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The male baldness industrial complex Capitalism is exploiting man's deepest fears

(Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

(Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)


January 30, 2024   7 mins

Shakespeare had it wrong: uneasy is the head that wears no crown. Because from Samson onwards, men have feared losing their hair. It’s something to do with ageing perhaps, a sense of retreat or fading virility — though for decades a comforting myth persisted that bald men actually had an excess of testosterone. But there’s no way of spinning it: the condition still inspires a visceral reaction. Just compare thumb-headed Prince William with golden, wavy Prince Wills.

Lifelong sufferers report dysphoric levels of internal torment. Christopher, now 62, started shedding when he was 28. “I was so proud of my thick hair, but it just got thinner and thinner,” he says. “It changes your image of yourself fundamentally, at least it did for me. Because my hair was so thick I never thought it would, and then I just thought, ‘Oh fucking hell. I’m going to be one of those bald guys.’ I’m not exaggerating — it robbed life of any pleasure. Just looking in the mirror became a torture. And I already drank a lot, and I started drinking really heavily after that. My drinking took on a really dark turn after the hair loss — it just poisoned everything.”

Christopher had five hair transplants over a couple of decades, and the final one “took” completely, leaving him with a full head of hair. But he tells me about a friend who started losing his as a teenager. “I know that it destroyed his self-confidence,” Christopher says. The friend, now 70, neither treated nor shaved it, persisting with “combovers and things like that”. “He would say, ‘Once you go bald, your looks are gone and you’re always going to have to accept second-best in terms of a wife’… I know it ruined his life.”

In an age of technologically compelled self-obsession, a version of this fear is already filtering down to my own age group. Having barely achieved the quarter-century, friends are inspecting their family trees for evolutionary disadvantage, peeling back fringes to reveal widow’s peaks and Eiger foreheads. It is now more than common for my social reunions to begin with an update on the loosened thatch — stories of smoothing back your rug only to find yourself with furry fingers, and of showers that seem uncomfortably akin to shaves. These anecdotes find plenty of statistical company. A quarter of men who develop hereditary male baldness (“androgenic alopecia”) see symptoms before the age of 21; by 35, two-thirds of men have lost at least some of their hair. 

Such is the potency of this fear that young men try to palliatively anticipate what’s to come. Ben is 29, and has been using medicinal treatments for hair loss for two years. “It was like a preventative thing,” he says. “I don’t like to think of myself as someone who is vain. But I don’t really exercise, and if I were to lose my hair, I’d basically just become my dad… It’s almost like a psychological thing where, if I take this pill, I’ll keep my hair. It’s like an anxiety deferred.” But he’s sure this is more prevalent among young men than it used to be. “If I was a 30-year-old man in the Seventies, and I was going bald, no one would care. Something has happened in the last 40 years.” And he’s right. For most of human history, however miserable it made them, men could do nothing about their condition. But now an entire male baldness industry has arisen to simultaneously nurture and service their fears. 

The gold standard is, of course, the transplant, a treatment which sprouted onto the British male psyche in 2011 when Wayne Rooney explained: “I was going bald at 25 — why not?” In response, millions of men must have thought: if a guy who’s been turned into a Shrek doll by his own fans can have a decent head of hair, why not me? Other celebrities followed suit (“Rio Ferdinand shows off his new hair and beard transplant,” as the sidebar of shame had it last month) and now a £1.5 billion transplant economy has now opened up, headquartered in Istanbul. Nor is the trip necessarily a fool’s errand. For the scale of change possible, observe the stunning transformation of Arsenal defender Rob Holding from tonsured no-hoper to barbershop pin-up.

Though increasingly popular, this is still the expensive option, costing thousands in Turkey, and tens thereof in England. For those of leaner means, or whose condition is not yet so severe, there are alternatives. An entire fleet of companies has surfaced: Keeps, Rogaine, Happy Head, Scandinavian Biolabs, Sons UK, Numan, Unthin, Manual and Hims. If you haven’t heard of them, check the social media feed of any man you know. You’ll find their before-and-after adverts squatting there, admonishing and inviting. 

