How do I convince my husband to change his hairstyle?
October 6, 2009 8:19 AM   Subscribe

How do I politely, kindly and lovingly get my husband to change his hairstyle?

Yes, I know you can't change your spouse, so please no comments to that effect.

My husband has had a comb-over for the past 20 years. (He is 45.) When he was younger, it looked odd but not horrid. As his hair has thinned, it's getting more and more obvious that he's going to end up with 6 hairs across the top of his head.

I know that he's quite sensitive about how he looks. When others comment on his hair, and they *do*, it is always in the negative. Hairspray Helmet Head and the like.

He's got a great skull and would look awesome if he'd just take the dive and shave it all shorter. How do I go about convincing him that this would be a good move for his sex appeal and for his career. (I firmly believe that your looks influence people whether you like it or not.)
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (40 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Start making murmuring comments about how Jason Stratham et al are sexy. Shaved heads are sexy. Bald guys are sexy.

Don't suggest anything; let it be his idea.
posted by rokusan at 8:25 AM on October 6, 2009 [7 favorites]

Get a stopwatch.

Ask him to name ten attractive guys who are bald.

Note result time.

Then, ask him to name one attractive guy with a combover.

Leave stopwatch on table, go have a leisurely meal.

Let him off the hook when you come back.
posted by gnomeloaf at 8:26 AM on October 6, 2009 [14 favorites]

As much as you want to protect him from hurt feelings, I think you should tell him that combovers are quite possibly the most universally ridiculed hairstyle known to man. I would want to know if I were doing something that pretty much everyone else was laughing at, and though I'd be hurt, I'd be very glad my wife or another loved one told me.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 8:29 AM on October 6, 2009 [5 favorites]

Show him this advert.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:31 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

My wife would just tell me I look silly and go out and buy a pair of hair clippers and give me a makeover. As much as my ego would be wounded, I am smart enough to know that when it comes to appearance, my wife knows best. Can you just take charge and tell him you are going to give him a makeover, including a new outfit, cologne, shades, etc?
posted by jasondigitized at 8:37 AM on October 6, 2009

Turn it into a big sensual event. You shave him, all sexy-like, then fuck his brains out, reinforcing the shaveed-headedness.

What's going to run through his head? "My wife shaved my head. Then she fucked my brains out. 2+2=awesome".
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:41 AM on October 6, 2009 [16 favorites]

I can almost guarantee that he knows it looks bad. But doing something about it means having to acknowledge to the world he knew how bad he looked, which is embarrassing.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:47 AM on October 6, 2009 [6 favorites]

To Dirtynumbangelboy's point, make it sound like a novel idea so that he isn't retroactively embarrassed. It sounds like you want to avoid humiliating him, which is a great idea. How about:

"You know, honey, I've seen some guys lately with totally shaved heads. It's a really good look, and I think it's in style now. I think you have a great-shaped head. Have you ever thought of shaving your hair? I'm sure you've noticed that it's gotten thinner lately. Totally bald guys actually look younger than guys with thinning hair, I think. You can always grow it back if you hate it. What do you think?"

Good luck! My husband shaves his head and has since his early 30s... And I think he's sexy as hell!
posted by tk at 8:53 AM on October 6, 2009

People can't really see their own haircuts, so he probably thinks nobody knows. Even if there are comments, the power of self-delusion is mighty. The comb-over is the absolute essence of self-delusion, really.

I think as long as you encourage him to wear a new, more fashionable, modern haircut that will make him look younger and hotter (as opposed to suggesting he get a less awful haircut - be all about the positive future!), it's fine.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:54 AM on October 6, 2009

What if you told him that you were thinking about getting some cool, young, hip, crazy haircut the next time you go to the stylist. Sound a little timid and unsure about it, needing encouragement. Suggest you'll be that bold if he will, then recommend the shave. Make it one of those giggly "aren't we being crazy" things.

Of course, this means you are going to have to go way out, a super-hip look that's not your normal style. But after he gets shaved, go nuts over it about how he looks younger and sexy.
posted by Houstonian at 8:56 AM on October 6, 2009

He's got a great skull and would look awesome if he'd just take the dive and shave it all shorter. How do I go about convincing him that this would be a good move for his sex appeal and for his career.

Have you tried convincing him and he's resisted, or are you just guessing he wouldn't like the idea if you brought it up?

Oh wait, you're anonymous, so you can't clarify this. Well, I'm going to assume you haven't even brought it up. In that case, I would just say: "You know, you'd look awesome if you'd just take the dive and shave it all shorter."

It seems like you're looking for some kind of elaborate or indirect or intellectual argument. I think you can assume he realizes that appearance is important. It's not that he doesn't realize this -- it's that he's just gotten used to the same low-maintenance hairstyle he's had for 20 years.

