A food-loving bald man named Tate
Slapped some slaw on his head whilst he ate
The ruse might’ve fooled
But his “slaw toupee” pooled
And he had way too much on his pate
|A bald-faced lie.
Here’s the thing: Toupees, nasty “hair-club weaves,” comb-overs, plugs, spray-on hair, and ugly wigs on men work. They work. No matter how ridiculous and silly they appear, they do the job. Seriously. No matter how badly made or improperly fitted or horribly color mismatched.
I sense some of you don’t believe me. But as a balding man who doesn’t hide the fact, I’m permitted to speak out on this subject. Hear me.
Years ago (back in the 80s, when I lived in NYC) a Manhattan street artist put up a series of posters around town. They were simply enlarged headshots of William Shatner and Burt Reynolds which the artist had realistically, painstakingly retouched (this was in the days before Photoshop, so we’re talking serious airbrush chops). The images had been expertly altered so that both actors looked exactly like they probably really did without their hairpieces. (Even back then both these guys were famous for their crappy toupees.)
So there they were in all their glory, Bill and Burt, smiling toothily at the camera and displaying realistic, late-stage, male-pattern baldness. Seeing these posters was a shock to me, and probably not for the reason the artist intended. (Maybe he or she had created the piece as a statement about the artificiality of Hollywood or deceptiveness of white men or rampant misuse of yak hair or something. Dunno.) I vividly remember stopping at a street-corner and staring, hypnotized by these twin photos which had been taped to a lamppost.
Balding James T. Kirk and balding J.J. McClure.
Both stars looked a good deal older, less virile, less sexy, and, frankly, quite a bit less handsome. It was then I realized (and I had a lush mop of 20-something hair back then) that toupees, no matter how badly made, really work. They do! Meaning, you can look across the room and spy a handsome, virile, sexy, youngish-looking guy with a toupee and think, “If only he’d take off that silly, ugly, dead-squirrel thingy squatting on his head! Why would a cute guy wear such a hideous rug?? Why not just go natural??” But in most cases if that very same fellow actually did take off that unrealistic, ridiculous hairpiece, he’d look like a slightly less handsome, not-quite-so-virile, not-quite-as-sexy, and – yes – much older dude. Sure he also might appear way more natural, genuine, and authentic, and far less vain and affected… but still, in truth, he’d look a bit less attractive, too.
It’s like some kind of bizarre magic trick.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are supermodel and/or super-charasmatic guys like Sean Connery, LL Cool J, and Patrick Stewart who’d look gorgeous with or without a Chia pet stapled to their forehead. But they’re the exceptions. (And, incidentally, there’s definitely something to be said for a totally shaven head vs. a partially balding one.)
My point is: even though I’m slowly balding myself and have never gone the toupee/wig/hair-plug route (and probably never will)… I get it.
I totally get it.
|I’ll have heck toupee
I recently donned a cheap Halloween-store wig for a comedy skit and was shocked when I looked in the mirror. I looked silly as hell. A total goofball. A dork with jet-black, plastic-looking, wacky Ken-doll-hair balanced awkwardly on my head. But I also looked, somehow, just a bit more handsome, more virile, and younger. (Sigh.)
Maybe I should get myself a toupee, but one I’d only wear on special occasions. You know, kinda like that nice suit you only put on for weddings and funerals.
Nah. I’ll probably never go the artificial hair route (partly just out of laziness), but, on a side note, I do notice that the balder I get… the more I find myself fascinated by hats.