It has finally happened. I have come to the point that denial no longer serves me. That the evidence before my eyes is stronger that the delusion of my mind. Still in denial regarding my declining eyesight, I concede that my hairline is receding. I am a full-fledged member of the male pattern baldness club. In a world full of problems, I understand that a middle aged man being distraught about going bald is trivial. I get that… however, I am not writing this article to save the world, simply to give you a black man’s perspective on stuff that pertains to hair. This article is an opportunity to get a peek at one particular way we men think about things. I don’t claim to speak for every man, just giving you another part of the puzzle. You know that your man is capable of asking deeper question than wondering what is for dinner.
You watch him sleep and you can see that he is always wrestling with something. For most of us, holding things inside is our nature. Men are intrinsically simple; we just have a lot of complexity and craziness that we hold inside.
Science tells us that male pattern baldness is passed on from our mothers. If I had tried to explain that to my mom, God rest her soul, she would laugh at me and tell me to get out of her face with that foolishness. She would tell me that all of the short comings of me and my siblings were inherited from my dad… so I’m going with that theory. When I confronted my dad about his recklessly passing the baldness gene on to me, he laughed, shrugged his shoulders and says, “Welcome to my world”. Somehow, I think there is a double entendre in there somewhere. Anyway, my dad resorts to his favorite tact with all his children. He reminds me of something he shared with me a long time ago, kind of a side-handed “I told you so”. He says, “Son, I told you that life is rough, and you will get beaten up with an ugly stick, but that’s ok because it’s what you are on the inside that counts.”
From the time we are young, boys are taught by society to deal with our fears and concerns internally. We are taught that no one wants to hear your problems… fix them and get on with life. However, there are many things that cannot be “fixed”. We age, hair turns grey, hair falls out, eyes grow dim… all those things that we took for granted in our youth, are now upon us, and like all of our problems, we will work it out on our own.
In a world that is unequal, where jobs are scarce and opportunity is far reaching, sometimes the only thing you have to hang your hat on is your youth and vitality. Watching it flee from you is not easy for the most successful of men, imagine how it affects the average Joe. In this Black History Month, we can remember that our forefathers and uncles who struggled thru life since we came to this country; hardly had the luxury that I do… to ruminate about something as trivial as losing my hair.
I think I have been in denial for about 15 years, and my denial has sullied many a decent barber’s reputation. To them, I apologize. I think I have made it clear that we men place much more value on our hair than we are willing to admit publicly. However, as time goes by, you body gets weaker, and you learn to depend more on your mind… I guess it is called maturity.
I can only hope that the two most important women in my life, my wife and my daughter, can look past my physical imperfection, and continue to see me as me. I forgive my dad for recklessly passing on these undesirable genes, and I thank him for teaching me… that what you are on the inside is what matters most.