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Should I convince my balding boyfriend to shave his head?
February 25, 2010 1:50 AM   Subscribe

Should I convince my balding boyfriend to shave his head? ...How?

That's basically it, but here's a bit of bean-platery if you like:

First off, I love every bit of my boyfriend and would much rather not bring up this issue at all than have him become upset. He's not easily offended, but I'll just let it go if enough people think it's too hurtful/not worth it.

I think he's (understandably!) having a hard time accepting the fact that he's going bald in his mid-twenties. He also doesn't see that the way he's used to wearing his hair isn't helping him, either. He gels a floom into the front (think Fry from Futurama), and while I think he sees a bit of faux-hawk action going on, it kind of accentuates his receding hairline and his bald spot becomes viewable from the front. I think he's just attached to that hairstyle.

If I'm going to bring it up, I want to be as tactful as possible. My only idea is to climb onto his lap while we're watching Star Trek TNG or a Bruce Willis movie, playing with his hair and giving him lots of kisses, then saying something like "Hm. I never noticed before, but you'd actually look really sexy if you shaved your head. Make it so." (Okay, not really the last part. Or maybe?)

He's a stylish dude with a good look -- I think he could really rock the bald thing. So I guess my question is two parts: a) Should I just let it go? b) How can I make him see that a shaved head would look so much less "I'm balding" than his bald spot?
posted by moons in june to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (37 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think you would look so hot with a shaved head. What do you think?

That's pretty much what you already think. I think it is a good idea.

That should be totally cool with him. The bigger deal you make of it and the more tense you are the more self-conscious he will be.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:55 AM on February 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tell him straight up. Tell him again. And again. But with kindness and love, of course.

In general, guys can't take hints, and being told straight up with repetition is the only way things will sink in. So long as you're not mean about it, the guy will eventually wisen up to what you're saying.
posted by randomstriker at 1:56 AM on February 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Note that a guy with a specific hairstyle may be highly resistant to changing it. There's also a lot of social connotations about a shaved head that come into play.

Go ahead and mention that you think it'd be a good look for him, but don't try to force the issue. Even if you wouldn't mind the tables being turned, this is a look with a bit of baggage attached to it.
posted by Saydur at 2:05 AM on February 25, 2010


I've said this before, but completely shaving your head is as much denial of baldness as a comb-over. It's an act of concealment; it requires regular maintenance to preserve the illusion. Anyone within a few feet will know he's balding anyway.

The sooner your boyfriend is at ease with his baldness the better, however he decides to wear his hair. A lot of women find baldness attractive; even if you don't, let him know that he's just as sexy with a bald spot. Just not mentioning it will allow him to remain in denial; he may even believe you haven't noticed. Once he knows that (a) you know he's going bald, and (b) you're fine about it, he'll probably relax enough to talk it and then you can discuss hairstyles.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:08 AM on February 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think your idea is pretty good, but like I've said before, don't bother to shave. It's a lot of work shaving your head, and you need to do it a lot. Like le morte says, don't hide it, flaunt it. Get a shaver with various snap on guide lengths. I buzz my head at 3mm (1/8) every three weeks or so, and haven't spent a dime on haircuts since my baldening started at 22. Make sure to fuzz his hair every once in awhile. It feels good to have someone rubbing your head, and fuzzy hair has a great texture to it.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:21 AM on February 25, 2010


Previously.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:23 AM on February 25, 2010


Play the Picard card! Do it! It speaks to balding folks everywhere. It's vital to note that the Captain doesn't go fully shaven, though. He's got the whole rim of close-cropped hair around the neckline and ears. So having a little hair is no big deal, as long as it's short, fun to fuzz, and kept neat. But I'm serious about going for the "Oooh, Picard's shiny head has nothing on yours" angle. Men like to have hairstyle role models, too.
posted by Mizu at 3:19 AM on February 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


However you do it, make sure you're cool with what he wants to do. It's his head.
posted by asuprenant at 4:08 AM on February 25, 2010


Do not do it like I did:

Me: Grow a beard, grow a beard!
Husband: No.
Me: Grow a beard, grow a beard!
Husband: No.
Me: Grow a beard! We're on vacation!
Husband: Okay, just for laughs.
Me: Ewwww! Take it off, take it off!
Husband: No.

Ten years later, he still has it. And it's my own bloody fault.
posted by Omnomnom at 4:24 AM on February 25, 2010 [27 favorites]


I've found that having a totally shaved head is a bit itchy. Also it's a certain amount of work to keep it up. Not sure if a short buzzcut is acceptable to you.

If they're any use to help you sell it, other advantages are that you save time on combing it when you get up, you can have a shower just before bed and dry your head instantly with a towel, and if you invest in a electric trimmer you can save time and money you would otherwise spend on haircuts. "You'd look sexy" is probably a much stronger argument than any of those though.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:31 AM on February 25, 2010


my gut response to this is, let it be...

