If you’re completely bald or have a receding hairline or an ever-growing bald spot like me, I have some good news for you: scientists are getting closer to a cure and it doesn’t involve a spray can. It may even happen in our lifetimes, which means we could have all our hair back within a few decades, just in time to charm all those ladies at the retirement home.
Actually, there’s only one lady I want to charm and she doesn’t seem to care that I have a bald spot. If anything, she’s pleased that at least one part of me is thinning.
I’m perfectly okay with having a bald spot, really I am. And if you don’t believe me, just ask anyone in my Bald is Beautiful support group. We get together once a month to share our stories of hair loss. There’s Al and Bruce and Pedro and Salman and a few other guys. We have varying degrees of baldness. For example, I have a bachelor’s degree and Salman has a PhD (prominent hair deficiency).
Our last meeting began, as it usually does, with a little sharing. We sat in a circle and shared a bottle of wine. It always helps the guys open up. Al took a sip and said, “Yesterday, while I was at the laundromat, I met this pretty woman who told me she’s a cancer survivor. So I said, ‘Really? Well, I’m a baldness survivor. Maybe we can go out sometime.’ And she slapped me.”
Pedro shook his head. “People just don’t understand what baldness does to a man. When I started losing my hair, my so-called best friend kept saying, ‘You’re going bald, Pedro,’ as if I didn’t already know. As if I didn’t look in the mirror every morning and take attendance. Ricardo, here. Enrique, here. José, here. Alfredo … oh no, I lost another one.”
Bruce laughed. “You named your hair too?”
“Of course. When you have so few, you grow close to them. They’re like family.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” Bruce said. “We need to educate people about this. We need to make them more aware, so that our sons and grandsons don’t have to endure as much baldism as we have. Wouldn’t that be great?”
“Sure would,” Salman said. “That’s why I’m starting a petition online to get President Obama and other leaders to declare the third Saturday of March as Baldness Awareness Day (BAD). We could organize a lot of BAD activities that day, maybe even get Obama to give a BAD speech for a change.”
“Good idea,” Bruce said. “We could honor all the great bald men in history, such as Dwight Eisenhower, the first bald man to be elected president of America, Tom Stafford, the first bald man in outer space, and Seal, the first bald man to marry a supermodel.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to call it Bald Man’s Day?” Pedro said. “That way, we could get our family and friends to give us cards and gifts.”
“I like that,” Al said. “Forget the petition, Salman -– let’s write to Hallmark instead.”
“Speaking of cards,” Pedro said, “we should send a ‘thank you’ card to Dr. George Cotsarelis of the University of Pennsylvania for all his great research on baldness. I was so thrilled when I heard that we bald guys have just as many stem cells on our heads as the guys with hair. All we need to do is figure out a way to get them to be active again!”
“Does beer help?” Al asked.
“No,” Pedro said. “I’ve tried that. Rum doesn’t help either. It just makes my head sticky.”
“I’ve never heard of Dr. Cotsarelis,” Bruce said. “Is he one of us?”
“No,” Pedro said. “He’s got hair. But he’s a strong advocate for the bald.”
“We need to help him,” Bruce said. “I’m sure he needs money for his research.”
“I’ve got an idea,” Salman said. “Let’s organize a fundraiser. We can call it the Walk-a-thon to Cure Baldness. We can get our family and friends to walk five miles and raise thousands of dollars.”
“Sounds good,” Al said. “But do I have to walk too? Can’t I just drive and meet everyone at the finish line?”
Melvin Durai’s humourous novel “Bala Takes the Plunge” is now available in North America through McNallyRobinson.com It’s also available at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. Read the latest reviews here.