A warning to any man whose hair loss has prompted him to wear a hat when posting a photograph of himself on an online dating site: women are onto you.
That is the message in a number of recent magazine articles and a lengthy Reddit thread which describes how men who are ashamed of their thinning hair are using a technique which has been dubbed ‘hatfishing’ to try and fool members of the opposite sex into believing that everything is fine “up top”.
As well as using hats and baseball caps, hatfishers also employ such tactics as closely cropping their photographs so as not to show anything above their eyebrows. Proponents of the trend claim that men are merely doing what women do with make up and trying to make the best of what they’ve got; opponents, however, feel it to be a duplicitous attempt to conceal the truth.
Common among men
Hatfishing is thought to be especially common among men with the genetic hair loss condition male pattern baldness, mainly because so many people are affected by it – as many as 50% of men by the time they reach their 50s. While some men appear unphased by their thinning hair, especially if they feel comfortable with the shaven-headed look, for a great many more the opposite is true. However, people interviewed for an article in thecut.com say that denying potential dates the chance of seeing your real hair is just as dishonest as using an old photograph.
Interviewed for the article, a 32-year-old writer named Jean says: “I went out with a guy who wore a baseball cap on our first date. We got a coffee, so it wasn’t a super-formal setting, but then I remembered that he was wearing a hat in one of his profile photos on (the dating website) Bumble, too. After we started dating, I realised that he wore his hats all the time to hide his bald spot.”
What many men may not realise is that they can proactively deal with a receding hairline or any hair thinning caused by male pattern baldness. Hair loss treatment courses based around clinically-proven drugs are successfully used by countless men worldwide to manage this hereditary condition.
The condition can often be effectively dealt with through the use of a recommended hair loss treatment course; Male Pattern Baldness has two MHRA licensed and FDA approved medications – finasteride 1mg and minoxidil – which have been shown to stabilise existing shedding, promote hair regrowth and prevent baldness with on-going use.
These hair regimens can comprise high strength minoxidil, applied topically to the scalp where needed, to help encourage hair growth and/or the oral tablet finasteride 1mg. This is a DHT-blocker suitable for approved men aged 18 years or over; DHT, or ‘dihydrotestosterone’ to give it its full name, is the hormone which causes thinning hair around the top of the scalp and hairline in cases of genetic hairloss.
These hair loss solutions can be used on their own or simultaneously though it is always best to seek help before baldness becomes too advanced as these options are only feasible for medically-suitable individuals where the follicles are still operational. Where it is considered worthwhile, supplementary hair growth supporting products can be added in to help further stimulate the follicles and promote hair health.
Posting photographs on a dating website is seldom easy when you are not entirely thrilled with the images of yourself that you hold in your hand, and the temptation to make yourself appear more attractive can be overwhelming. American alternative tabloid the Austin Chronicle pondered the issue some time ago and came to the conclusion that online dating photos need to give people a realistic idea of what you look like now – both for their sake and your own.
It is a sentiment that is echoed by balding entrepreneur David Wheeler, who created a dating website named Settle For Love which encourages people to embrace their imperfections. Wheeler said: “Nobody is flawless or perfect. We believe being upfront from the start will not only show one’s personality, but will build happier, healthier relationships.”
It can be easier said than done, though – especially when men feel deep down that they are not as attractive without hair as when they had it. Worse still, the notion that men with hair will attract more dates than those without was proved to be true by a man named Richard King from Leeds who revealed that he received twice as much interest from women on a dating website after he posted new images of himself following a hair transplant operation.
A problem for women, too
Women with hair loss wrestle with the conundrum of how best to depict themselves on dating websites, too. Australian Michelle Law, pictured here wearing her wig, whose bald head was caused by the autoimmune disorder alopecia areata, spoke openly about her insecurities when dating in a newspaper article and explained that she always wore a wig on a first date. The inclination to look good, she said, made dating hard. “Particularly as a young woman – someone whose physical appearance is weighted above all else as her most defining and valued characteristic,” she said.
Whilst Alopecia Areata treatment can be beneficial for those with the scalp-only form of the disorder, treatment options for the more extensive phenotypes – such as that experienced by Law – tend to be less reliable.
A fellow Australian known only as Chloe confirmed that her own alopecia areata has been a serious issue whenever she goes out on first dates, too. Filmed for an episode of TLCs rather controversially-named Too Ugly For Love? series, she revealed that her hair loss had made her more awkward, self-conscious and introverted than her old, “flirty” self.
With hair so closely linked to sense of identity and also to levels of confidence, a smart thing for any woman – or man – with any kind of hair loss to do would be to seek out the help of a hair specialist to discuss which treatment options may be available and most suitable.
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.