For around £20 a month, you’ll receive a mixture of topical and oral treatments (pills, shampoos, serums and sprays) which make use of two main chemicals, minoxidil and finasteride. The first came about by happy accident. Minoxidil is a vasodilator (a drug used to treat high blood pressure) originally developed in the Seventies. But when it was tested, doctors noticed that it also stimulated hair growth (exactly why is still somewhat unclear) and it was directed towards hair-loss treatment in 1986. Finasteride, meanwhile, is a “preventer”. The drug stops testosterone from turning into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male development hormone, and was first developed to treat enlarged prostates in 1992. But, since DHT also stops hair growing, reducing its presence in the body can slow hair loss, including after it has already begun. The product joined minoxidil in a different section of the pharmacy in 1997. As cosmetic treatments, neither is available on the NHS for hair loss, though they have been available from private pharmacies for years. 

In this way, these companies are effectively pulling off a marketing trick more than a medical miracle: they offer the slickness of a “telehealth” service, employing online physicians to validate prescription-subscriptions which are then sent out in the mail. And in this digital setting, a distinctive, millennial tech start-up aesthetic emerges: gorgeous websites, pastel colours, and stylish, sans-serif fonts. Hims is most typical, and like any modern company worth its screentime, offers a philosophy as well as a product. “Hims is about personal wellness,” its website boasts. “You should look and feel your best all the time. Our job is to make that easy and affordable… We hope to enable a conversation that’s currently closeted. Men aren’t supposed to care for themselves [we’re too often told]. What a load of bollocks.”

This is the language of wellness, of looksmaxxing and personal optimisation, turned into breathy corporate advertising copy. The packaging of Hims’s bottles and pouches is of a piece — beige, clean and minimalist. Manual, which Ben uses, does the same: “You get a little box, and it’s very cute, and it’s like you’re opening a present… It’s almost like they’ve managed to remove all stigma around what is essentially a pharmaceutical product, and it just becomes another thing that you take alongside your vitamin D and vitamin C tablets.” Much like the supplement industry, they are marketing hair regrowth as a route to the giddy state of “self-care”. And not just hair regrowth — several (but not all) of these companies offer other optimising pathways to spot-free skin and top-notch sexual performance. In this context, hair regrowth becomes just one waypoint of many along the road to total masculine performance. 

But obviously there is a catch. For a start, none of these treatments is guaranteed to work — and certainly not to levels of reforestation depicted in the adverts — while the hair that grows can be thin, and disappointingly downy (“peach fuzz”, Christopher calls it). The drugs can also take months to have any effect, which, for all the many happy customers, will see many men paying for weeks’ worth of ultimately useless brew, while (unlike transplants) any improvements will disappear the moment you stop taking them. And, frequently noted in manosphere-adjacent corners of the internet, finasteride especially can have some worrisome side-effects: depression, loss of libido and erectile dysfunction. Which makes you wonder if Hims were onto something with the specific combination of treatments they offer.

Nevertheless, men are flocking to these companies. While there’s little evidence that hair loss is statistically more prevalent today, the psychologists’ verdict is that social media has made millennials and Gen Z more “hair aware”. Popular Reddit threads such as r/tressless and r/HaircareScience provide a platform for tens of thousands of young men to trade tips on courses of “min” and “fin”, and share their own progress, uploading dozens images of their gradually thickening scalps. Even those who suffer the side-effects shrug them off: “Had a couple of days of ball ache and I don’t get morning wood anymore,” one user told me. “But fine. Satisfied with the results.”

Another man in his 40s making use of finasteride explained it “has had some psychological effects such as moderate depression that I have recently mitigated via antidepressants”. But, not to be deterred, he’s just starting using minoxidil too. Ben, meanwhile, used finasteride before minoxidil, and reported a plunging period of depression. “I was taking actually a very small dose, like half the dose I was recommended, and I just felt dead inside… It’s actually really disturbing that you can send off for something on the internet which can put you in such a dark place.” (Manual lists “low mood, depression or thoughts of self-harm” as very rare side-effects on its website.)