The only argument you need to make is that you, his wife, think that more of a "bald bald" look might work better for him than a "combover bald" look. Q.E.D.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:11 AM on October 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

When I read this kind of post one thought always comes to mind: often the more delicately you treat a subject, the more embarrassing it becomes. The fact that you (meaning anyone) feel the need to approach it so carefully indicates that you think it's a big, touchy problem.

If it were my husband, I'd say, "Your hair looks stupid. Shave it off." Works for me, but if you really think your husband would freak maybe it's not the best approach. No one can know what goes on in a marriage except the two people in it, so I can't presume to know what works best in your relationship.
posted by Evangeline at 9:13 AM on October 6, 2009 [5 favorites]

Yeah, they key to it is emphasizing not "you look awful" but "you could look awesome." You could spin it as an experiment - "Hon? I totally want to shave your head. Yeah, give you the total Jason Statham look. Just once, you don't have to keep it! But I totally want to try it..."
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:42 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Why do you have to tell him the comb-over is horrible to suggest that he take the plunge and shave it? Why not just go for the positive suggestion?

"I keep seeing guys who just shave their heads when they start to go bald -- and you know what? It looks pretty great. I think you'd look awesome. Let's do it! Shaving party Friday night!"
posted by kestrel251 at 9:42 AM on October 6, 2009

Just tell him honestly, "I think the comb-over needs to go," but put it in the context of "I think this one little thing would make you even younger and sexier than you are now!"

My old boss is almost 50 and has been shaving his head bald for years and he looks great. I've seen pictures of him with thinning hair and he looks years younger without it.

So maybe show him this thread too?
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:44 AM on October 6, 2009

Should've previewed: That should be "I think this one little thing would make you look even younger and sexier..."
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:45 AM on October 6, 2009

Get YOUR hair done in some sexy fashion. Dress sexy. Smell sexy. Tell him he'd look sooooo sexy with short hair, and whip out the clippers. Don't say anything about his former hairstyle. Basically, what Cat Pie Hurts said, but just distract him with your sexiness first and he won't really care what comes after. If a guy is sufficiently worked up he'll do almost anything you ask.
posted by desjardins at 9:45 AM on October 6, 2009

1. Turn shaving into foreplay. Repeat as needed.

2. Make him a bet - or a deal - he can't refuse. Surely there's something he's been pestering you to do? Ironically, "I lost a bet" is a better protector of his dignity than "My wife made me" or "I looked stupid."

3. Ask for a bald head for your birthday, anniversary, or holiday gift. In tough economic times, inexpensive gifts are winners.

4. Do it on vacation or some similar transitional time. Makes it easier for him to explain to friends and co-workers. "I was on vacation, and thought, why not?"

5. No matter what, keep it positive, and positively reinforce afterwards. Make sure he feels as confident and sexy as possible afterwards.
posted by mikewas at 9:55 AM on October 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

Leave this thread open on your computer before he's supposed to use it.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:57 AM on October 6, 2009

Halloween is coming up. See if you can get him to trim his hair for a costume. Then, if he decides he likes his new do, he'll keep it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:01 AM on October 6, 2009

As someone who uses clippers on his head, can I just add that there isn't much sexy about it. It's a nice idea, but I'm sceptical, especially if Mr Anonymous from the OP is sensitive about hair loss.

I hated Mrs MM clipping my hair for the first time. Now I do it myself. Every time I get a mass of small, itchy hairs down my neck. So I always do it just before a shower. It's not sexy.

My [serious] tip is to tell him you think he'd look sexier and younger with his hair clipped. Don't sweeten the pill. He's kidding himself. We've all had sartorial disasters and we've all wished someone told us sooner.

He might be sensitive, but your killer argument is that you have a vested interest in him looking sexier and, unlike him, get to see his head from lots of angles.

As a close cropped gent it also helps, incidentally, if you don't have a pasty-white winter head. If you can wait that long, I suggest clipping his head before you go away on a holiday. That way if he hates it, you've at least got a couple of weeks for it to grow back before you see friend and family.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:13 AM on October 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

I actually saw a guy in his late 20s/early 30s on the bus yesterday whose hair was buzzed very, very short in a way that blended with his similarly close-cropped sideburns. He was super foxy, and i was sitting there appreciating the view for some minutes before I noticed that it looked like he'd probably chosen the style to minimize his thinning hair on top. When I realized that, I thought the guy was not only deliciously sexy, but also wise and self aware.

Thus, I agree with stressing that it's a cool, sexy thing to do, that every time you looked at it you'd get a little shiver from the hotness. It's also a thing that really projects confidence by taking a thing can be a source of shame and embarrassment (thinning hair) and turning it into both a fashion statement and a statement to the world that you're a man with nothing to hide who feels great about himself. Which frankly, is sexy in and of itself.
posted by mostlymartha at 10:36 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am 26 and started losing my hair when I was 17. Slowly at first with the receding temples, but now its at the point where I'm starting to get the little "island" of hair in the front.

