Getting older has its benefits. In most cases, you can’t help but become at least a little wiser. The ups and downs level off a bit, helping you stay somewhat more even-keeled. With any luck, you’ve gravitated towards a profession that’s a good fit and your pay reaches new highs.
Then, there’s the crummy part. We’re not all Tom Brady, still slinging deflated footballs at 52 (or however old he is). Physically, we take longer to recover and heal from injuries. We put on weight easier. Our eyes start to mess with us and reading glasses wind up on the Walgreen’s list. And if you’re a dude, sometimes you lose your hair.
This post is all about how your lovely author almost, for a New York minute, thought about pursuing a hair transplant. Although this write up will try to convince you that you don’t need a hair transplant, consider the inspiring story of mega-money man himself, Elon Musk.
Look at that mane! The guy is an icon for innovation and quite simply making sh*t happen. Not that he needed a full head of hair to make PayPal a success, but his image is front and center these days with SpaceX, Tesla, and pot smoking on podcasts.
Gotta look your best for the paparazzi… I wanna be Elon Musk! Or at least steal his hair!!
The Cost of a Hair Transplant
Get your holy-crap goggles strapped-on, people. A hair transplant can cost anywhere from $5K to $20K. Of course, it all depends on how many grafts you need (or choose) to slide from the back of your head to the top.
Most men fall in the $10K zone, but if you’re a chrome dome, expect to double that. Forget about shock loss from a transplant. How about shock loss from cash vanishing from your wallet??
Yours truly (not a chrome dome, but making good progress in that direction) visited a hair replacement clinic here in town for a free consult. Nice people there. The suite was clean and tidy. The waiting room table had a dozen or so gracefully feather-stacked magazines with male models and celebrities on the covers, all (of course) with full heads of hair.
Overall, I found the one and a half hour experience a bit unnerving. The consult guy had had a transplant himself, and it looked pretty good. But admittedly, his revitalized head of hair seemed a bit “off”. Dude could’ve been a distant cousin of Lyle Lovett. But Lyle’s famous pompadour is real. I think??
Anyhow, I should’ve got up and run away right then and there.
But I stuck around. As “Lyle” droned on about the glories of the clinic and their work, I noticed his eyes would often shift to scan my thinning hairline. Oh boy. I might as well have had a patient gown on, with feet dangling off the edge of a pneumatic lift table and a left nut unknowingly exposed.
After getting the download on what’s involved with the procedure, I felt pretty good with the idea. But I was curious how quickly I’d heal up to rejoin the workaday world. I’d have to go maybe two weeks with wearing a hat, or working from home, to avoid showing off the red patches where the transplanted grafts were placed. No big deal.
Towards the end of the chat, Lyle took a series of photos of my head and later showed me on the computer screen where I’d benefit from 2,500 grafts of redistributed follicles. Science! Now I was really feeling good about this crazy hair recovery idea…
Still, $10K is a lot of money. And that figure wasn’t the first one thrown out at me. This particular clinic it seems, likes to quote a higher number up front, only to lop off 25% before you walk out the door. They do this knowing full well its clientele are 99% males with a penchant for negotiation.
Oh, and it’s worth noting: the majority of hair transplant clients make average, middle class pay. You know, the kind of gents who should be putting their hard earned dollars towards their kids’ tuition and mortgage pay-downs?
In my case, I didn’t even have a chance to question the original quote. Lyle just assumed I was a cheap-ass, and with nary a complaint on my part, he came down to $10K. What a sweetheart.
Why You Might Consider a Hair Transplant
The male psyche is a fragile thing. Take it from me. For some gents, it’s a brutal hair loss world. I had friends in college who started losing massive amounts of hair before graduation. To be starting out your career behind the 8-ball as a cue-ball? That’s rough stuff…
I made it through my 20s and 30s with a decent crop of fuzz. Now in my mid-40s, the gig seems to be up. Can’t hide it with products or cute haircuts. So, when a guy like me starts to run out of options for making a thinning head of hair look good, you might understand why I even considered a hair transplant in the first place…
Besides, there’s some compelling stories out there about fellas who boldly go under the knife and come away very satisfied. Take a look at this Elon Musk transformation. Your monkey brain instantly clicks into “What if I did that too? I could pull off an Elon!”
And let’s face it, a full head of hair is what we expect to see in our movie stars, anchormen, erectile dysfunction Rx TV spot actors, and of course, our hair transplant consultants. Give in to the Dark Side.
For $10K (and perhaps another $10K later, after the rest of your hair falls out) you can have a permanent head of hair that’s YOUR hair. And, you can check off one box on the “list of things to not have to worry about anymore” list.
Hair Transplants Simply Aren’t Worth the Cost
Ahh, where to begin…? First of all, there’s that $10,000 hair transplant opportunity cost factor. Suffice it to say, that’s $10,000 you could put to much better use.
For instance, say you’re a 30 year old fighting that wicked inner-vanity. You plop $10,000 down for a few follicles vs. investing those 10 g’s in the S&P500, where those dollars would grow to $314,094 after 40 years. By then you’ll want those dollars to support your new viagra habit!
