At about 24 years old, I became inspired to grow a pompadour. They seemed so sophisticated and mysterious as if the pompadour knew a secret I was dying to know. Only one hang up, my thinning hair showed my scalp when the hair was lifted from the front. Then, I felt the top of my head sweat when I ate spicy food and soon realized that I was sweating from a tiny bald spot on the top. I began panicking about what I would do if I became bald. Oh my god! How can I become bald when baldness doesn’t run in my family? Not only that, but I also have a hairy back! Arghhh! Why was I the only one out of my brothers to be balding and have hair everywhere except my head? Poor me, or so I thought.
I fought like mad trying to prevent this balding. I tried speaking to my hair to make it grow, I consulted laser hair technicians, I used hair growth formula, and I even considered getting an operation done here in South Korea—a couple of my shaved-head buddies talked me out of it and recommended I just buzz it off. They raved how refreshing it felt to be bald and how they never had to worry about having a bad hair day, or spending too much time styling their hair. I ignored the something in me saying they were right because I didn’t want to be just another short, bald, and hairy man. I knew that perception creates reality, but I didn’t understand that this perception of myself was breathing life into it.
When I used to work at Starbucks, I remember the girl baristas who would just hammer this regular who used to come in. He was good looking, but the girls always commented on how short and on how bald he was. It made me feel sorry for him and angry at the girls who couldn’t stop putting him down for something he had no control over. I also remember hearing girls and guys speak this way to hairy men, especially when their back hair floated in the gym Jacuzzi. These experiences made me fearful of becoming the hairy-bald man that so many people seemed to hate.
As a result of listening to these people, I’ve also come to hate those parts of me that I had no control over. Sure, I could lose weight, work on my personality and attitude, but I could never grow more or stop my hair from falling out… I tried to do those things though. I bought this growing manual where I had to take all these vitamins and do certain stretches. After the second day of all that nonsense, I told myself if a girl wanted height over character she could marry a ladder, and I overcame my height issue. Baldness was a little trickier because I also thought bald men were uglier than men with hair. This belief was social programming from decades of seeing the bald man nearly always portrayed as the villain, clown, or ugly dude. I feel society is slowing overriding this program of the funny, fat, bald man with the ripped, tough, bald man, which is still unsustainable in my view but a little bit manageable for us balding and thinning brothers.
I like that macho aspect of conquering anything through sheer physical force. It gives me this feeling of power that validates my existence on one plane of being. However, I also have this nurturing aspect to me as well that makes me want to support other people by being a source of mental stimulation through positive thought vibrations. This gives me this feeling of love that also validates my existence on several planes of being: mental, spiritual, and universal.
The problem with the tough bald man persona is that it does two things: First, it implies that only men can be a tough bald human and it excludes all our tough, bald sisters. Second, it makes men believe that “toughness” is doing a thousand pushups or shaving your face with a knife or any other sort of inane concept that jeopardizes men safety for macho bravado. On the flip side, if doing a thousand pushups or shaving with a knife is your form of expression then go to it, but believing it is every man’s physical expression is irresponsible and destructive thinking that lends vulnerable men in prison as they seek validation from destructive role models. Plus, physical toughness is only a support for mental toughness. No matter how big your biceps are if your mind becomes a victim to your opponent’s intimidation then you lose. No matter how beautiful society dubs you, if you’re not emotionally secure with yourself to handle your woman’s male-friendships then she’ll leave you for being too draining on her psyche, and vice versa.
I would love to have a pompadour, but I became inspired for it too late in the game and now my hair can’t physically support that style. Me still trying to achieve this pompadour regardless of what my body tells me is possible at the moment causes misery, which is the root of all attachment. Detachment is being happy, or being in a state of ease, with or without the pompadour, and for some of us, we must learn to be happy for all the people in the world who can sport this groovy style while we sport our own bodacious style that is sustainable for our bodies. For me, enjoying your circumstances is the only form of acceptance I recognize because if you can’t enjoy what you were, are, and will be then how can you ever be in a state of bliss while you secretly wish you had someone else’s life? This type of thinking causes grief and leads people away from seeing the beautiful sides of them; can the Sun see the sunrise or sunset it casts over Earth? Sometimes it requires inner reflection to realize the beautiful sunrises and sunsets you cast over other people, and one form of inner reflection is acceptance of the physical you.
Shave heads are not sexy because a few action-hero actors have them. They are sexy because of the honest character it takes to buzz off decades of history and move forward with the evolving you.