After growing my hair out long in college while I could still pull it off to have the experience...I bit the bullet and buzzed my head down to a 0 on the clippers. Yeah, it took some getting used to at first, but I received nothing but complements from people because I have a great shaped head. Apparently I'm a natural for this style.

Some perks to mention to him once you broach the initial topic:

1. Depending on how fast his hair grows, he may only need to buzz it once or twice a week to maintain. Figure it takes about 10 min. w/ a good set of clippers to buzz and then you shower, and then compare that to how much you spend on your hair every day. He will appreciate the time savings.

2. Calculate how much he spends on hair product (especially if he's using anything like Rogaine) over the course of a year and let him buy a guy toy with the savings if he does it.

3. Reiterate the lack of maintenance needed for this hairstyle. It may seem like a pain in the butt at first to keep buzzing it, but really its not that big a deal and when you do the math and compare it to just styling your hair normally, there is usually a HUGE time savings. Plus you don't care if it rains anymore.

Those are my three. Sometimes you just have to trash his ego and then rebuild it after the fact. If he's been losing his hair for a while and has a bad combover, I'm SURE he is aware of the looks he gets in public. Make sure you take him somewhere public with lots of young attractive women immediately after he buzzes it. Try not to be jealous when women start checking him out--they will because self-inflicted baldness demonstrates confidence and is sexy.

I used to cringe inside when someone commented on my hairloss and made fun of me. Now I honestly believe that I look better with a shaved head than I ever did with hair and I have no qualms about pointing that out to them. And then letting them rub my head--that's always fun.
posted by Elminster24 at 10:59 AM on October 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

Almost forgot...also tell him to spend a couple hours reading this forum.
posted by Elminster24 at 11:02 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Personally, I think that there's no substitute for honesty. I may not be in the majority, but I think that one's closest friends have a duty to be honest about such things, especially when the truth hurts. And, no one is closer than you. Yeah, it may suck to be him for a few hours, but he'll be much better off in the long run.
posted by Citrus at 11:35 AM on October 6, 2009

"I want you to shave your head. In solidarity, I'll shave my nether regions."

Heck, I got hair like Buckwheat; that'd get the clippers out for me>
posted by teg4rvn at 11:39 AM on October 6, 2009 [5 favorites]

Sorry to re-comment, but I just want to add that Evangeline hit the nail on the head (no pun intended). This often happens: someone has an extremely minor issue they want to bring up with their spouse/partner, which they're perfectly capable of explaining to random strangers in a few words, but they feel that the straightforward explanation would somehow offend their spouse's sensibilities. So they spend lots of time looking for a fancy Rube Goldberg-esque way to reach the desired result. The more time they spend doing that, the more they'll send off a vibe of "I'm trying really hard not to offend you." You've gotta figure the spouse will see through the artfulness and translate it: "Oh, so you're saying I'd look better with a shaved head than with this combover?"
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:41 AM on October 6, 2009

My mother has tried to get my father to ditch his combover forever (he's 70 now) and for whatever reason (stubbornness, fear of change, I have no idea) he absolutely refuses. No matter how many comments on how nice/attractive/sexay non-combover hairstyles are on balding men, it doesn't matter. His children all joke about it, he is well aware that he's rocking and outdated, heavily ridiculed hairstyle. But he likes what he likes and damn it, he's sticking with it. So, y'know, be prepared for that.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:44 PM on October 6, 2009

If you're talking about convincing him to shave his head, give him a Headblade. But, still, a lot of guys are going to be hesitant about shaving their heads, because of the potential for nicks and cuts, as well as exposing old scars, etc. And many just don't find a crew cut version of their semi-bald pate all that flattering, either.

If your guy is committed to his comb-over, how about letting him know you'd stand behind him for getting restoration surgery (or a good weave) if he still has enough donor area? He may really want hair, not a cueball. If getting hair by transplant or regularly maintained weave is what makes him happy, wouldn't you still be happy just to get rid of the combover?
posted by paulsc at 1:51 PM on October 6, 2009

Nthing the linkage of shaved head to sex. Reinforce the "bald head gets me frisky" meme. Plus, he then gets to tell his buddies how he "did it for the nookie". ;-)

Get a Headblade. Shave your man's noggin for him in the shower. Proceed to demonstrate the libidinal positive nature of said grooming.

You can lead a horse to water... and if he knows he's getting blow immediately after, he'll usually let you shave his head.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:56 PM on October 6, 2009

I can add something to this I think. I have a normal head of hair, but I have at various times shaved my head, both beard-trimmer short and lex-luthor bald.

