AA Gill On... Baldness

Dear Uncle,

I'm 17 and beginning to show signs of male-pattern baldness. My mates call me Wills. I laugh it off and pretend I don't care, but I do. It's so unfair. It saps my confidence.

I laugh at men with comb-overs, but I'm beginning to brush my hair forward and wear little hats. Please, please tell me something useful, and don't mention Yul Brynner. My stepmum and all her friends always say, "Look at Yul Brynner!" I've no idea who he is.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Francis, by email

Yul Brynner, 1920–1985. Film actor who pretended to be a Mongol. Was in fact a Swiss-Russian gypsy, most famous for playing a Siamese. Actually, most famous for being bald.

He is a terrible eggsample of a man whose whole life was defined by what he wasn't: hairy. Baldness is a bugger, because it's obvious and it's obviously not that serious. It's not going to kill you. It's only follicle-deep. Loads of people are bald, and it's what's in your head that's more important than what's on it, etc, etc.

Most Popular

But we all know it is important. I've just asked five girls under 30 if they minded bald men. Four of them said it was a deal-breaker. The fifth said she didn't mind, but between you and me she's a bit of a spoon-faced dog.

So there you have it. Best to learn this lesson early. Everyone in the world would rather have lots of hair on themselves and their partners than none at all. And you'll get no sympathy. Bald isn't like being ethnic or disabled. Everyone can and will make jokes about it and expect you to laugh good-naturedly, which you will.

You will also buy all the lotions, drops, creams and patent cures that you know are humiliating rip-offs. You will spend years looking in mirrors, flicking your fingers through your spindly temples. You will try a ponytail on holiday. And finally you will have implants that look like a dollhouse's Italian garden.

You'll marry a girl who pretends not to mind your pate because you pretend not to mind her facial warts. Toughen up. There's still 40 years to go before the inescapable slip into Bruce Forsyth's syrup. Oh, the other thing that Yul Brynner was famous for was having a humongous cock. His head looked like his bell-end, only smaller. I'm guessing this isn't your compensation.