Shaving My Head Bald During The Pandemic
I cut off my unmanageable naturally curly hair with the electric clippers two weeks ago. A failed attempt to grow out my hair. I haven’t had a haircut in the six months since I started working from home for my government I.T. job at a three-letter agency. My haircut—or lack thereof—didn’t matter much to my virtual coworkers. We all had black tape over the webcam of our work laptop to protect our privacy. If I were to give myself a bad haircut, there wasn’t a better time than the stay-at-home pandemic.
Since my haircut with the clippers turned out uneven and splotchy, I had to finish it off with shaving cream and razor blade. My newly shaven scalp felt raw like a rubber inner tube from a bicycle tire. I searched with my free hand for rough spots to shave with my razor hand. A smooth scalp all the way around made for a consistent haircut. That, and looking good as a man, made shaving my head bald worthwhile for me.
The only other hair that I had on my head besides my caterpillar eyebrows was my sideburns and no mustache beard, which started and ended at the indentations of my glasses at my ears. A pair of scissors kept my beard nicely trimmed to avoid interfering with wearing a medical mask in public.
My new hair routine is a ten-minute shave of my head every three to four days and applying a daily moisturizer with sunscreen protection to my scalp. It’s the most consistent haircut that I ever had in my life.
What I didn’t realized at the time that I wasn’t the only one shaving my head bald. With barbershops and hair salons closed, stuck at home, and no outsider to judge them, men and women were doing their own haircuts during the pandemic. Few #PandemicHaircut pictures on Instagram showed a clean shaven scalp. Most haircuts were shorter variations of an existing haircut or a simple buzz cut for men, women, children, and dogs.
Or that men who give up a full head of hair to become bald were “seen as more dominant, confident and masculine than men with hair”, informally known as the Bruce Willis effect. He kicked off the shaved bald look for men in Die Hard (1988) that made him an action hero movie star. Prior to that he rocked a full head of hair in the Moonlighting (1985–1988) TV series. Not only had he maintained his shaved look over the years, he recently shaved his daughter’s head during the pandemic.
Do I feel “more dominant, confident and masculine” with my new haircut? Not really.
Being dominant and masculine was never my thing since I don’t have to over compensate for missing something in my life. As a man you either have it or don’t have it. Since I don’t have it, I don’t worry about it. (Something that my trolls get seriously hung up about.) As Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) said at the end of Magnum Force (1973), “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Unfortunately, most men don’t.
Being confident comes from expressing myself as an Internet writer for the last 25 years and a YouTube content creator for the last two years. When you put yourself out there for the entire world to see, you get a thick skin from what people think of you and your creative contributions. Your confidence — not their approval — must drive your creativity.
It didn’t take long for someone on the Internet to call me a “fat baldy” and accused me of being ashamed of my baldness in an anonymous comment. No doubt they meant it to be insulting. I found it to be amusing. I wasn’t going to wait until the pandemic was over to get a haircut.