Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Does Head Shape Matter?

“But you have such a nice, round head.” That’s what people say to me.

It’s a compliment, I guess, but not one I ever expected or hoped to hear. I smile and say thank you but don’t know how to compartmentalize the information. It doesn’t fit into any known categories of physical beauty: skin tone, eye color, thinness, femininity, definition of cheek bones, tightness of skin, softness of features. Having a perfectly round head is meaningless by societal standards, like having a perfectly arched armpit or a lovely knuckle. No scale exists for these features. And without a measure for the object of flattery or praise, the compliment seems meaningless, a mere comment or statement of fact.

It’s true that my head is round and mostly lump-free. But I only know that because I don’t have hair.

And it’s only a compliment because I don’t have hair.

People with hair don’t care what shape their head is. They also don’t know what shape their head is.

“You look so much better bald than I would,” they gush. Because they have peanut heads, bumpy or lumpy or scarred scalps, giant craniums with craters or knots. So they say.

Now they can find out—kind of, anyway.

For a small fee, “Ofer” offers a virtual head shaving. You submit a photo, and you get four versions of you as a baldie. It’s supposed to help you see how much better you’d look bald than patchy or half bald or dramatically thinning, so you can build the confidence you need to just shave it off already. Check it out. Even if you don't want to try it, you may want to look at those who have become imaginary baldies.

You can also see what a variety of celebs would like like if they were bald. See what you think.

Now, I have to say: Some of the celebs look better than others. It could be merely an issue of facial features. Those with the best facial features don’t need to hide under their hair; they are stunning without it. But I can’t help but wonder if Ofer gives his personal favorites better looking scalps than others.

Which brings me back to my original thought: Does head shape matter? Is being bald any easier when you have a nice, round head?

I don't think so. Either you're devastated and you don't care about your head shape, or you're okay with it, and you don't care about your head shape.

I think maybe it's something to say when people don't know what else to say.

The good news is I'm okay with my hair loss now. I embrace it. And though head shape compliments don't make me blush or glow and smile, I still like them. Because I know that the people who say it mean well.

© 2009 Christy Bailey


Mel said...

Head shape is coming into the light more as our society lets loose of the traditional roles that hair has played. What was once taboo (such as tattoos) is now acceptable. We are finally headed in the right direction as a least a little bit.

But I think that when we meet you for the first time, hear about your medical issue, we don't know what to say. We want to compliment you because you are so loveable and instantly charming, head shape is the easiest thing for some to say I guess. People don't know how to react to something they can't relate to...I see this all the time as a stroke survivor, so they say the nicest thing they can think of. Hoping that we aren't still fragile over our situation they blurt out a compliment they probably think they would want to hear if they were in your shoes.

mojee said...

the virtual baldness was fascinating. i found that i was drawn to eyes once the hair was missing. after awhile i didn't miss the hair and was noting how interesting the celebrity's eyes are. where do you find this information?

Anonymous said...

That 's what people told me when my hair was almost got "You'll look good, you've got a nice shaped head." The comment doesn't mean much unless I am comfortable with my head and agree (in reality it took me a while accept these complements). That said, were I woman, I doubt the comment would have provided any comfort (or it would have taken me much longer to accept it) since, as you've pointed out, there is a greater expectation in society that woman have hair. That said, the person making the comment would impact my perception of it. A trusted friend would be perceived much more favorably than a stranger I perceived as being disingenuous.

That virtual baldness sight is pretty interesting, though I suspect they use the same virtual image for many of the celebs. I would agree with you that some of the celebs look better than others (as an example to me Hallie Berry and Eva Longaria seemed like they just had different styles). Still others (John McCain and Jason Alexander) look virtually the same to me.

On a more philosophical point. Why should telling someone they have a nice head (man or woman) be any different than telling them they have nice eyes or a nice smile? Isn't the measure my opinion as another human being? Do we need some sort of societal definition impose on to give value to a genuinely expressed compliment. I'm some respect comparing to conventional standards (and remember there are other standards out there), simply reinforces those standards (and the status quo).


I guess that was the question: is it a compliment even if there isn't an existing scale? And I guess it is, really...and I just need to learn to find meaning in these new things. It's not like it was offensive or anything...more like hmmmm...Thanks for the great posts.

Where do I find these stuff? I spend way too much time these days surfing the Internet!! LOL