My hair. It started falling out at an alarming rate when I was living in France. I was 21, with unnecessarily long locks. I thought I was rock star. For the twenty years that followed, I’ve experienced the seven stages of hair loss. Here they are – told through 80s songs.
1. "Holding Back the Years" - Simply Red
The chorus repeats, ‘I’ll keep holding on,” which is precisely what I did. I was in full-scale denial, even as the bathtub drain was sending clear and present warning signs.
2. “Look Away” – Chicago
As my hair showed signs of recession, I showed signs of shame. I walked the streets like Cersei seeking atonement on Game of Thrones. Hats and comb-overs followed.
3. “Can’t Stand Losing You” – The Police
I got mad. Really mad. My dad wasn’t bald. Neither was his dad or my grandfather on my mom’s side. I thought I was cursed. This isn’t how I envisioned my 20-something self-image.
4. “Living on a Prayer” – Bon Jovi
Okay. Desperation time. I cut my hair short (obviously it’s the weight of each strand causing follicle failure). I switched to special shampoos. Most importantly, I became an avid listener of “The Bald Truth” – a radio program the aired every Sunday night. I did all of these things in real life. It’s called logic.
5. “I Want a New Drug” – Huey Lewis
After deciding Rogaine was too messy, I got a prescription for Propecia. I popped the pill for a year or so, but when I discovered that if I ever stopped taking it, I’d lose whatever growth I had accumulated. At $40 a month, I wasn’t ready for that type of financial commitment.
6. “Don't Forget Me (When I’m Gone) – Glass Tiger
Eventually, I began to acknowledge that having a full head of hair wasn’t going to define my future identity. The white flag was raised. I replaced barbershop drop-ins with electric razor self-sessions. I purchased every attachment. I started with 3/4 of an inch and worked my way down to no attachment at all. It
7. “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” - R.E.M.
It wasn’t until I shaved my head with a straight razor for the first time that I was truly happy with how my head looked. After the shaving cream washed away – there were no weird birthmarks. No boney bumps or indentations. Just a reasonably-sized and proportional dome. I’ll always miss having hair, but I least I’m cool with the current “Man in the Mirror.”