BALDY. Slaphead. Egghead. Kojak. Just some of the less-than-imaginative insults my eight-year-old self and merry band of urchins dished out with aplomb at the ice cream man Franco. Now, I've never claimed to have been the brightest kid on the block, but ridiculing our main source of choc ices and caramel wafers because of his lack of follicle fecundity wasn't the smartest move. But Franco gave as good as he got. Indeed the “colourful” language he used in response to our daily abuse did introduce us to a world of vocabulary that none of us even knew existed.

Looking back, never did it occur to me that one day I too would be joining the ranks of smooth pates. Even though one of the main indicators for male pattern baldness is genetics and the fact my father's lacklustre locks had deserted him in his 30s, I thought I was immune. I was convinced hair loss had skipped a generation and I’d have a full and flowing bonce well into old age.

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Anyway, the topic of hair, or rather lack of it, has reared its shiny head recently, largely prompted by the 10-year anniversary of a certain colleague's courageous decision to have a hair transplant. Of course, discussion surrounding his life-altering “procedure”, has been conducted with all the sincerity and sympathy you would expect. Not a snigger or stifled cough has been detected once, well nearly.

According to our good friend Mr Google, by the age of 35, approximately 66 per cent of men will have experienced some degree of hair loss and by 50, 85% will have significantly thinner hair. Which means that those blokes who sport a fully furnished barnet into middle age are the exception rather than the norm. So, you may ask, what’s the problem? It’s not as if we’re alone in going bald – it happens to most men. In fact, it’s those who retain their youthful look that should by feeling left out, a bit odd, ageless, man-child hairy freaks, if you will.

Well, for those of you who have witnessed the gradual retreat of their hairline in their advancing years will know it’s not quite that simple.

There’s a moment when it happens, when you realise all is not well upstairs. For me, the shocking moment occurred in my mid-20s while I was waiting to be served at a corner shop in Edinburgh. I nonchalantly glanced at the black and white security monitor across the counter and noticed a chap standing there, whose head was brightly reflecting the shop’s lights. Initially, I was confused, as I was the only person waiting to be served. Then it struck me like the crashing cymbals of a deranged monkey toy. I was staring at the image of CCTV camera trained on me from behind. I was looking at my own balding head.

Taken to the extreme, for many people, alopecia or thinning hair can result in a loss of self-esteem and cause depression and anxiety. Fortunately, I can honestly say I’ve haven’t suffered from any of those symptoms, but if I’m equally honest I’d rather have hair than not. I’m sure somewhere out there studies will have been conducted, covering the psychological stages of going bald – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

These, in fact, are the five stages associated with bereavement, and although I’m not suggesting going bald is the same as losing a loved one, there has to be parallels, only to a much lesser degree, of course.

Firstly, the valiant but futile attempts to cover up the inevitable (hair gels and sprays, strategic combing, hair-drying techniques, dyes and so on). All this stress will be followed by frustration, bitterness, even resentment. Pointless questions: “Why do all the members of the Rolling Stones still have hair and I don’t? I’m 30 years younger than them. Life’s so unfair.”

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At this stage, rational thought goes out the window. You make promises to never take your hair for granted again, “Please God, just spare me”. Then reality sinks in. No matter what you say or do will halt the march of time. Healthy eating, exercise, plenty of sleep will just not realign your DNA make-up, wake up those clapped out follicles and get them back to work.

Finally, one dull grey winter’s morning you face the mirror, make “that” decision and march solemnly off to the barbers. There, waiting for you will be a kindly elderly gentleman with a knowing look in his eye. No words will pass between the pair of you, in fact he won’t even have to ask you what you want. He just knows, and out they come . . . the clippers. Five minutes later, the job is done. The youth that was once you has passed, the grieving is over and acceptance has set in. Suddenly the clouds part (even though your long lost hair never will) and out of the barbers emerges the new man and, yes, he’s a baldy, a slaphead and an egghead. But he’s also free of brushes, hairdryers, gels and bad hair days.

So, anyone, fearing life without hair, don’t fret. It’s not all bad. We may not have the gravity defying, architecturally perfect hair of Ewan McGregor or David Tennant, but who cares. Just think Bruce Willis and Sean Connery. Now, where did I put that baseball cap?

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