I wrote several months ago about how, leading up to my 60th birthday, I shed 35 pounds, about the same amount that a small child would weigh. One person asked me if I was going to put out an Amber alert for the toddler I’d lost. I’m happy to report that five months later, even over the holidays, I’ve managed to maintain my weight loss.
But that was only part one of the new me. I promised myself that if I lost a lot of weight, I would reward myself. So not long after I brought my weight down, I got a hair transplant. That’s right – you know all those Boomers getting cosmetic surgery? I’m now one of them.
I hated being bald. I hated the way I laughed it off: “I used to have a receding hairline, but now it’s just gone.” I hated the way my wife laughed it off: “You have more face to love.”
Truth be told, what I really wanted was the hairline I had when I was sixteen. I was cute when I was sixteen. The surgeon, however, informed me that our scalps tighten as we age. A sixteen-year-old hairline on a sixty-year-old scalp would have just looked weird. I accepted her advice.
The result? It’s not as thick as I wanted it to be, but it’s still a work in progress. It looks better than it did before. I now have to (get to) brush my hair in the morning, which I haven’t done for years. I also had a new professional photograph taken, now visible above and on my Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
But here’s the strange thing: nobody notices it. I don’t know whether they’re doing it intentionally or unintentionally. Friends look at the newly svelte me and say, “You look great!” Friends sense that there’s something different, but they refrain from saying, “Didn’t you used to be bald?”
I guess I can understand this. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t walk up to a girl from high school and say, “Who the hell stole your crow’s feet?” or “Have your boobs always been that big?” I also imagine that nobody walks up to Faye Dunaway or Meg Ryan and says, “You know, you really should sue the person who did that to you.”
So if you’re shy about pointing out cosmetic surgery, don’t be. I can dispense with your questions easily. To wit:
- Yes, it was painful. For weeks I felt like I banged my head on something and for months my scalp itched something awful.
- Yes, it’s my hair. I have a smile-shaped scar across the back of my head where they harvested the follicles.
- No, they’re not plugs. The technicians transplanted 4,400 follicles from the back of my head to the top.
- No, it wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be.
- Yes, I am now officially a hypocrite. After speaking out for years against breast augmentation and botox, I submitted to the male equivalent.
Is this the quieter equivalent of a midlife crisis? Perhaps it is. But I have to say that I’m pretty darn happy with it. My wife said it wasn’t necessary – and even yelled at me as I was going into surgery that I didn’t have to do it. I think she thought that, between losing weight and gaining hair, I wanted to start having affairs, but I quietly informed her that I wanted to look better for her.
I didn’t tell her that I wanted to look better for me too. Because even if nobody else does, I notice the new me.