No man dreams of going bald. Of those that do, most won't expect it to happen by the middle of their 20s.
My name is Scott Manley Hadley and I am a bald man under 30.
Yeah, that's right, laugh it up.
Sling the insults. There's none I haven't heard before.
Most people my age are out drinking cocktails, playing crazy golf and squeezing every drop out of youth before real adulthood kicks in. Yet I'm at home, crying under a florescent light as I razor the stubble from the back and sides of my scalp.
While my friends are at rockshows, on dates and living the party life fantastic, I'm comparing electric shavers on the internet and buying one with the brand name "Balding": it was aimed at me and I bought.
My hairline receded from my face until, by the age of 26, I had the same style combover as my 92 year old granddad. It was ridicule or the razor. It was balding or bald.
When I took a chair in a barbers for the very last time there were a few gorgeous locks still attached to my head. "Shave it all," I said, even though what I wanted was for someone to make it grow back.
A different man stood up from the one who'd sat down. I had become bald. I had completely changed my life.
It ain't easy, being a bald man under thirty. No one knows how to treat you. Are you old, are you young? I have a youthful face (non-smoker, moisturiser abuser), which makes my age harder to guess. When I wear a hat strangers take me for 21, especially if they're being flirty. When I'm not wearing a hat no one is ever flirty, and strangers' eyes flick between my unblemished cheeks and the absence on top of my scalp as if their brain is failing to make the connection.
I got into hats (using them as camouflage) years ago. When I had hair, I'd pull one on whenever I lacked the time or energy to construct the Trump-like structure I needed to hide my hairline; now, I wear a hat when I want people to see me as young. Because baldness is a signifier of mortality, no one wants to see a bald man in a nightclub.
A bald man on a dancefloor is as welcome as a corpse.
Now I'm a bald man, I can't go out dancing. I can go out drinking, but only to bars with other bald men in. And other bald men come up to me and say things like, "Yo, nice haircut!" like we're both voluntary members of a depressing secret society. I never join in when they do that, I don't automatically bond with other bald men, because a lot of them are smug.
"I may not have hair, but at least I've got my money/car/lover/job/suits."
Other bald men believe that material possessions and status make up for not having hair: they don't. A bald head is a repulsive thing, however fancy the suit beneath it.
No one finds a bald man attractive, not in a meaningful way.
On the rare occasions when someone seems to, there are only two possible explanations. Either they are fetishising the memory of what the bald man was when younger, or they're fetishising baldness in the same way that "amputee porn" is a thing. Any bald man who wants some lovin' has to consent to the fetishisation of his memory or the fetishisation of the injury, the illness, that destroyed the man he once was.
Every time I look in a mirror I feel disgust. My head has been naked for over a year, yet my subconscious still gives me hair in all my dreams. Lying to myself and pretending I'm still good-looking wouldn't help me at all.
It's boring, balding is boring.
And this is the heart of the matter: balding is ageing, it is a firm sign of no longer being young. It's like erectile problems or issues with vaginal wetness. Balding isn't cool or sexy, no one yearns to bald.
Losing your hair is meant to happen as the rest of your body starts its gradual shut down on the way to death, not while you still feel the urge to party. Balding is a sign that life is beginning to be over.
Balding is the worst thing that can happen to a man under thirty, because balding is the beginning of death.