Those of you who read Josh Sway regularly know that I've been balding for a while. Well, a month ago, I decided to bite the bullet and just shave everything off. This article is about the results.
Preface: The many faces of the bald look
To those of you blessed with hair, it may seem odd that there are different bald looks. I used to be in the same boat: you just shave it all off down to the skin. After all, you can't possibly risk looking like George Costanza unless you are Jason Alexander or someone equally rich and famous.
But, standing in front of the mirror, clippers in hand, it becomes immediately apparent there are plenty of options. Do I turn my head into a shiny beige cueball? Do I go with the Jason Statham look? Facial hair or no facial hair? Goatee, 5 o'clock shadow, full beard, or just a few days of thick stubble? Since I have some hair on the top of my head, I opted for clippers and a few days of stubble. I have thick fast growing facial hair so it's easy to maintain a few days of stubble and it seems to work with my facial structure. I also discovered an interesting trick to make it appear that I have more hair than I do on the top by letting the top grow out while continually shaving the sides. Don't get me wrong, it's obvious I'm mostly bald, but it helps frame my face just a little bit.
The volatility of attractiveness
Anyways, you probably don't care much about my grooming technique. What you really want to know is how going from having hair to not has impacted my success with women. The answer lies in a concept I like to call the volatility of attractiveness. This concept is best understood by example. Ask 3 women how they would rate a guys' looks, on a 1-10 scale. One guy (call him Adam) may get rated a 7 by each of the 3 girls. Another guy (call him Ben) may get rated a 5 by one, a 7 by another, and a 9 by the third. Both have an average rating of 7, but the second guy has a much higher 'volatility of attractiveness'. On average, Ben and Adam are equally attractive. However, more women think Ben is uglier than Adam, and at the same time, more women think Ben us better looking than Adam.
For me, going by a month of anecdotal data, I would say that my average attractiveness level has gone down a small amount, but my 'volatility of attractiveness' has increased dramatically. Whereas I was once maybe a '6' or a '7', I'm now more of a 5.5-6.5; however, I'm surprisingly noticing MORE women thinking I'm an 8, 9, or 10 than a couple months ago. The downside is I am also finding that there is a large contingent of women who once found me reasonably attractive who are now uninterested.
A method to the madness?
Is there more to it than just random volatility? I think there is. I have noticed significant differences in the type of women who are more and less interested on online dating sites since I shaved my head. One noticeable trend is age. I'm 32 which means the majority of women who contact me (or match me on Tinder) are in the 25-39 age range. There's no doubt that the shift has skewed a bit older since I shaved my head.
Geography also seems to be impacted. I am between NY and Florida a decent amount. In NY, I most definitely took a hit on Tinder going from having hair to having none. In Florida; however, I noticed an uptick in matches. Cultural, ethnic, and racial factors are clearly at play. Anecdotally, it appears non-Americans don't seem to mind the baldness, and many actually seem to prefer it, at least on me.
Is it different in person?
Pictures are one thing, but everyone knows real life is another. Could it be that I just photograph well bald but once I'm seen in person I'm more George Costanza than Jason Statham? If anything, I've noticed the opposite. My first date success rate has been just as high, if not higher, than when I had hair. Also, when I've been out to clubs and bars in "real life" I haven't noticed any drop off in my success rates; but it's much harder to evaluate without the much more quantitative measures available online.
Will I keep it?
I have some hair on the top of my head, and when combined with the thickness and waviness of my hair can create an illusion that I'm "thinning" but not George Costanza. In other words, bald is still a choice for me. However, at this point in time it is a choice I am going to continue to make. I haven't noticed enough of a drop off in my attractiveness level to most women to warrant hanging on till the last follicle is gone and I'd rather get used to (and get others used to) an appearance I will be able to sustain for years to come.
Don't fear going bald
There was a time in my 20s when I really feared this day. I also expected it to come much sooner given I started losing my hair at age 21. However, now that it's here, and has been here for a month, it's really not a big deal. Granted, I have a muscular physique and a well shaped head and both of those help me 'pull off the look' but I still can't imagine that's all there is to it. I think at the end of the day, at least at my age (early 30s), being bald just isn't that big a deal. So to those of you who are dreading the day you have to bite the bullet and shave your head: relax, it's probably not going to make much of a difference anyways.