This is not exactly the relationship one might expect between a health supplement and its consumer, and it’s quite self-evident what all this really adds up to. In his 1958 book The Affluent Society, John Kenneth Galbraith attempted to clarify the phase of late capitalism that had established itself in the post-war United States, based around the marketing of luxury and consumer goods. Many had been retailed through what he called “the dependence effect”, by which consumers’ “wants are increasingly created by the process by which they are satisfied”. Frequently, producers may go as far as to “actively create wants through advertising and salesmanship”. In the Fifties, this meant white goods and General Motors. But now individual happiness is found in the mirror, much as it was once found in things. 

Since then, with nowhere else left to colonise, capitalism has begun to cultivate the interior self, as it once did the fields and forests. And, it should be noted, this follows a strategy that has already been tried and tested to tremendous effect on at least 50% of the population. Women, for whom the scale of personal refurbishment demanded by society was always greater, have long been sold the language of optimisation and tweakments. It is part-and-parcel of existence as a female citizen-consumer, but also of a feminist discourse that has been critiquing the relationship of the cosmetic to the political for decades. 

The old stereotype of male insouciance when it comes to appearance is equally now long dead. A brave new world has crept up to replace it: of hair regrowth, breaking your femurs to gain a few inches in height, chin implants to achieve a squarer bone structure, and penis-enlargement surgery. But this is all about as liberating as the first appearance of Botox, another very 21st-century promise of cash-for-youth, cash-for-looks. It is another patch of the private realm swept into the orbit of commerce and checkout, a demand that may be exploited, but is ultimately unsatisfied.


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Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
5 months ago

Once it became clear that I was losing all my hair, I shaved it all off. Balding is a condition, bald is a choice.
Luckily my testosterone has made it up for me by improving my ability to grow a beard.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
5 months ago

Damn right.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
5 months ago

I pre-empted the inevitable by shaving it all off in 1996, emboldened by Trainspotting coming out that year and everyone wanting to look like Ewan McGregor anyway.
I’ve never visited a barbers since. Just buy a new set of clippers every few years and shave what’s left tighter and tighter. Saved me a fortune.

Ben Scott
Ben Scott
5 months ago

Yep. Mine started going at 19. Last known expenditure on anything that could be considered “hair products” was £15 on a set of clippers in 1995. Shave it with a razor in the shower now.

Just exactly how is this hair loss supposed to be a bad thing? I bl***y love it!

Howard S.
Howard S.
5 months ago

When my hair began to thin, I mean really thin, I shaved it all off, and added a small gold stud to my right earlobe (the “straight” ear here in the States). Have never had any trouble with the ladies. Hair is so overrated.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
5 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

Hair is overrated indeed, especially when it begins to grow in all areas other than the head.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

It’s not overrated in the right place. Nature made men hairy for a reason. It works!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

As a “lady’ I hate to have to tell you but bald is a big turn-off. Hair can compensate for a lot. I find it very attractive and can’t wait for the demise of the awful, current short- back- and- sides- with- a poof- on- top, along with facial stubble.

Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
5 months ago

Similar story here. My hair was thinning and my wife was encouraging me to buzz off the little hair that remained. I did so several years ago and never looked back. Much more comfortable.

Ian L
Ian L
5 months ago

I agree, going bald isn’t pleasant. Being bald is fine. I waited until I changed jobs to shave mine off, just to avoid anyone commenting.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

OMG, not the bald head with a beard look!

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I call it my “Alexander III” look.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

There are millions of “Alexander lll” around, it’s rather common, in more ways than one.

J Bryant
J Bryant
5 months ago

Dear Young Author:
The question of whether bald = unmanly was answered half a century ago.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qOhfrSQJjI
Who loves ya, baby!

Kat L
Kat L
5 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

He’s got a nicely shaped head which makes a difference

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
5 months ago

The nasty little part of me says ‘ha, MEN!, It’s your turn’. As women have been judged remorselessly on their looks, see how you like it. You there, swipe right….swipe left… Not good enough for me!

