By Bunmi Sofola
FOR many men, baldness is an unwelcome part of the ageing process. But whether they succumb to a monk -like tonsure or a gleaming egghead, few dare admit the misery it causes. The sense that a head of hair is indicative of greater masculinity and sexual appeal is deep-rooted – an attitude the billion-dollar hair loss-remedy industry isn’t keen to dispel.
“Twelve years ago,” recalled Michael, who runs a very sophisticated hair-dressing salon on the Lagos Island, began to hate what he saw when he looked in the mirror. “The hereditary male-pattern baldness that resulted in my father losing most of his hair by the age of 28 was taking its toll and, as my hairline receded, I found it was affecting my personality as well as my appearance.” Michael’s wife Marie, who bore the brunt of her husband’s grumpiness said that “many men are unable to vocalise how upset they are.
It is usually called the Samson syndrome and baldness affects many men psychologically as well as physically and yet they don’t feel able to talk about the impact on their self-esteem. As -Jonathan began to lose his hair, he became super-sensitive about it. I tried reassuring him, saying perhaps he would just have a slightly receding hairline like his grand-dad and that would be Ok.
But I soon realised Michael was going the same way as ‘his dad – who was completely bald by the time he was in his 30s. “Nothing I said helped. I could tell he hated not having the versatility to change his hairstyle when he wanted to.
He was getting more stressed and angry. If someone made a joke about going bald, he would fly at them, which I found shocking because he wasn’t the easy-going, fun-loving of old. He became miserable and introverted, relying on hats and the native cap which I knew he loathed, whenever we went out. If someone knocked or snatched his hat off, he went crazy.
I couldn’t believe he would be like this, but I came to realise it was getting to him more than any of us knew. “And it did age him, if the truth were to be told. Not a first, but as his hair became thinner and thinner. He was proned to looking tired all the time. I still loved him, of course, but I didn’t like the effect it was having on him. He wasn’t the confident, happy man I married …” According to Michael: “The fact that I was destined to lose my hair was always the big family joke:
‘Oh, you may be a hairdresser but you’re going to end up bald like your dad,’ they used to say. When I got to 27 and I still had my own hair, I was hopeful I had beaten the curse. But in my 30s, I’d began to shed hair fast. That’s when friends and family really started to make fun and I found it quite hurtful. I tried expensive serums and even went in for a painful treatment abroad called PRP, which involves blood transfusions and rolling your scalp until it bleeds in order to stimulate hair growth, but it had no improving effect.
“People’s insensitive jokes would send me into a rage. You wouldn’t say to someone: ‘Oh, you’re getting fat’ – so why is it all right to make comments about hair loss? I hated catching sight of myself in the salon mirrors I found my ‘crop circle’ bald _patch at the back and the ‘island’ of hair at the front massively ageing. Sadly, I couldn’t embrace my hair loss. It got to me. Defeated me really. I became a serial hat wearer. I as thoroughly miserable and started to think maybe a clean shave would be a better alternative. “For months, I studied the shape of my head in the salon’s mirrors to envisage how I would look clean shaven.
The problem is you would never know until you give it a try. With all the courage I could muster, I asked one of the good hands at the salon to shave off the staccato clumps of hair I had. It was a bit of a shock when it was done but I was relieved to see I Iooked younger. Those clumps of hair sprouting out of my bald dome have gone, taking away the drunken look they always gave me. My workers were really happy for me too …
“ Marie was quite relieved that Michael’s new ‘hair do’ gave him his life back,” “These days, he looks almost as young as when we first met,” she said, “though he always looked good to me. Men don’t obsess about wrinkles the way women do, but I think they equate going bald with the ageing process – Michael did.
But it is the change in his personality rather than his looks when he decided to be clean shaven that has pleased me most. We have a wardrobe full of his hats, but he rarely wears them now. I’ve got back the confident, funny, happy man that I married.” Gentlemen of the Press? (Humour) Two boys are playing football in the park when one of them is attacked by a rottweiler. Thinking quickly, his friends rips a plank of wood from a nearby fence, forces it into the dog’s collar and twists it, breaking the dog’s neck.
All the while a newspaper reporter who was taking a stroll through the park is watching. He rushes over, introduces himself and takes out his pad and pencil to start his story for the next edition. He writes: “Manchester City fan saves friend from vicious animal”. The boy interrupts: “But I’m not a City fan.” The reporter starts again: “Manchester United fan rescues friend from horrific attack.” The boy interrupts again: “I’m not a United fan either.”
“Who do you support then?” “Liverpool,” replies the boy. So the reporter starts again: “Scouse bastard kills family pet.” No Harm Done! (Humour) This nun’s standing at a bus stop when a double-decker pulls up. As she gets on, the nun notices she’s the only passenger on the bus, so she turns to the driver and asks, “Could you do me a very special favour, Mr. Driver?” “If I can,” he replies. “Well, the thing is, I have a serious heart condition and I want to have sex for the first time before I die. “Erm, okay,” answers the driver. “There are two conditions though,” continues the nun.
“Firstly, we can’t do it if you’re married because I have to die a virgin.” The bus driver gives a nod, so they clamber upstairs and get down to it. When it’s all over, though, the driver’s racked with guilt. “I’m so sorry, sister, but I have a terrible confession – I’m married with three kids.” “Don’t fret Mr. Driver,” replies the nun sympathetically. “I have a confession too. I’m on my way to a fancy-dress party and my name is Kevin.”