The Desolate Landscape of My Very Bald Head

A few days ago, I shaved my head.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I had my head shaved. In a pub. In front of a happy and drunken crowd. With a Celtic band playing a merry tune while the barber sheered me like a sheep. All in all, I’d have to call the evening a success, because if you’re going to go out and have a few drinks and do something inadvisable, it’s surely better to be compared to a sheep than to wake up next to one.

But okay, if you must know, the experience was not at all like getting wasted and  waking up with a new tattoo… though a few of the participants were just sauced enough that it made me wonder whether they’d wake up the next morning wondering what exactly happened to all their hair. What we were actually doing was a fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing research into pediatric cancers. The rather novel approach that St. Baldrick’s takes is to have people raise money by pledging to shave their heads in solidarity with cancer patients. And for reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture, their events tend to be staged in Irish pubs, which frankly I think is genius. I also chose to donate my hair to an organization that will turn it into a wig for someone who needs it. All in all, it was a win-win. I got to help a couple of good causes, have  few drinks, and enjoy the fellowship of other people who think that getting shaved in public constitutes a good time.

In the run up to the big event, people kept asking me if I was nervous or if I’d changed my mind. Even our fabulous barber — Robert from Euphoria Salon in Durango — asked me if I was sure before he started cutting.

What have I done? And why does my head feel SO MESMERIZING?

I was sure. I was pretty sure I was going to have a really silly-looking bald head, but I was also quite sure all that hair would grow back again. I was ready to join the ranks of the bald and beautiful. My friends online and off had pledged a staggering $1,323 to see the deed done. And sure, most of the bald-and-beautiful people who came to mind were guys, like Patrick Stewart and Hugh Dillon, but Sinead O’Connor and Demi Moore had certainly proved that women could pull off the look, too. Plus, once I was bald, there would be a new kinship between us. I would be initiated into a sacred society: a society of increased light refraction and a yearning for warm hats.

The obvious next step would be me and Hugh Dillon — because since we’re both bald, we’re totally tight now — forming a bald-headed detective agency and fighting crime together.

But failing that, I knew I’d at least get an evening’s entertainment out of it, and anyway I’d been reliably informed that if I went to this pub I’d be able to get a shepherd’s pie (and it was delicious, by the way).  I was committed. And I haven’t regretted it. I watched a steady stream of brave souls — some with more hair to lose than others — take their turn in the chair, and it was crowded enough that you practically had to fight for your chance to be shaved. There were people getting shaved who’d only just signed up on the spot. It was a madhouse of the best kind. I finally got my turn in the chair and Patrick Crossing played on in the background like I had my own personal theme music while Robert took the clippers to my head. And when it was all over, I didn’t feel like I’d lost anything. Together we raised $5933 for St. Baldrick’s, but just as importantly, we addressed the important problem of cranial ventilation.

I hung around and watched some more of the shavings, took a ridiculous cell phone photo of myself and sent it to some of my friends, and then facing an hour’s drive home again, I made my way back to my truck. The moon was ridiculously huge in the sky and I sang along to The Swell Season all the way home and was very bald and very happy.

Since then, I’ve learned some important things about being bald. Well, buzzed anyway. Like for instance, when you step out of the shower and the cold air hits your head it feels kind of like your entire scalp has been covered in a thin layer of Icy Hot. It’s surprisingly pleasant. Your head will be cold but you will also find it surprisingly difficult to put on a hat because suddenly your scalp is nothing but sandpaper-like friction. Also, people are going to want to touch your head. They won’t be able to help themselves. (I’m fine with it, but I do charge $1 for the experience.) And regrettably, you will not magically transform into G.I. Jane or discover your inner Spartan warrior just because you got rid of your hair, which frankly I find kind of disappointing. (I’d been standing at the mirror and practicing my “This. Is. SPARTA!” all week.)

I’ll be glad to have my long hair back… in a few years time, which is how long my hair takes to grow. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the change (I’m a changeaholic, and just shaving my head is probably an easier change to adjust to than, say, shaving my head and moving to a Tibetan monastery to find my inner zen), and I’ve got to say that I’m loving the increased airflow.