So tell your husband to read this:

On the practical side, being bald is great. You roll out of bed in the morning, throw on your clothes and BAM, you're ready to go.

As far as looks:

(a) People who know you will be surprised, and probably comment. Then they'll get used to it and forget about it. That process takes about 10 minutes.

(b) People who don't know you won't think twice about it. The bald look is very common and not even really given a second thought these days.

(c) There's really no such thing as having a "good head" or "bad head" for baldness. They're heads. Maybe some are marginally better than others, but seriously, they're all about the same.

(d) Anything is better than the comb-over. It doesn't matter what else you do, going bald will be an IMPROVEMENT.

(e) Finally, most importantly: Going bald SEEMS like a big deal if you've never done it before. It's not. AFTER you've done it, and given yourself a week to be comfortable with it, you'll be like, "This is SO not a big deal. I should have done this a long time ago."

- AJ

PS One final note: Hair grows back faster than you think. That's why I stopped blade-shaving, and began just doing a quick weekly scrub with a good beard trimmer. Keeping myself smoothly bald was getting to be too much work!

PPS And your hair will grow back fine. I've gone back-and-forth between hair, razor-bald and trimmer-bald numerous times.
posted by Alaska Jack at 2:16 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't have any hair issues yet, but I do know that as a husband, my main audience is my wife. Yes, I like to think other women may find me attractive, but ultimately the one I'm trying to get into bed is my wife, so what the others think is pretty low on the list.

I'd personally prefer my wife just told me. I probably would have a little bit of "aw man, how long have I looked dumb?" but I'd get over it once I fixed the problem and saw the positive result from my wife.

Just tell him. Don't make a game of it. It's a problem you could literally solve completely in 5 minutes.

I remember when my dad went from comb-over to shorter/kinda slicked back. It made a huge difference and everyone loved it. Heck, the first five minutes of ever conversation he had was all about how good he looked. I imagine that did more for his ego than 5 years of Rogain prescriptions ever did.
posted by toekneebullard at 2:47 PM on October 6, 2009

Since he's been hanging onto this bad habit for about half his lifetime, I suggest demarking it as a special event; I think mikewas has excellent suggestions on this. Seconding that vacation time is ideal for a radical style change -- after all, you should look a bit different after a vacation..

Also, see related thread; see especially this comment, which points to a Patrick Stewart interview on this very subject. Now, I'm absolutely not advocating force or deception, but if you're into playacting, you could go for the Samson & Delia angle, with the key difference that he's regaining, rather than losing strength (liberation from the old fogey look & all that..)
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 3:51 PM on October 6, 2009

Look, the "bald guy with the shaved head" is this decade's combover, we just don't have the proper distance to appreciate it yet. Just encourage him to get a short, normal haircut.
posted by pullayup at 4:31 PM on October 6, 2009

I'd recommend he stay away from the Headblade, at least at first, for a couple of reasons:

1. Bald down to the skin is a big jump, even for guys who have hair that is 1/4" to 1/2".

2. I used one a few times, was careful, watched some how-to videos beforehand, and afterward, my head burned worse than Michael Jackson in a Pepsi commercial. Big, red, ugly, splotchy, painful razor burn.

I suggest you show him this video, and then say "Or, you could just cut it short."
posted by 4ster at 5:06 PM on October 6, 2009

Not really the same, but sort of: my husband hung onto his mullet for long, long, LONG past when it was no longer cool. Finally, I just told him: dude, you're wearing a mullet. Yes, ten years ago I said it was great how you had those curls in the back, but its time for them to go. I don't think you look attractive in that hairstyle any more.

He cut it the next day.
posted by anastasiav at 5:12 PM on October 6, 2009

Ask him, "Have you ever considered shaving your head?"

What does he say?

If he seems defensive or embarrassed to talk about it, shrug. Say, "I just think you'd look really hot with your head shaved. Would you want to try it?"

Maybe just being direct might work better than trying to maneuver him into it.
posted by woot at 6:24 PM on October 6, 2009

Get him to do it at a big cancer fundraiser.
posted by demagogue at 7:26 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Man, your husbands must be dumb asses if they fall for all that "Honey? I was just looking at this picture of {bald celebrity}, and..." crap. Doesn't matter what you say - it's going to hurt his feelings. You're going to hurt them A LOT, because this isn't just about how his hair is now - it's about him having to swallow that he's looked this stupid for two decades.

So just tackle it head on. "Honey? Your combover is an embarrassment. Yes, that's harsh and yes, you're hurt. Let's not dwell on the past. Be a man, get over it and shave your fucking head already."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:51 PM on October 6, 2009

Mod note: few comments removed - this is really not the best place for your yarmulke jokes
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:42 AM on October 9, 2009

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