In my late 30’s when I first noticed my hair thinning, I wasn’t prepared to admit defeat. I chose to chase after the remedies on the market that claimed to restore hair.
The sad reality was that I could not fight with Mother Nature as male pattern baldness ran like sap through one side of the family tree.
It was after I turned 40 that I became more accepting of the situation, although you could say that I didn’t really have much choice. All of the haircuts that I tried seemed to look a little off-balance in one way or another, which drove the Type A part of me a little crazy.
One day, I saw a picture of a young man with a shaved head, whose facial features and head shape looked a lot like mine. The shaved head was a very flattering look for this guy. I would even say that he looked pretty cool, which opened the door for me to gradually cut back my hair and then to try my first clipper cut.
Once I started in the clipper zone and went progressively shorter and shorter, I grew to like it more and more.
To me, this was an extremely freeing experience. With a low-maintenance haircut, I reclaimed so much time in the morning, I was able to sleep more plus I saved money on hair product and trips to the hair stylist.
Now, in retirement, I appreciate it even more, in terms of saving time and energy for more important activities, especially my writing.
But I realize now that I also saved myself a lot of energy in the form of worrying. How much energy did I waste worrying about hair? It is a little obscene when I think about it:
Here is a snapshot of 25 recurring worries I had about hair… back when I had hair:
1 – Gender mix-up worry: Back in the 80’s, when hair was big (even for men) my retail customers often called me “Miss.” Was it something about my hairstyle?
2 – Flight risk worry: I often feared that a trusted hairstylist of many years (who understood my hair’s strange and inconsistent growing patterns) would ever quit or move out of town.
3 – New stylist worry: I stressed about having to audition hairstylists to find one who could understand the way my hair grew and to style it in a way that wouldn’t have me looking like Medusa in the weeks that followed.
4 – Backseat driver worry: I was panic stricken when a new hairstylist would swivel my chair away from the mirror and not let me see what they were doing.
5 – Career worry: “Is my hair too long/too trendy for a professional environment?”
6 – Career worry #2: “Will my hairstyle undermine my professional credibility or chances for advancement?”
7 – Winter worry: “Will my hairstyle withstand wearing a tuque on a cold winter day without looking too flat?”
8 – Winter solution worry: Despite their being out of fashion at the time, “Will I be able to find ear muffs that won’t crush my voluminous hairstyle on cold winter days.”
9 – Quick repair worry: “Should I bring product/appliances to work for quick hair touch-ups (without looking too obsessed about my hair)?”
10 – Daily time management worry: Depending on my hair’s length at the time, waking up early enough to have enough time to wash and style it, every day.
11 – Another work day worry: “Will my hairstyle hold perfectly still until I get to the important meeting/the job interview/my presentation?”
12 – Weekend worry: “If the time it takes to get ready to run an errand is longer than it would take to run the errand itself, is there a problem?”
13 – Weekend worry #2: Flipping a coin to decide whether to put on a ball cap (even though I was not a “hat person” back in the day) to run a quick errand.
14 – Worry after a weekend nap, “Is the hairstyle fixable or should I shower and start over?”
15 – Daily worry: “Am I washing my hair too frequently?”
16 – Bi-weekly worry: The time spent on deep conditioning treatments, to offset washing too frequently.
17 – Summer worry: “Will my hair (and product) withstand today’s humid weather?”
18 – Commuting worry: “Will my hair (and product) withstand the heat and humidity of a crowded bus?”
19 – Shopping worry: “Does this hair product smell too ‘perfumy’ for a guy?”
20 – Boredom worry: “Is it time to change my hairstyle?”
21 – Trendy but not-for-me worry: The concern of trying a new style that appeals, but just won’t fall into place given my hair’s weird growing patterns.
22 – “Trying to be trendy” worry: Should I try highlights?
23 – Buyer’s remorse worry: After getting highlights, “Why are my highlights turning brassy? Do I need another product to prevent that from happening?”
24 – Retail worry: The frustration when a favourite hair product was discontinued.
25 – The worry about how a hairstyle will survive the test of time, when saved for posterity in photographs.
I don’t think anyone can dispute that a good head of hair can indeed be a great confidence booster.
But when looking back, in the grand scheme of things, how important was my ideal of hair “perfection”, really? Was it really worth the brushes with anxiety I seemed to create for myself?
At the end of the day, I realize that no one really cared about my hair more than I did, and I don’t think anyone rejected me as a person for a bad hair day.
In retrospect, I expended so much time, energy and money on hair care products, today I think it is a little ridiculous.
Just the same, I did have fun switching things up over the years and I cannot say I didn’t seize the opportunity to play… when I had hair.
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Have a great day,