In my father’s generation and further back, they were few men who shaved their heads. I can think of Yul Brynner and Telly Savalas. Beyond those rare exceptions, it wasn’t widely acceptable in regular old white-collar culture. The shaved head was viewed as an oddity, and they called those guys Q-ball. This was the golden age of the comb-over.
Then in the 90s the ubiquitous popularity of Michael Jordan made it acceptable (though still debated by poor stand-up comics) for middle America guys to shave their heads. Suddenly, if you were losing your hair, you had a better option than a comb-over. My father, a pretty conservative guy who came up in the previous generation, even got on board; opting to buzz off all of his hair rather than sport the male-pattern baldness wrap-around U cut. And I, knowing that I would lose my hair eventual, thought great, there’s an easy solution for when that happens.
But, lately I’ve noticed that young guys (mid 20s through mid 30s) that are balding are opting to not go the Jordan route. They’re largely just letting it go. No comb-overs ironic or otherwise. There’s many different hairstyles, but they all seems to communicate, “Yes, I’m losing my hair. What of it?” and sort of embracing an authentic look. Is anyone else seeing this? Has the buzzed and shaved head had its run? Now that my hairline is undoubtedly receding by the month, I find myself letting my hair grow longer. I think I could embrace my hair’s U-shaped future and ditch my old Jordan plan.