When/if he wants to shave his head, he'll shave his head...
posted by HuronBob at 4:37 AM on February 25, 2010


Nope.

"You'd kinda sorta look really good and hot and really sexy if you'd maybe, like thought about one day shaving your head"

really equals

"There is something I don't like about your hair and I want you to change."

There is little point in fudging it. No hints or flattery. "While I think he sees a bit of faux-hawk action going on, it kind of accentuates his receding hairline and his bald spot becomes viewable from the front. I think he's just attached to that hairstyle." Just tell him something like that. Make it clear you're doing it for his benefit and because you love him, because you probably are. People need clued in, encouraged and kinda prodded along in all kinds of ways, you'll probably find he appreciates it if you're straight about it.
posted by fire&wings at 4:59 AM on February 25, 2010


No.

"Your hairline is receding too much for that hairstyle anymore, honey. I think you'd look great with a shaved head though. Better than this anyway."
posted by rahnefan at 5:12 AM on February 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


IOW, say exactly what you mean.
posted by rahnefan at 5:14 AM on February 25, 2010


I think, for many guys, this is the equivalent of telling your girlfriend she needs to lose weight. I happen to think it's okay to do both, but many people don't, or get sensitive about it. So: be careful.
posted by smorange at 5:24 AM on February 25, 2010


Agree with TheophileEscargot on the short buzz cut. I got one (a "No. 1" in my barber's parlance) when my hairline started receding, and I've never looked back. You don't have the maintenance headaches (ha!) of shaving, and accrue all the benefits. Only downside is that it can be cold in the winter, but Mrs. Shoggoth made me a stylin' crochet beanie to take care of that problem. :)
posted by Shoggoth at 5:26 AM on February 25, 2010


"Hey let's both shave our heads!"
posted by mikepop at 5:29 AM on February 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Maybe it would be good to wait until he complains about his hair - and then say something like 'have you ever thought about buzzing/shaving it? I think you could totally rock that look!'

If you bring it up casually like you mentioned, he might be focused on the TV and kind of miss or forget it, and then will be even more awkward to bring up again. If you bring it up when he is already thinking about it, it could turn into more of a conversation, and he might take it more to heart. More like, he has already determined the problem and you are there to support him and give him confidence.
posted by beyond_pink at 5:45 AM on February 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some women are very attracted to bald men. My theory is that a man with a shaved head is somewhat phallic.

I haven't spent money on haircuts since I was in my early 20s.
posted by camworld at 6:11 AM on February 25, 2010


Guys don't care as much about hair as women do (generalization).

I hate beards. I hate shaving more so I generally have a beard. I'd probably shave more often (even though I hate it), but my girlfriend likes the beard, so I have a beard.

If she wanted me to have a shaved head it might be a bit different, since like I stated, I hate shaving. But she's essentially said, I like the way you look when you're lazy, so I have no problems matching the style she likes.

I'd say you should ask. At worst he'll say no. I guess he could be upset about it as well, but I doubt you'll be telling him something he didn't know. He knows he's going bald.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:12 AM on February 25, 2010


Get a shaver with various snap on guide lengths.

I think this is what you mean by "shaving," right? Not using a razor to get all shiny all over, but instead using a pair of clippers to cut the hair uniformly short. If so, buy him a really nice pair of clippers. The Oster Classic 76 suggested here is about as good as it gets, much nicer to use than a $20 pair of clippers. (And if you do mean shaving with a razor, then buy him one of those fancy head razors -- don't make him shave with the rusty old thing you use for your legs.)

And, as a guy who had to be informed about my hair loss by my wife, I'm in agreement with being honest and direct. Be honest about how it looks now (awful) and how you feel (a bit embarrassed for him). Be ready to have that same conversation a few times before it really sinks in for him -- the reality of hair loss can be a tough thing for some guys to accept.
posted by Forktine at 6:22 AM on February 25, 2010


My experience of going bald in my twenties was one of going through all the classic stages of mourning over several years [I am laughing at linking to a site called "Sadly Missed" here]. When you are considering giving advice to your boyfriend try to gauge where he might be in the process and bear in mind that it can't be hurried too much. Shaving your head is a little bit the decision to buy a new puppy when your old dog just died.

