The young seaman strolled the deck of his ship in the freezing midwinter cold of the North China Sea. It was 1945 and he had the 8 to 12 watch. Though bundled up otherwise, he was bareheaded in spite of the chill wind and the rocking of the ship as she proceeded to her destination. “Put your watchcap on, Seaman!” came the captain’s voice over the bullhorn. He was 19 years old and had the idea that the cold wind would encourage his blond hair to become thicker. Unless challenged, he remained bareheaded through all weather changes, still clinging to the idea that his hair, which was beginning to thin, would benefit from exposure to the elements.
From his middle school years, he had assiduously used all the hair products advertised to enhance and make them look stylish. He used Wildroot Cream Oil, and Vitalis, plus several others, (all containing alcohol incidentally) . They all were made very attractive by the use of clever advertising jingles on the radio which enticed all the boys.
One of the other seamen also found his hair to be receding, but came up with a clever idea. When this eleven month cruise was over, the plan was to arrive in New York. He had read in the back of a magazine that Max Factor, the cosmetic company, made hairpieces for men as well as women. Together, they decided that immediately upon arriving, they would visit Max Factor and have hairpieces made for $45 each. A grand idea!
The only catch came when the ship was diverted to San Francisco!
When hair begins to recede, it has an annoying habit of rushing to its ultimate sparsity. Men seem to go through several stages of handling this unforeseen phenomenon. The style most favored is the “comb-over” favored by Donald Trump among others. Some men who were gifted with a natural wave, will encourage a side part. The name for this hair loss aspect is “male pattern baldness”, and seems to be hereditary, coming from the mother’s side of the family, though not infrequently both fathers exhibit the condition.
Ultimately, through all stages of watching their hair come off into their hairbrushes, a perfectly clean, and not unpleasant scalp is revealed. Today’s style, for those with hair loss and for young men who just like the Yul Brynner look, is sometimes a clean-shaven head. However, most men preserve enough hair to require a regular haircut, thus retaining the control over what style they prefer.
And the young midshipman sixty-six years later? He needs a haircut every few weeks, and his wife, who has known him for 67 years through all degrees of hair loss, is his barber, and still finds him extremely attractive.