In what may well be one of the most insensitive letters ever sent in to an agony aunt, a woman in the US has detailed her revulsion at the hair loss her boyfriend has endured over the past two years.
Turned Off In Cincinnati’s missive to the Chicago Sun Times’ Dear Abby column begins: “My physical attraction to my boyfriend has significantly diminished due to his baldness. I know this may seem shallow, but I have lost all interest in intimate contact with him. When I look at his bald head or he rests his head on my shoulder, it literally makes my stomach lurch!”
The correspondent goes on to explain that her other half tries to conceal his male pattern baldness “by doing the flip-over thing with his side hair” and she says that while she still has feelings for him, she doesn’t know how to get past this. “It would be an awful reason to leave him, yet I can’t stand looking at his head,” she sums up.
Shaven head a solution?
We applaud Abby for resisting the temptation to respond that the letter writer is clearly the one with the problem. Instead, she thoughtfully suggests that perhaps her boyfriend could shave his head like Vin Diesel if it is his comb-over that is the problem. “However,” she adds, “if you truly can’t handle the fact that his locks have flown, then do him – and yourself – a favour and turn him loose so he can find a lady who appreciates him for what’s going on UNDER his scalp rather than over it.”
A haircut is certainly not the type of ‘cut’ we would be making in this scenario… How a man deals with the incredibly sensitive of hair loss is his own decision. When thinning hair starts to develop or the first signs of a receding hairline become noticeable, it can be an unnerving time which often has a negative effect on a man’s self-confidence. In fact, the shocking emotional toll that male pattern baldness can take was recently revealed following research. Having a partner who is not only unsupportive but also actively draws attention to this insecurity and punishes a man for what is basically just his genetics, can only compound the problem.
Abby’s are wise words indeed, for while almost all men would rather not find themselves in a position where they are losing their hair, to suggest that all balding men are unattractive is ridiculous. In fact, in one study in which 52% of men said they thought that women would agree that bald men are generally unattractive, only 40% of women polled actually said that.
Study results have varied when it comes to how attractive bald – or balding – men are, and one rather damning experiment in 1988 found that when art students sketched a bald man he was rated as looking aged 52 and only 42 when drawn with a full head of hair. In a 2012 poll, however, men who chose to shave their heads were perceived by respondents as being more masculine and even taller and physically stronger than those with a full head of hair. Men with thinning hair were viewed in that poll as being the least attractive – and perhaps add more fuel to the idea that comb-overs are not a great idea.
While not every man is comfortable with a close-cropped look, it is a proven way of disguising male pattern baldness, especially when the hair is shaved right down to the scalp, and is one way for balding men to regain a degree of control over their looks. Whether or not it will provide an answer to the question “Am I still attractive with a bald head?” depends on multiple factors – including general levels of self-esteem and the shape of the head, which is obviously something no one can do anything about.
However, there is no doubt that going bald is a major fear for most men, and in one recent poll 30% of men said they thought about losing their hair at least once a day. A survey by Belgravia found that 78% of men would rather keep their hair than have a Ferrari. Worries may be unfounded, however: in one rather cruel experiment which took Strictly Come Dancing star James Jordan by surprise, his wife Ola was asked on Loose Women if she thought less of him now that he was thinning on top. Wired up to a lie detector, Ola answered “no” without any hesitation, and – luckily – was deemed to be telling the truth.
Male pattern baldness is so prevalent that around 30% of 30-year-old men are affected by it; a figure that increases to 50% when men hit their 50s. And yet despite this, it can seriously dent a man’s confidence.
Fortunately, male pattern hair loss treatment is well established and by making use of either or both of the only two clinically-proven drugs licensed by the MHRA and approved by the FDA for this purpose, the thinning hair that genetic shedding causes may be tackled head-on. Finasteride 1mg comes in a one-a-day pill form and is taken to inhibit formation of a testosterone by-product named DHT, which ultimately causes hair to fall out in men who are genetically sensitive to it.
Additionally, recommended formulations of high strength minoxidil can be used by applying the solution directly to the scalp, where needed, in order to promote hair growth and prevent further hair loss.
To further bolster a man’s hair loss arsenal, these medications can also be used alongside products known as hair growth supporting products which range from FDA-cleared, home-use low level laser therapy devices to highly targeted food supplements.
In short, men have a choice when it comes to hair loss – but it must be their choice. Trying to mask it with a comb-over is probably not to be recommended in most cases as it draws the eye to the thinning, but shaving off the hair or seeking out specialist help to try and regrow it can enable a man to regain much of his mojo. What is vital is that anyone experiencing hair loss is not judged or belittled in any way for their choice as to how they deal with their baldness, and certainly not simply for the fact that their genetics meant they developed thinning hair in the first place. Of course her partner may not give two hoots that he is losing his hair, in which case more power to him. Baldness is something that suits some men, both mentally and physically, with classic examples being ex-footballer Gianluca Vialli and Hollywood superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who arguably look better without hair – but that is not the case for everyone.
With women actually being more prone to hairloss than men, we hope that ‘Turned Off In Cincinnati’ doesn’t find her partner – if they are still together – as unkind should she find herself in a similar situation.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.