More soberly, this seems to be the sad result of the convergence of a few factors. A focus on the life in this world as the only one we will have. A focus on youth as the pinnacal of this life. A decent enough proportion of the population who has money to spare, and the time to spare, to indulge in these things. Finally a social media world which promotes image as the most important thing about you. And that image is no longer something ephemeral that becomes a memory as you and others around you age. It’s a social media photo stamping itself into the internet forever.

Was he born with it? Are you worth it? Are you hot or not?

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
5 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

The major factor is that a healthy salary no longer compensates for a thinning hairline in the mating market, as young women now earn as much or more than men. Men have to compete on looks and personality.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
5 months ago

Not quite.
If you know men who are trying to get married or into long term relationships, it doesn’t matter how much women make, a primary criteria is still how much money a man makes. And they will treat any man who makes less than them as if they are invisible.

And of course looks and personality matters too. But that’s not new, or a function of women working. Women until a generation back were not shallow creatures who only went for money, even 50 years back money was a cutoff but an rich, nice guy would win over an immensely rich, awful man.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Your first paragraph strikes me as yet another example of a group of people getting exactly what they want but being upset with the results. Women today have opportunities that were unavailable years ago, yet the same dating dynamic persists.

Chris Freeman
Chris Freeman
5 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Earning more money than most girls on the dating sites I go on has not helped me. I do however have little hair on my head – I think on dating sites looks are important as it’s the first thing you see. A picture pains a thousand words!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

And so they should it’s about time. The double standard is so grossly unfair. Men still get away with bald heads and big bellies and don’t think it matters because women are more accepting and will marry men regardless of their looks.

Kat L
Kat L
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No they don’t. Never have unless they had a fat wallet.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
5 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

“As women have been judged remorselessly on their looks”
Difference is, women are remorselessly judged on their looks even outside of dating, and invariably by other women.

Whereas men care zilch about how other men look.

An interesting thing I have noted multiple times in workplaces is that young women who join an all male team, tone down the cosmetics drastically in a few days and settle into a more comfy jeans etc attire. Because they soon realise that they can be comfortable in their skin and don’t need to be as focused on their looks.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

He says, observing the woman’s appearance.

El Uro
El Uro
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You are not right. A woman with tons of makeup may be nice at a party (a matter of taste), but in the workplace she is undoubtedly annoying

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Observing and judging appearance, not the same thing.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
5 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

You are correct. However. as per this article, I think that may be changing. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is on the rise among young men and they are feeling a greater pressure to look a certain way. This is largely due to social media and dating apps which encourage women to select on looks first and then ask more questions later. Whereas men seem to find a broader range of women attractive, women tend to hone in on a much smaller percentage of men. I can easily see how this would lead to an increased level of judging and comparing between men.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
5 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

I hope that doesn’t catch on. Bring obsessed with looks is annoying enough with women, but with young men its unbearable.

N T
N T
5 months ago

what? is it 1994? is rogaine trying to sell something?
bald stopped being an issue a generation ago.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
5 months ago

I took finasteride for a week or two; it seriously disturbed my sleep patterns. I haven’t touched it since and basically avoided any fried foods, heated oils, junk food, etc. Plenty of water, teas, exercise, vitamin D and B-Complex (among others), a healthy shampoo and conditioner (designed to improve hair growth); and a quick regime of microneedling once every few months. Hair is fine.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
5 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Wow. I can’t quite believe that anyone could have invested such detailed thought/analysis on this subject – but good luck to you.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
5 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Or it could all be down to luck.

James P
James P
5 months ago

The stupidest concern ever, unless you live in a desert and can’t afford a hat. I started going bald at 17. By 21 I had an island of hair above my forehead and a half donut around the back and sides. I honestly didn’t give a shit. My Mom had told me when I was a kid that I look like Grandpa. She was right. None of the women I knew seemed at all (!) bothered. My son is similar. His lovely girlfriend doesn’t seem to mind at all. Idiotic.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
5 months ago

The vanity of 1st world problems.
Just shave your head. What a pathetic waste of time and money.

