AFTER THIS EXPERIENCE WITH NONSURGICAL HAIR SYSTEMS, I LEARNED THAT MY (BALD) HEAD’S IN A DIFFERENT PLACE.
In Parts 1 and 2 of this article, I spent time writing about how I felt, both physically and emotionally, wearing a hair system for five weeks. The hair system and service were provided by MHN Studio of New York. During that time I was part of a special brotherhood and therefore felt that I could talk on a new level with others who have firsthand knowledge of “rugging,” as one of them puts it.
Steve and Marvin are two of these people. Steve’s hair loss is what people typically think of when they speak of a bald man. Steve has a ring of hair around the edge of his scalp but a dome that is hair free. He started losing his hair in his mid-20s, and once it started, it went quickly. He’s been “in and out of hair therapy,” as he puts it, for years. He’s tried various hair growth treatments, and has been a “hair system jockey” several times. Presently, Steve is happy with a system that he started wearing about eight months ago; before that he had gone “topless” for about two years.
Hair systems: The so-called “attraction issue”
Marvin is a “bald in back” guy. His hairless crown isn’t noticeable from the front, which makes the view from the back “a big surprise to a lot of women,” he says. “They act like I’ve gone from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde when I haven’t changed at all. They just are too shallow to deal with a little skin on my head.” Tired of this kind of reaction, he started wearing hair three years ago and is generally pleased. “I’d rather be natural,” he says, “but I also want companionship. I keep waiting for a woman who doesn’t get cold feet when I tell her I wear hair; so far that hasn’t happened.”
“You’re married,” Steve said to me, “so you don’t have to deal with the same kind of issues single guys do. A wife may not be happy if her husband is losing hair, but she’s not likely to leave you over it. And if her husband decides to ‘carry hair,’ she’s probably going to be happy about it — she may even have had a lot to do with persuading him to do that. Even if she has reservations, if she’s worried that people will be able to tell that her man has a hairpiece and how that will make her feel, she’s still not going to leave him over that.”
“Also,” Marvin adds, “you don’t have to worry about a hair accident with your wife. I mean, I know hair systems are pretty secure, but they do come loose sometimes. If an end starts coming unglued in front of your wife, you can laugh about it. If you’re with someone who doesn’t even know that your hair isn’t all your own, it can be incredibly embarrassing.”
“Every guy who has worn hair worries about that in the beginning,” Steve confirms. “And every guy also secretly wishes that he could one night be with a woman who is so consumed by passion that she pulls his hairpiece off — and then keeps right on going, not giving a damn that he’s bald.
“Or maybe that’s just my secret wish!”
Hair systems restore appearance and confidence
Steve is actually pretty open about his hair wearing. “Look, I’m really bald,” he says. “When I show up at work one day with a full head of hair, everyone there clearly knows it’s not mine. We joke about it, but the truth is that I go through periods when I really need to put my baldness in a closet. During those periods, wearing hair makes me feel good; it gives me confidence, and it helps me know I can close the deals I need to close. Most of my work is done on the phone, so the people I’m selling to can’t see me; but I know how different it makes me feel. It’s a game, a charade, but it’s one that I need and that works for me.”
Marvin has a different slant. “It’s mostly not for me,” he says. “Sure, it adds a little something extra psychologically, but not that much. As far as work and stuff go, I’d get along pretty much the same without it. But I did find that without the system I was having a hard time attracting women, even though I’m a pretty good-looking guy.
So now Marvin’s problem isn’t attracting women — it’s keeping them. “One woman stuck around for a couple of weeks after I revealed my big secret,” he says. “The others either broke it off right away or just stopped returning my calls.
“It’s a dilemma. I might decide to stop wearing hair soon, because what’s the point in meeting women who like me with hair but don’t have an interest in me as I really am?”
Marvin’s situation is one many bald men can identify with. There’s no easy answer, but finding the look that you feel comfortable with and that gives you the most confidence is the best way to start.