Print Edition: January 25, 2012
The time has come to address an issue that society has ignored for far too long. Gossipers whisper about it at the local coffee shop. The polite avert their eyes as not to draw attention to the obvious. Mothers maneuver their children in the opposite direction to avoid pointing and uncomfortable questions. Sadly, those afflicted have deluded themselves into thinking no one is aware of their malady. Yes, I’m talking about the comb-over.
For the few unacquainted with the comb-over, it is the physical result of a man forcing his hair in an unnatural direction to disguise, mostly unsuccessfully, a condition commonly referred to as male pattern baldness. Male pattern baldness is no one’s fault. The sufferer did nothing wrong. It is a result of genetic sensitivity of causing hair follicles to shrink, and there is absolutely nothing that anyone could have done.
Victims generally go through several stages before the full comb-over affliction occurs. First there is denial. During this stage sufferers notice multiple loose hairs circling the drain after a shower. Dark pillowcases are purchased to make the discarded hairs less noticeable in the morning. The afflicted may suddenly begin to believe hats are making a comeback.
The next stage is guilt: the sufferer often feels he is to blame for what is occurring. During this stage, loved ones should be on the lookout for certain telltale signs or changes in behavior. Does the sufferer cancel his subscription to the Playboy channel? Is he spending less time in the bathroom? Does he stop insulting his mother-in-law?
If corrective treatment is not undertaken, the final stage is adaptation and delusion. This is the most tragic of all the stages. Here the man will spend vast sums of money to try to alter the unalterable. It starts with hair-plumping shampoo, then hair growth medication and sadly in extreme cases even hair plug transplants. Ultimately of course the inevitable result is the dreaded full blown comb-over.
In the most tragic cases the man will allow hair in unaffected areas of his head to grow to four or five times its regular length and flip the hair over to hide the bald section of his scalp. Apparently comb-over affliction also alters the man’s ocular system, as he perceives that 12-inch hair shellacked in place with hair spray appears natural. Specialists often refer to this as the Trump Syndrome. Do not be fooled by comb-over variation. Comb-overs can be from side to side, back to front, front to back with a side-to-side flip and in the worst of cases the beard-to-head-twist-and-cover. It is also important to be on the lookout for the not-quite-long-enough comb-over.
Please, if you have a loved one who suffers from comb-over or even if you just see a total stranger walking on the other side of the street with comb-over, I urge you not to stand idly by. If the sufferer won’t take action to end this malady on his own, it is up to the general public to act. Let him know he’s not fooling anyone. Point. Stare. Shout if you must, because the sufferer must be made to acknowledge the problem before a cure can be realized.
We can all work together to solve this problem, and we sure have our work cut out for us. Once society has dealt with the scourge of the comb-over we can move on to the dreaded issue of those guys with beards without moustaches.