Adam Smith
Adam Smith
5 months ago

It’s not a pathetic waste of time and money if it brings confidence and contentment to the individual.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
5 months ago

Missing is any mention of class. Being bald may be unattractive to middle class men and middle class women may not like the overt show of masculinity that a shaved head represents. Working class men and women have different views.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

Do you think a shaved head is a show of masculinity? It’s about as masculine as the big belly that usually goes along with it.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Don’t forget the loud farts.

El Uro
El Uro
5 months ago

Welcome to the brave new world of perverts

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
5 months ago

Feminists have been trying to turn men into women for quite a while. Capitalism capitalised of course. That’s what it does.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

Good grief, are you blaming women for all the trans men wanting to become women? You’re trying to blame women for everything. What kind of a real man would allow himself to be persuaded to become a woman?

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The type that has been bludgeoned with feminism for decades. Many feminists are men. I am blaming feminists. Not women. Can’t believe that still needs an explanation in 2024.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
5 months ago

A brave new world has crept up to replace it: of hair regrowth, breaking your femurs to gain a few inches in height

Just read the linked article about leg-lengthening and, apart from feeling a bit sick from the description of the procedure, what I mainly wonder is whether gaining a few inches this way really makes people happier longer term.
It doesn’t bother me if people choose to go through so much pain and expense to be a bit taller. We should all be sovereign over our own bodies. But I’d hate to think that people go through it all and then a few years down the line its something else about how they look that bothers them and they’re back to square 1.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago

That lack of confidence that brought them to that awful procedure in the first place can never be overcome.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

We all shrink as we age so it’s a losing battle.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
5 months ago

Is there a cultural difference though? Baldness has always seemed to me to be far more of an issue in the States than here in the UK. Everyone just goes Phil Mitchell here, and Rooney’s rug was roundly ridiculed for making him look like he had a Brillo pad on his head.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
5 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

That said, I do sympathise with men who go bald in their youth – I didn’t start till my 40s

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
5 months ago

I still have plenty of hair.
Most of it’s on my back, but hey.

B M
B M
5 months ago

I have all my own hair and teeth – in a box under the bed.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  B M

That’s so funny! thank you.

Stephen Wood
Stephen Wood
5 months ago

Do what us Generation Xers did and shave it all off.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
5 months ago

Skinhead look works for me

Robert Hardy
Robert Hardy
5 months ago

Any concern I may have had at my hair beginning to recede at 17 was dispelled many years later by my young daughter, seeing the thick growth on my chest, saying, “Daddy, your hair has slipped”.
R H

Matt F
Matt F
5 months ago

What a waste of money! I found a decent set of clippers with a #1 comb to be a much more cost effective option from my mid thirties onward. No noticeable difference to the opposite sex either.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
5 months ago

So capitalism is not exploiting mens fears; its solving their concerns.

I’m entering this for misleading Headline of the Year.

John Riordan
John Riordan
5 months ago

I started going bald in my early 20s and while I hated it at the time, it stopped actually bothering me years ago. Once I accepted there was nothing to be done about it, I bought myself a trimmer, set it to grade 0 and have used that once a week ever since.
“But he’s sure this is more prevalent among young men than it used to be. “If I was a 30-year-old man in the Seventies, and I was going bald, no one would care. Something has happened in the last 40 years.” ”

This part I disagree with: I am certain that early-onset male pattern baldness has become more prevalent in recent years: if it had happened to a young man in the 1970s he would stand out more as a consequence, and both he and other people would indeed care.

But apart from that I’m actually rather happy, reading this, that this happened to me before the world got so anxiety-ridden that it’s such a problem. I had no idea that there were men out there who would take medication to suppress this problem at the expense of depression and loss of libido: that’s a nasty price to pay, and God knows what the long term effects might be given that testosterone replacement therapy is now being seen as an effective way to slow gradual health decline in older men.

That said, I don’t really follow the line of argument about how baldness treatments are part of a somehow-sinister late-stage capitalism effect: baldness isn’t a desirable condition, eventually it will be treated cheaply and effectively, and what’s available now is part of the development that will eventually reach that desirable outcome. There’s nothing wrong with it, in my opinion, even if I’m too old now to benefit from any of it.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
5 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I too think it has got more prevalent over the last 40 years.i started losing mine 40 years ago and it seemed that it was much less common than it is now.
It’s never bothered me, after all I can’t see it unless I look in a mirror. It does though mean that getting my head sunburnt is way too easy!
My kids call it a Reverse Mohican!

