you will succeed at being true to who you are without having to resign yourself to the fate of a stereotype. Whether you shave off what hair you have left, cover up that smooth spot with a hairpiece, or enter a treatment program to arrest hair loss, make a conscious choice to dismiss and debunk the stereotypes that are associated with bald men simply by being yourself.