Thursday, June 29, 2006

Oh Holy Fuck, I'm Losing My Hair!

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Though this oath of despair has been reverberating throughout the eons since man started caring about his appearance, I didn't really think I would someday be uttering it myself. But here it is, gentlemen, a thinning spot on the top of my skull. A blighted forest that, within the next few years, would open like the wrathful eye of God.

I suppose the fact that my father started losing his hair during his mid-twenties should have prepared me for the inevitability of my own introduction to the wonderful world of alopecia. But I chose to be blind. Blind to my genetic history. Blind to the sheer volume of hair my wife finds every morning on the bathroom floor. I remember a conversation that went thus:

WIFE: I think you're starting to lose your hair, o divine master.
SQUID: Of course not.
WIFE: You're shedding an awful amount of it, o light of the world.
SQUID: Tush. Nothing of the sort. I have long hair that's why it appears I'm shedding a lot more strands than what an average person loses each day.
WIFE: But it's clogging the bathroom drain, o celestial prince.
SQUID: Hardly. Now go back to the kitchen, woman, and prepare my dinner.
WIFE: Yes, o god of fuck.

While this conversation isn't verbatim, it is more or less accurate enough for the point of this story. Needless to say, I was in denial. When I finally agreed to let my wife take a picture of my cranium, I could deny it no longer. Male-pattern baldness had indeed raised its ugly, ah, head. Faced with imminent cranial deforestation, I sought the hard facts of my plight: 1)Sixty-six percent of men are genetically predisposed to male-pattern baldness. 2) Men genetically predisposed to male-pattern baldness start losing their hair between the ages of twelve and forty. 3) The trigger for this type of baldness is a powerful sex hormone called DHT, which causes follicular miniaturization. 4) Oh holy fuck I'm losing my hair!

What in the accursed names of all my chrome-skulled forefathers am I to do? I who have had long, glorious, envy-of-women hair my whole adult life am now faced with a genetic curse that proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the universe neither likes me nor cares about my happiness. While I must admit that I did toy with the idea of grabbing a high-powered rifle and sniping random strangers on the street to diffuse my anger and frustration, I instead made a short list of my options.


Hide the Motherfucker

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One common method of handling hair loss that I can try is to conceal it with a comb-over. This hairstyle involves me parting my remaining hair on the side to cover the bald or thinning spot. The main problem with this method is that it's only temporary because the balding area will increase in size as the years go by, eventually making me look like Homer Simpson. Or, God forbid, Donald Trump.

Imagine I could also buy a hairpiece. Then again, no. If I wanted to feel like a loser I'd ask the Atrocities of Friendster to add me up on their accounts.


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Perhaps I can turn to drugs for my salvation. There are a lot of available hair loss treatment medicine out there. The problem is, most of them are expensive, only partially effective, or have undesirable side effects. Immunosuppresants applied to the scalp, for instance, are known to temporarily reverse hair loss. This would be great if only this treatment isn't potentially lethal. The anti-androgen flutamide, on the other hand, wouldn't kill me if I went for it. It'll only make me grow man tits.


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Now, surgery. Nothing sounds more permanent. If I go for this they would take small patches of scalp from the back of my head and plant them on the balding spot. Never mind that this would cost me an arm and a leg and would result in what looks like doll hair.

Another option is self-castration. Eunuchs are known for retaining a full head of hair their entire lives since the lack of testicles naturally makes them DHT-free.

There is a new method currently in the experimental stage, though. Hair cloning. What they would do is extract self-replenishing follicle stem cells, multiply them in a lab, and inject them into my scalp. There is even news that these follicle stem cells would simply signal the surrounding follicles to rejuvenate and rise forth like an undead horde. This sounds promising. Oh, did I mention that stem cells are extracted from the bodies of unborn babes? What, you think they grow on trees?

Embrace the Hairlessness

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Of course, I can always shave my head and rejoice in the freedom that comes with an aerodynamic noggin. Such acceptance of the inescapable can be the, ah, crown of a man's maturity. Admittedly, this sounds like the most promising (and least expensive) of my prospects.


I was about to end this article with that last option when a doctor friend of mine called me up regarding my dilemma. We've been buds since college and he knows I frequently go about with my hair in a pony tail (keep your smart comments to yourself, why don't you?). The conversation went like this:

DOCTOR FRIEND: Your problem is that you may have what is known as traction alopecia. That is, baldness caused by the trauma of always having your hair in a tight ponytail. The fact that that the corners of your hairline aren't receding supports this suspicion. Most cases of male-pattern baldness follow the M-pattern hairline. If this is the case, all you have to do is not tie your hair and it'll grow back. Now, I'm not saying that you'll have your hair forever, though. You might really be predisposed to the genetic curse although it hasn't kicked in yet.
SQUID: Are you saying I won't get to kill babies to extract their stem cells?

My doctor friend hung up.

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