As it turns out I was born with a thick mane of thick, dark, baby hair. Growing up, I always had a full head of hair, but as it turned out, it was fine, straight and pretty much baby hair – – which is a little less cool at 22 than it is at 2. Then at about 24, no exactly 24, I had one of those ego-rattling moments when I washed my face, looked into the bathroom mirror and to my horror the bathroom light put a shine through my hairline about 4 inches back to my scalp. What…? No…? Yes… My fine baby hair was now thinning, fine baby hair. I must have stared at it for hours that weekend when I first noticed it, and then from time to time would glance back to see if I had made a mistake, or maybe it was just a bad angle. Nope. The good news is that relatively speaking the thinning has progressed very slowly, I actually like the way my hair looks (barring the random bad hair day, or bed head moment), and I’ve resolved to be one of those short-cut wispy-hair dudes as I get older.
So why the “Diary of a Middle Age Man” entry on the topic of thinning hair, if I’m so OK with it? Here’s my issue. I’m not a suave, hip individual willing to spend $100 to get my baby hair cut. No matter who cuts it, the way I like it styled, it will always look pretty much the same. Thus, I go to one of those hair-cut chains that crank out customers via a standard, mass-production process. I like the result. However, over the past ten years the first 5 minutes of my haircut is always the same. After a few idol chit-chat topics like “how are you today?” have been awkwardly navigated, I am guaranteed the question “have you tried Nioxin?” For those of you who aren’t middle-aged men with thinning hair, Nioxin is a shampoo and conditioner system with claims of improving a thinning hair problem. I tend to think of it as Rogaine without any grounded scientific proof that it actually helps do anything to restore or grow hair. For the next 5 minutes I have to (re)educate my hair-cut professional of the fact that I’m not interested in Nioxin and that I am fine with how my hair looks. I’ve even had the lady cutting my hair retort with an interesting quote such as (more realistic if you read this with a Former Eastern Block accent), “but if you don’t use Nioxin, in a few years I won’t have a customer.” I’d like to think that I could respond with something like, “if you try and lay the guilt/ego driven up-sell on me every time I come in here you don’t have to wait a couple of years to lose a customer” – but I don’t. The reality is that once they spray the water on my hair, see some scalp, think of their commission on Nioxin, they can’t resist… all of them do it. It’s my middle-age-man version of “Ground Hog Day.” I’ve resolved myself to it, will never cave, albeit I do tend to let my baby hair grow a bit out of control, because I like to extend the time period between being badgered on the topic.
My pledge to myself, my wife and my friends. No Nioxin, no comb-over, no Rogaine, no Plugs, and no wacky toupee (although tempting). I don’t mind others who do these things, if it makes them happy, I’m cool with it. It’s just not me.
Small steps add up!