Already this week, and it is only Wednesday, remember, I have had three separate incidences of people making a comment about my “follicly challenged” head. Now, I know I’m balding, I usually shave my head so that it is truly bald, and I have a good sense of humor about these things, but a few things stood out to me about these three incidents:
- The people who made the comments barely know me and have no idea how I will receive such comments.
- I have grown my hair some, enough that it is visible all over my head (well, where I have hair). At the moment I am definitely not “bald.”
- Why is it still alright to make off the cuff remarks to bald men about something over which they have little to no control?
I am no prude. And I am anything but Politically Correct. I will not complain about their comments and I will give back as good as I get most days, as I did in each of these situations. It just seems strange to me that people I hardly know would feel it is perfectly okay to make a comment about someone’s baldness in a public arena.
With all the reasons today for a person (of any sex) to be bald, it seems like society would move away from jokes and comments about baldness.
- At least half of the black men I know have bald heads, yet I never hear a bald joke thrown their way. Why is this? It is socially acceptable for black men to shave their heads or to be naturally bald. I shave my head, but I am not black, so I get comments.
- I see many youths who have partially or fully shaved heads and they rarely get razzed for it. Do I need piercings, tattoos, and to wear my pants so that my boxer-briefs are visible to everyone in order to make my baldness acceptable?
- I have friends and coworkers suffering through the deleterious effects of chemotherapy and who are suffering through temporary baldness because of the treatments. Two of these people are women, for whom there are additional stigmas for being bald. Why are they brave for showing their baldness while I am not? It is okay to be bald for external reasons, but not for genetic ones?
- Most men (and women) lose some amount of hair as they get older. I don’t see many comments made toward the aged about their baldness. Why do I get them just because I’m younger?
Culture, age (young or old), and medical conditions are all positive reasons to be bald, yet the natural process of balding itself is somehow a negative?
If you walk around making off the cuff comments or ribald jokes about a person’s sex, race, religion, or sexual proclivity/orientation, you can be sued for various forms of harassment. Even weight has become something of a no-no to discuss in open forums, although you do still hear the occasional comment. Yet baldness is still perfectly fine for people to comment on without invitation or any real fear of reprisal. Every other naturally occurring circumstance about which I see or hear people commenting (like people of unusual heights) are usually behind the back of the person in question. I only see baldness spoken right to the “afflicted” person.
I guess it is a good thing that most of us who are balding or bald have developed thick skins and a good sense of humor about it. We’ve had to!
Maybe the next time you are with your bald friend or coworker, you will think twice about making a comment concerning the glare, the reflective quality, or the egg-like cast of his (or her) head. First, we have heard it all before—you cannot come up with a new comment no matter how hard you try. Second, no matter how much we claim we do not mind it and no matter how much we give you a comment right back, it is one more straw on top of a lifetime of other straws. Maybe this finally will be one straw too many?
In the end, I guess it doesn’t matter. Everyone knows bald people are better lovers!
(I told you we give as good as we get!)