Many thanks to Sharon Tiesdell Smith for taking these fab photos of me and my new baldness! Her blog is awesome, go there and read about her adventures with her awesome horse!


35 thoughts on “The Desolate Landscape of My Very Bald Head

  1. Whenever I get a haircut, I often regret it afterward

  2. Love it!! Well done with the fundraising total and well done making that kind of commitment to cancer patients. I am certain it is appreciated.xx

  3. You look great and you did a wonderful thing! Now you’ll get to watch your hair grow back like it’s your own personal Chia Pet!

    • Your comment prompted me to comment that I should dye my hair green and everybody in the office started egging me on. I’m totally not doing it, though… the buzz cut is awkward enough without going full-on punk. :D But one of my coworkers is now talking about his dream of creating an actual Chia Pet head where he’d have actual greenery growing on his cranium. INSANITY.

  4. “Oooh! That sounds so tempting!” She says because of, or maybe in spite of, her morning mohawk.

    Seriously, you look beautiful!

    • Thanks Tina! It’s funny, practically every long-haired person I talked to about this whole thing said that they’d thought a time or two about shaving their heads, as well. It’s mostly made me look just like my brother when he came home from basic training, but whatever. :D I’m looking forward to trying out a few cute short ‘dos before it really grows out again. :)

  5. I paid the $1 and rubbed her head. Since then I’ve had excellent luck.


    You seriously look like you’re about to go Ripley on some !@#!@$ alien who thinks it’s gonna mess with Juno.

    • I know, it came out unexpectedly bad-ass! Not quite as bad-ass as Hugh Dillon, but whatever, it’s fine. :D I forgot about Ripley and her awesome buzz cut. I’ve totally concluded though that the women who can pull off the bald look are the ones who are more feminine than me. I just seem super-butch. ;D

      • Rereading this exchange now makes me so happy. Totally curious how I’m going to look. I might have to put a picture of my bald self next to you and Hugh Dillon, FYI.

  7. I’m so proud of you roomy!!! xox

  8. This is so totally amazing. Brilliant and well done! Horse people are such champions!

  9. Wow. I’m impressed! You pretty much rock!

  10. I am very impressed! You did good.

  11. Congratulations! Good on you for going through with it… you did a great thing. And you rock the baldness!

  12. Good work!! If a pub in my area offered this, I’d probably jump in with both feet (not that they need shaving, despite my hobbit origins…. jk……). Sadly, I lack the cheekbones of Demi Moore or artistic ability of Sinead O’Connor…(not saying that Demi doesn’t have artistic ability…), so I’d just be a pinheaded bald 52 year old woman with a really cold head :-), but I could have a bonding experience with my favorite bald hottie, Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel….

    • LOL, yes, it’s definitely been an interesting (and occasionally cold!) experience. I hadn’t realized how much I’d miss my hair until it was gone, and I definitely hadn’t remembered how nice a low-maintenance hairdo is! I do look very manly, though. I’m getting called “sir” a lot. I’m very jealous of the beautiful feminine-looking women who can pull off things like short hair, ‘boyfriend’ shirts and cargo pants while still looking sexy and female. I just end up looking like a wanna-be frat boy or something. ;D

  13. What a great cause and, oh my, you look fabulous! I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of shaving my head a few years back – very liberating and hassle free! ;-)

  14. Awesome! I did that myself for Locks of Love. haven’t heard of St Baldrick’s or the whole pub thing, but i think it’s VERY cool. and the hair grows back pretty quick . or at least I think so (looks at the hair littering the bathroom…)

    • I hadn’t heard of it either until my local pub did it. I probably wouldn’t participate again — I’m honestly really conflicted about the various cancer research fundraisers and whether they really do anything at all to help anybody — but it was a really good experience this time around. I’m expecting my hair to grow out pretty slowly (I remember it taking a good year or so the first time I grew it out before it had any sort of length) but it sure feels like it’s coming in fast. I guess you notice the daily growth a lot more when there’s so little of it to begin with though! :D

  15. Pingback: A baldness which is full of grandeur | Bright Strange Things

  16. Pingback: The Coming Adventures of a Soon-to-be Baldie | Pinwheels and Poppies

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