Illés Molnár
Illés Molnár
5 months ago

You can always compensate the loss of hair with growing a beard. Be like this guy. He doesn’t seem to worry: Christian “XN” Matyi

John Riordan
John Riordan
5 months ago
Reply to  Illés Molnár

I’m not persuaded by that: it simply gives a man upside-down head syndrome.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
5 months ago
Reply to  Illés Molnár

I’m waiting for ear, nose and back hair to become sexy, along with caterpillar eyebrows.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Dream on.

David Holland
David Holland
5 months ago

If the personal cost of male baldness includes never having to visit a barber/hairdresser again and being forced to listen to their inane prattle, then that’s a price well worth paying.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
5 months ago

Fortunately, I’m beautiful on the inside and that’s enough for me.

John Riordan
John Riordan
5 months ago

Me too. And I’ve proved it by keeping the photos from my last colonoscopy.

Ian L
Ian L
5 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Your houseguests must love it when you get the projector out of the cupboard.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Funny!

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
5 months ago

Younger writers nowadays appear conned into believing the world presented on Instagram. But these are merely digitised Platonic Idea(l)s of beauty.
In short, they are simulations of supreme, unattainable aesthetic values. Or perhaps just simulacra produced by digital communication itself with the ability to doctor images to a fantastic degree.
Either way, they undeniably drive some of the market in luxury services these days with the plastic surgery sector taking on an evenmore central role in North American society, as we’ve seen with the gender complex.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
5 months ago

“Once you go bald, your looks are gone and you’re always going to have to accept second-best in terms of a wife.”
I’d suggest that women who marry for hair are far from the first-best in terms of a wife.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
5 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

And I would suggest that any wife who accepted him got a complete t**d…

Not Now
Not Now
5 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

My mom married for hair! She admitted as much later in life “your father brought his looks to the table” (meaning little else)
BUT, she knew exactly what she was doing and was unfortunately too good as a wife to someone that scarcely deserved it

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

Men who only go for an attractive woman may not make the best husband, either. We’re more likely to see women who are more attractive than their husbands than the other way around.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
5 months ago

This would have been a fine article if it simply explored how men feel about and deal with hair loss, but it wandered into capitalism and went off the rails.

Is there anything capitalism, like racism, can’t do?

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
5 months ago

Capitalism capitalises.

AC Harper
AC Harper
5 months ago

It seems like an author trying to create dissatisfaction where little is found, all for the sake of an edgy article.
My father went bald and it bothered him a lot. My brother, from a later generation obviously, is similarly bald but un-bothered. Me? I have kept almost all of my hair but it is white now – and I am not bothered at all.
Almost all self help gurus recommend coming to terms with yourself as you are. Why slide backwards?

Graham Strugnell
Graham Strugnell
5 months ago

Men once grew beards and side-whiskers, wore waistcoats and fob watches, and concentrated on being a dignified paterfamilias. Now many aren’t fathers or have abandoned their offspring. Hence the preoccupation with looking young and datably box fresh. This is a sad reflection of where we are. Despite this, I’m off to Turkey for a hair transplant and p***s enlargement.

Kevin Hansen
Kevin Hansen
5 months ago

Make sure you get someone to translate your wishes into exact Turkish. Or you might emerge from the clinic looking like a right k***head. 🙂

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago

Does this mean we have run out of first-world problems and can wring our hands over even less important things? Also, in reading the sub-headline, I’m struggling to understand how “capitalism” is the villain here. Maybe this is one thing that cannot be blamed on climate change.

