Our regular columnist takes a look at what it’s like to be a bald-headed man in today’s world
It’s called a euphemism.
That is, a mild or indirect word of expression we substitute for one considered to be too harsh when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.
For example, when someone is lacking or deficient in some respect, we say they are vertically-challenged, instead of small, horizontally-challenged, instead of fat, and follically-challenged, instead of bald.
Whenever the term ‘challenged’ is used within a sentence, it may soften the blow somewhat, but the blow is still felt.
It is said that no one likes losing their hair, so it is understandable that every effort will be made to slow down the process before accepting the inevitable.
But it is not the end of the world. Perhaps the best way to address the criticism of being deficient in some way is to embrace it.
We do not know the precise story behind Prince William’s decision to embrace his baldness and go for a buzz-cut but it is said to have cost in the region of £180.
He is said to have been sick of being teased by his brother Prince Harry about going bald and had no problem in showing off his new haircut at a recent visit with patients at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
Of course, Prince William is not the first famous person to embrace their baldness.
In the past, the few who did, such as Yul Brenner and Telly Savalas, were exceptions to the rule and many celebrities preferred to cover up by wearing toupees or wigs.
Today baldness has become much more acceptable – even preferable – to the traditional cover-up.
Well known examples include Bruce Willis, Phil Collins, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Jason Statham, Mark Strong, Seal and Harry Hill.
A 2012 study by Albert E. Mannes, from the University of Pennsylvania, revealed that while it is acknowledged that those who are bald or shave their hair often look older and are seen as less attractive than those with hair, they’re tapping into a cultural history of close-cropped dominance – from Michael Jordan imposing his will on the basketball court to Bruce Willis saving the world on the movie screen.
His research found:
Men with shaved heads were rated as more dominant.
Men whose hair was digitally removed were perceived as more dominant, taller, and stronger than their authentic selves.
Men experiencing natural hair loss may improve their interpersonal standing by shaving.
Mannes found, ‘Instead of spending billions each year trying to reverse or cure their hair loss, the counter-intuitive prescription of this research to men experiencing male pattern baldness is to shave their heads.’
Baldies may have been the butt of many jokes in the past, but they may have the last laugh.
In other words, Prince William is not follically-challenged, he is strong, dominant and a man to be reckoned with.
Power to the baldies!