Your best contribution will be to help him get over the issue reasonably quickly and without resorting to the world of comb-overs, toupees and wishful thinking.
posted by rongorongo at 6:25 AM on February 25, 2010


I was your balding boyfriend. I had to come to terms with it myself, and I embrace it now. However, if I had someone encouraging me instead of letting me look the fool, I may have embraced it sooner. My spouse and I look back at old pictures and we both can't believe we both let it go on for so long!
posted by archimago at 6:32 AM on February 25, 2010


Here's another suggestion: do it for charity. St. Baldrick's does a charity drive each year. The key being the participants shave their heads as part of it. This way he'd be doing it for charity as well as your interest. Win on both counts. I'm guessing you could even get the MeFi'ers to chip in a few bucks for the effort too.
posted by wkearney99 at 6:54 AM on February 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and the other angle would to volunteer to help shave it, in the shower... wet, shaving cream, well, use your imagination....
posted by wkearney99 at 6:55 AM on February 25, 2010


I've said this before, but completely shaving your head is as much denial of baldness as a comb-over. It's an act of concealment... The sooner your boyfriend is at ease with his baldness the better, however he decides to wear his hair.

Technically true, but the difference is that it's a statement of choice. With very few exceptions, you have to decide to be entirely shaven-headed. This makes a big difference — it's empowering.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:04 AM on February 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's an interesting sensation to walk around bald but I'd wait until the weather is warm.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:10 AM on February 25, 2010


camworld: I've had the nickname "pelon" for awhile - it's got quite a few different meanings in Spanish.

I'd recommend the Wahl Balder if he ends up doing it. Without a guard, it's 95% of using a blade to shave, with about 10% of the mess and time investment (not to mention zero nicks, cuts, and abrasions). Takes me 5 minutes twice a week.
posted by kcm at 7:18 AM on February 25, 2010


"Hey let's both shave our heads!"

Critical variant: "Hey, I'll shave if you shave!"

P.S. I enjoyed the assertion "In general, guys can't take hints, and being told straight up with repetition is the only way things will sink in. So long as you're not mean about it, the guy will eventually wisen up to what you're saying." Speaking as another guy, I'd favor the generalization that guys (like anyone else) don't like passive-aggressive hints, preferring directness, and will take the liberty of ignoring hints with which they disagree. Trades (see above) are much more enticing.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:38 AM on February 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


He probably knows it doesn't look good, but he's coping the best way he can. My guy had been considering the idea of shaving it all off long before I mentioned it, so all it took to convince him was a little gentle nudging from me. We made a big deal out of it -- like a rite of passage -- and planned to do it on our next vacation so that he wouldn't have to deal with the reactions from family and coworkers until he'd adjusted to his new look himself.

The night before we left for our trip, he did the deed and although he felt a twinge of sadness, he was shocked at how much better he looked bald. That night and the two weeks following it was one of the most epic, fun-filled, and sexy times of our lives. (I'm smiling right now just thinking about it!) Shaving his head really seemed to have opened up a bolder, more playful part of his personality. By the time we returned from our trip, he was fully confident and at peace with his decision, so it was very easy to laugh off the good-natured ribbing of everyone who knew him "before".

I think your plan is a good one. Let him know that you love him no matter how he looks; he'll take the plunge when he's ready.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 7:44 AM on February 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


I told my husband, mock-seriously, "it's time." He knew what I meant.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:06 AM on February 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


You could always buy him a virtual head-shave to show him what it'd look like ahead of time.
posted by WCityMike at 8:36 AM on February 25, 2010


I've said this before, but completely shaving your head is as much denial of baldness as a comb-over.

Maybe, but a comb-over looks fucking stupid.

-
posted by General Tonic at 10:05 AM on February 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is a personal issue. There's real double standard for men, unfortunately. You can tell him to shave his head but if he told you to dress in baggier clothing to hide your weight gain, then I imagine your reaction would be different.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:20 AM on February 25, 2010


Tell him straight up. Tell him again. And again.

Let me clarify my comment.

Don't be a nag. Nagging is when you tell him to do something, repeatedly. Guys don't like to be told what to do, especially not by their wives or girlfriends.

However you can clearly, bluntly, but politely express your opinion that a shaved head would look very good on him. Guys don't really mind hearing these kinds of opinions, guys are not like girls who inevitably look for the insult where none was intended.

And timing is important -- tell him every time the topic arises. Definitely tell him straight out if he asks you. But don't bring it up daily, unsolicited, pressuring him into shaving his head.

So let me give you a more precise answer to your original question:

Should I convince my balding boyfriend to shave his head?

You should never try convince your boyfriend to do anything. You should however freely tell him why you think it would be great if he did it.

There is a difference, is it clear?
posted by randomstriker at 10:30 AM on February 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I got my balding boyfriend to do it as a birthday present to me one year. With the very explicit provision that it was one time, and he could let it grow back right after I got to see it. We went out to dinner, he got carded (he was in his mid-40s at the time), and he's never gone back.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:56 PM on February 25, 2010


Tell him he'll look hotter with it shaved. I shaved mine without input from anyone else (to the shock of many), and when my female friends universally said "you look more attractive with it shaved," the small bit of insecurity I felt about it evaporated.
posted by MillMan at 4:28 PM on February 25, 2010


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