Life Lessons & How Tos

From Plugs to Rugs: Geezer’s Guide to Baldness for Seniors

It may begin when folks start calling you “Mr. Clean.” Or when no one asks to borrow your comb anymore.

Or perhaps you’ve noticed that you’re getting more samples of Rogaine than free AOL disks.

You’re getting bald, my fellow geezer, and there’s no way around it.

Or is there? After I wrote my column, “Got a License for that Comb-over?” explaining how some men even use their ear and nose hairs to camouflage bald spots, I got almost 200 reader responses, many sending photos of their proud and shining chrome-domes.

One short letter, in particular, intrigued me.

“I can help you. Give me a call. Mike Kuz”

Mike, it turns out, is in the hair replacement business. Has been most of his 66 years. Mike’s A-Hair-1 store is here in Clearwater, so yesterday, in the cause of wrinklie research, Carolyn and I stopped by to learn what he could do for one pathetic follically challenged 69-year-old coot.

Looking and sounding like a short, thin Reginald Van Gleason, Mike explained that his “hair-loss service” specialized in “perimeter-bond systems” that stay on your head day and night, swimming or skydiving, for five to six weeks at a time.

Then, as your real hair grows up under the rug, unless you want to look like Frankenstein with a low forehead you have Mike remove the “system,” cut your hair, and re-glue the head-falsie back on for another five to six weeks.

Of course, Mike would never use the vulgarisms “rug” or “head-falsie.” This is serious business.

Costly, too. But consider: Isn’t looking like Fabio worth $650, plus a $35 wash, cut, and glue every few weeks? According to Mike, that’s but a quarter the price charged by some of the national dome-doily companies.

Mike himself prefers his personal sky-piece with teeny combs that grab what little original hair he has left. That way, he can take it off at night, giving it a well-earned rest.

It’s not easy being a “system.” Made in China with human hair, they’re subject to bruising and bumping, even bleaching in the Florida sun. Not to mention the sheer torment involved in bungee jumping, scuba diving and other gonzo activities that, according to an infomercial Mike showed me, everyone with “new hair” tries at least once.

Balding Green Giant Cartoon
Such hair-raising adventures prove how far we’ve come since those Depression days when barbers applied huge, sucking vacuum machines to balding noggins, hoping to stimulate the scalp and promote hair growth.

Then there were the painful plugs that, mercifully, faded with Frank Sinatra.

Finally, in a country where there’s a pill for every perversity, daily doses of minoxidil (Rogaine) – results may vary – provided peach fuzz after four months or so. Unfortunately, it also provided fluid retention, chest pain, dizziness, even blistering inside the mouth.

All things considered, a “system” seems the way to go.

Suddenly Trivia: Who won a 1997 poll asking “If you could have anyone’s hair, who’s would it be?” a) Fabio, b) Dolly Parton, c) Marge Simpson, d) Albert Einstein.

Yet the more I think about it, the more I realize that I’m just too sexy for my hair.

Consider: Is a man’s scent sexy? His voice? His muscles? His one-track mind? Of course they are! So, I ask you, how can male-pattern baldness be anything less than manly?

Less hair means there’s less to compete with everything that is good about a man’s face. His eyes are stronger. His jaw, firmer. His smile, far sexier.

Think of baldness as growing taller than your hair.

Let me make this bald statement: For me, treatment of hair loss is a loser’s game.

If anyone asks, I tell ’em that my hair rubbed off after hitting the headboard too often. I am BaldMan!

Eat your heart out, Fabio.

Of course, if you look like you were abducted by aliens who did some creepy experiment on your head, or if you’re always thinking about what other people are thinking about your much higher than usual forehead, go see Mike or someone like him.

My God, man, you have nothing else to lose.

Suddenly Trivia Answer: c) Marge Simpson won with 26 percent of the votes. Albert Einstein lost by a hair at 25 percent. Fabio claimed only 11 percent. And poor Dolly Parton? She got but 7 percent.

For others in this series, go to “Senior Health Issues: The Real Truth About Getting Old



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