Why Bald is Beautiful
Pop culture has empowered chrome-domed men
“Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair. But a confident bald man — there’s your diamond in the rough.” — Larry David
In our modern world where image is everything, and the desire to look youthful well into middle age has become an obsession, bald men should thank their lucky stars to be alive. Never has it been so good to be so bald, especially Wednesday on the little known “Be Bald and Be Free” day.
David’s legendary quips (and "Seinfeld" episodes with "balding" George Constanza) about the handicaps associated with being hairless aside, bald men in 2015 have more reasons to be confident in their appearance than any generation since Winston Churchill was defending the British isle from the Germans.
Bald is now cool. Bald is hip.
Sure, Brad Pitt may still have a dynamite head of hair and garner the attention of women of all ages. But gone are the days when a movie star like George Kennedy has to grace the screen with an elaborate comb over. We still don't know the secrets behind Donald Trump's hairdo, but chances are the real estate mogul cares more about electoral politics than any style zeitgeist.
All banter about famous bald people starts and stops with the inimitable Michael Jordan.
Social scientists and anthropologists may try to fill your head with cockamamie theories as to why it is that male-pattern baldness has survived, and now thrives, but the answer for contemporary observers is obvious and simple: Famous bald celebrities have allowed follicly challenged Americans to emerge from the shadows.
All banter about famous bald people starts and stops with the inimitable Michael Jordan. Before His Airness, most professional basketball players wore tight-fitting short-shorts and were totally cool with it. Before MJ, most of his peers thought their sneakers were little more than things they tied onto their feet.
After Jordan, everyone in America owned a pair of baggy shorts, and professional athletes regularly garner shoe deal contracts up to $200 million.
And before Jordan, most athletes let their male-pattern baldness flag fly in public. After Jordan, the skinhead shaved look took root in our national consciousness in ways that Gandhi or Yul Brenner could never imagine.
To be sure, it wasn’t Jordan alone fighting the good fight on behalf of bald guys everywhere.
The rock star stylings of R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan added credibility to the bald look from an artistic perspective in the 1980s and 90s. James Carville helped Bill Clinton win two elections looking like a Cajun Elmer Fudd. Andre Agassi radically altered his flowing locks of hair look on the tennis court as part of his career’s rebirth. Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser have dominated sports news on ESPN since 2001 as the loud-mouthed bald-headed duo hosting "Pardon the Interruption." What would "The Late Show" have been without a shiny-headed Paul Shaffer leading David Letterman's CBS Orchestra to his stage right?
The tide has shifted, and the stigma appears to be all but removed.
In Hollywood during that same time, brazenly bald actors began appearing as a formidable force to be reckoned with in films and on television. Michael Chiklis ("The Shield"), Ving Rhames ("Mission Impossible," "Pulp Fiction"), Laurence Fishburne’s “Morpheus” (The "Matrix" trilogy) and Jason Statham (every action movie since 2002) made being bald a tough guy’s armor instead of his weakness.
Blue Man Group. Pitbull. Dr. Phil. The fast and furious Vin Diesel. The Rock. Ben Bernanke. Charles Barkley. The list goes on and on.
We hear fewer and fewer bald jokes in sitcoms. We see more bald people dominating their respective industries. The tide has shifted, and the stigma appears to fading fast.
David’s dream of seeing bald men brimming with confidence roaming the countryside is now a reality.