You could certainly invest all $10,000, but if you’re worried about your appearance, invest $9,000 and splurge the rest on some at-home gym equipment, quality wardrobe pieces, or a tattoo removal procedure.
Besides the money factor, there’s the “pill factor”. All transplant shops love to push Propecia prescriptions on unsuspecting clients. After my consult, I was even given a script to fill at our local pill dispensary. Why not start popping those pills right away? Well, that little piece of paper went straight to the garbage…
Apparently, Propecia works to keep the hair you’ve already got. But apparently, it works so well that its side effects are often brushed aside:
- loss of interest in sex (and trouble enjoying it when you do)
- swelling in your hands or feet
- swelling or tenderness in your breasts
- feeling like you might pass out
- runny nose
- skin rash
Then, there’s the rarely reported or rarely observed side effects. Still very real. If experienced, these tend to have a Severe expression:
- Breast Cancer In A Male Patient
- Giant Hives
- Having Thoughts Of Suicide
If experienced, these tend to have a Less Severe expression
- Low Sperm Count
- Muscle Pain
- Muscle Problems
- Muscle Weakness
- Testicular Pain
Whoa, Nelly! EFF THIS. Wonder if our Commander in-Chief should reconsider his Rx for Propecia?? Yikes…
And then, you can get to know the heroes of the universe. The Mr. Cleans of the galaxy, who have emerged over the years to show us pathetically vain men a better path to accepting hair loss and owning it, LIKE A MAN. Hair transplant? Get real.
I’m not talking about Telly Savalas. That’s some old-school sh*te right there. (Love Telly though. Player’s Club card!)
I’m not even talking about Jean Luc Picard. Though Patrick Stewart rocks a bald head like no other captain of the Starship Enterprise that I’m aware of.
This guy: Jason Statham. The man. Handsome Rob, no less. The one single guy on the planet you know straight away you do not want to [email protected] with. I credit part of that to the bald head. It gives his look the gravitas that’s practically a billboard, screaming, “Hair is for [email protected]!”
So yeah, this guy is the new inspiration for Cubert. Will I ever have the acting chops, the Kung Fu skills, or the look that says “Cross me and I’ll twist you in half, mate!”?? Nah, but I’m good with that, at least until the real Matrix comes along…. Then watch out for Super Kung Fu Frugal Cubert!
What I do want, is to borrow from one of my favorite action stars: his lack-of-hair haircut. Statham started losing his hair in his 20s. Poor chap.
But as soon as his movie-making career shot into high gear at age 32, with Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, the buzz-cut became (and remained) his trademark look.
Heck, even Prince William has gone the way of the buzz-cut, and thank heavens. That comb-over wasn’t doing him any favors.
The Benefits of a Balding Buzz-cut Head
Only one week into my latest experiment, I can rattle off a bunch of bonuses. Some obvious, some not so much:
- You can cut your own dang hair. Quick and easy like. Set the number 1 clip on those shears and go to work!
- No more $ spent on hair product. That goop is expensive! I think I was paying $20 for a little puck of Jonathan Dirt. Not anymore. And bonus, I don’t really need shampoo anymore, not for 1/8 of an inch of hair.
- No more said product winding up on your pillowcase. Nothing beats a fresh pillowcase every week, right? But having to swap out in the middle of the week because Jonathan Dirt wanted to cling to that case… No thanks…
- You can wear a hat in all situations, and not worry about mussing up what longish, spiked or combed-over hair you used to have. This is vital in Minnesota winters.
- Your wife gets a break from cutting your hair. Because see benefit #1 at top. These two plus benefit #2 probably saves you $300 – $400 a year.
- You can get ready for work a helluva lot quicker in the morning. No more primping at the mirror. You’re ready to go!
- You can feel confident that you’ve made the best decision for your thinning hair. Owning that natural balding allows you to focus on other improvements, like fitness, relationships, and of course, your finances.
Fast Forward and Furious
All that said, Hollywood is not afraid to put its best bald head into the arena. The Fast and Furious is a great example, with three of its principal actors, Statham, Vin Diesel, and the ROCK all keeping it clean up top. I’d expect half the hard-driving fans of the series to shear off their hair, just to copy these dudes. Those locks just adds wind resistance anyhow…
It’s a toss up for many. Do I give in to the autumn of my scalp, or do I try to fight it with science and gobs of money?
All it took was a question to my lovely wife about getting a hair transplant.
“Do you think I should go for it?”
“Hmm… No. I think aging gracefully is the way to go.”
And that, was that. The buzz-cut took place exactly two days after that very brief conversation about the future of my hairline. And honestly, I’m pretty happy with where my journey is going. The Buzz-cut Brigade has a new member. And it’s me.
Now, every two weeks I get my hair buzzed down to 1/16 of an inch. That’s the 0.5 clipper guard, if you’re using a Wahl hair trimmer.
Which, by the way, I highly recommend the cordless Wahl professional trimmers — the battery lasts FOREVER. And without a cord, Mrs. Cubert sorta enjoys this bi-weekly chore.
(Featured Photo by Amy Elting on Unsplash)