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
5 months ago

Weird. After the initial panic of losing my hair I kind of enjoy it now. A shaven head is quite liberating. One less thing to think about.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
5 months ago

Once i realised that dating in the modetn era was such a nightmare, i let myself go bald. I was only ever worried it would affect my chances with the opposite sex. Now it is irrelevant. I dont look great, but then i hardly look at myself unless to shave. I strive to be healthy and physically fit, but again, thats for my benefit, not to attract a partner.
From what i hear, full headed men dont have much look in the dating field unless they look like Brad Pitt. I was no Brad Pitt, even at my best.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
5 months ago

Does anyone else find it laughable that this article is written by someone whose tousled rag mop in the picture makes him look about 22?
Just as no one within nature’s normal range needs a fake “nether package” or implanted derriere, no one needs chemical or surgical interventions for baldness. Some women won’t consider you without a robust head of hair, but some won’t consider you if you’re not 6′ 2″ plus either. Must average-height men undergo “leg-lengthening” too in order to suit a subset of preferences?
Nah, it’s a pretty good era for bald guys like me. Gone are the days of the 70s and 80s, when as a child I used to see guys grow out their reaming side-hair into what I call “bozo clown puffs”, or stretch about 8 greasy stands across their pates in a doomed effort to cheat baldness.

Drew Gibson
Drew Gibson
5 months ago

As depressing an article as I’ve read for quite a while.
Fortunately, the comments cheered me up no end.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

It’s not women who are particularly bothered about men being bald. It’s men. But then again, women are not derided and mocked for enhancing their appearance the way men are. There is a peculiarity about this, but the only thing that matters ultimately is self confidence. If you can gain that by enhancements, then go for it I say.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I know you have an insider’s view compared to most commenter’s here, but it depends on the woman doesn’t it? Hard to imagine sincere confidence coming from a chemical or surgical intervention, but good point about the mockery men face for doing just about anything more than exercising and putting on decent clothes.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Mockery from whom?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Other men more than otherwise I’d say. But not only. Consider the terms “manscaping” and “metrosexual”.

Alan Bright
Alan Bright
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Upvote partly for the use of ‘whom’. For Whom the Bell Tolls – not yet on BTL UnHerd

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

But women would be mocked if they went bald. Would men date them?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Very few. And most who did would have an aggressive fetish for it. However, a serviceable wig is a way more available option for most women.
Boy, we’re off into the stubble of the matter now!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

There are indeed better wigs for women and it’s more acceptable.

Doug Israel
Doug Israel
5 months ago

I think its a lot more common for balding men to shave it all off. It seems to be much more acceptable today.

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
5 months ago

May I chip in (chirp in?) as a woman and say that seeing baldness in a man as a problem is just creating an artificial problem.
For me (and for many women I know) it’s absolutely irrelevant. If we meet a decent, responsible man, with a good sense of humour and good manners, whether he is bald or not does not matter at all.
And I was truly worried to learn from the article, that there are men who are ready to inflict upon themselves depression, self-harm and (am adding this while slightly blushing) ED, just to have full hair. Strange priorities, frankly.
By the way, great BTL comments. Thank you for making me laugh so much (and at times rather loudly, I must acknowledge)!

G M
G M
5 months ago

“Since then, with nowhere else left to colonise, capitalism has begun to cultivate the interior self,”

More anti-capitalism nonsense.

Men and women have always cared about how they look.
Their appearance has always been important.

At least capitalism/free enterprise give people a choice as to what they want to do.
Non-capitalistic societies do not give the choice – you must do what the authorities tell you to do.

Too many in the media have been indoctrinated in anti-capitalism ideology.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
5 months ago

Is baldness increasing? If so, could it be from testosterone in beefburgers? Sorry to be flippant, what I mean is: could something have changed?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago

Baldness does seem to be increasing.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
5 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Very scientific

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
5 months ago

Trans-women take note: switch to a vegetarian diet for maximum effect.

0 0
0 0
5 months ago

Daft article for losers. As soon as I realised mine was going in my late 40’s I just went straight for the number 1 buzz cut. Loved it – never affected my self esteem or confidence with women (or anyone else for that matter)

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
5 months ago
Reply to  0 0

It shouldn’t affect your self-esteem because there are men all around you with shaved heads. It must be comforting. Kind of bald male bonding.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
5 months ago

The problem with hair transplants is that 1. They are quite invasive, 2. They’re expensive, 3. They just move hair from one place to another (they don’t create new hair), 4. They’re just trying to achieve a cosmetic appearance of being less bald.

Undoubtedly though, having some hair makes a man look younger than his bald self. In 5 to 10 years it will be likely possible to clone viable hairs and have those transplanted, providing a full head of hair. Until then, you can try all the various on- and off-label chemical remedies, but they aren’t anywhere near as effective as the cherry-picked success-story images you will see online.

If you don’t want a transplant (good choice), and don’t want to use pharmaceuticals (another good choice), then shave your head, and consider scalp micropigmentation. And get in shape, and dress better. For every woman who likes a man with hair she can run her hands through, there’s another one who adores the Jason Statham look (check out pictures of his wife).

Paul Lewis
Paul Lewis
5 months ago

Good article, but I want to alert all readers to a much more serious and devastating set of side affects now known as “Post Finasteride Syndrome”. Please look it up.

These have affected a close friend and amount to extreme loss of libido, permanent erectile dysfunction, severe depression etc.

The terrifying part of it is that for a small, but unfortunately growing subset of users, it seems to have a permanent effect. And this can start after only one dose!

The drug attaches itself to neurotransmitters and prevents the processing of testosterone. The results are hellish… physical and mental. There is currently no known way to un-attach it, it is locked in place for good. Suicide rates among sufferers are extremely high.

Whilst medical ethics allow for small percentages of serious side effects for proven and valuable benefits, this particular treatment only resolves a vanity issue. And this is where I agree wholly with the author. An industry has grown up to play on young men’s fears and take advantage of them.

There is now a growing awareness of the serious consequences of these drugs amongst medical experts and European regulators are insisting on “black warning labels” of suicidal ideation, permanent sexual dysfunction etc. But this is not stopping any of these powerfully marketed brands from plying these drugs in the UK atm. They only place misleading warnings of mild effects in their marketing, and as the author states, whilst the NHS insists on a doctors prescription to dispense these drugs, the online hucksters just ask buyers to sign a waiver! They just don’t care and won’t care until regulated into action.

Hope this doesn’t read like a rant, but seeing this effect someone I love has made me very angry about the irresponsible marketing of these products. As one sufferer notes. ”it’s like a life sentence from the internet”.

Please, please make sure that anyone you know who might consider taking these drugs to do extensive research first. There is no way of knowing in advance who will get these side effects and take it from me… it’s just not worth the risk.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
5 months ago

“He would say, ‘Once you go bald, your looks are gone and you’re always going to have to accept second-best in terms of a wife’… I know it ruined his life.”
It would require an essay to unpick the various levels of shallowness this statement reveals. Be a man, and stop worrying about it.

Sparrowfall
Sparrowfall
5 months ago

I ask you all to look up post Finasteride Syndrome. It’s a devastating condition that affects a small, but growing number of mostly young men who have fallen into the trap of buying the marketing hype about baldness. The condition is incurable. It occurs because finasteride permanently attaches itself to the testosterone transmitters in the body and brain of some people, and for this small number of people it creates a devastating illness with a very high associated suicide rate. it affects libido, causes erectile dysfunction, depression, indeed, suicidal thoughts. The European Union are now adding black warning, labels to finasteride packets, but we are someway behind over here in the UK there are only indications of mild temporary symptoms, but this is not correct because for the unlucky few they are currently impossible to reverse and extremely serious. Make sure anyone that you know who is considering taking finasteride Thoroughly researches these horrific side effects. Anyone who was aware of them would give those drugs are very wide berth. Avoid finasteride at all costs!

Tony Coren
Tony Coren
5 months ago

Anyone here remember the crewcut or Cookie at 77 Sunset Strip

Tony Coren
Tony Coren
5 months ago

I almost lost all my hair about 30yrs ago- it was a close shave!

Tony Coren
Tony Coren
5 months ago

Hair today gone tomorrow

Kat L
Kat L
5 months ago

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look better if it doesn’t take over your life. Many men look great balding, but some heads are shaped like Frankenstein’s monster. It’s jarring to look in the mirror and see someone completely different.