Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chuck out the syrup

The obituaries of Charlton Heston concur: here was an example of life following art. As Moses and Ben Hur, El Cid and George Taylor, he played men who stood for dignity and freedom, and whether or not you agree that civil rights and gun rights are morally equivalent, he stuck his neck out for both. Then, when the scourge of Alzheimer’s confronted him, he faced it as he had faced the Egyptians and the gorillas, with great bravery.

But in one small area, his heroism slipped. Unflinching in his defence of African-Americans and gun-owners, Heston was never quite brave enough to acknowledge his own baldness. He set his granite jaw and battered nose against injustice, but from his own genetic inheritance, he cowered beneath a succession of increasingly preposterous toupees, of the sort that even Frankie Howerd might have spurned as unbecoming. As Chuck wielded his trusty flintlock, his wig looked like something he’d just shot.

As someone whose time in the barber’s chair becomes more cursory with each successive visit, I know that few men welcome baldness. But why do so many still persist in fighting it, and make themselves look even more ridiculous than they would in their natural state? As with boob jobs and facelifts, wigs rarely go unnoticed, especially by the many websites dedicated to seeking them out. And if we know someone wears a wig, we assume that person is insecure, or vain, or in denial about the aging process – surely a worse sin than baldness (or, for that matter, sagging breasts or jowls).

Wigs are about more than baldness – they are about honesty and dignity, or the lack of them. Everyone knows that Bruce Forsyth wears a (bad) hairpiece, but few raise the subject in his company. The man is 80 years old now – is it really so shameful to be bald? Maybe not, but if he were to ditch his syrup now, he would be admitting that he’s been fibbing for the last three decades or so. Increasing numbers – Sean Connery, Patrick Stewart and Bruce Willis, for example – are proud of their slaphead status. But others, and I’m sure you know the names, still cower beneath the weave. Come on, guys, when even Heston’s namesake Bobby abandoned his combover, surely the game was up.

There are obvious parallels with homosexuality. I’m sure there are some people in the public eye who have never bothered to come out because everyone knows anyway, and any big announcement would be an embarrassing anticlimax. But wig-wearers don’t need to say anything. They just need to ditch their hairy friends once and for all, and allow their scalps to shine out and proud. Do it, slapheads. Go to the only place where Charlton Heston feared to tread.

16 comments:

red said...

Here here. And here's hoping the Italians don't all go out and vote for their own ludicrous slaphead with hair implants (!!!) today.

Spinsterella said...

...and "hear hear" as well.

I don't know why men worry about baldness when Sean Connery has been acclaimed as the Sexiest man In The World Ever for the past five decades with no sign of any real competition coming close, no, not even from that creepy Clooney fella..

patroclus said...

Baldness is definitely sexy, and I also agree with Spin about George Clooney being creepy.

Betty said...

As someone who has dyed red hair that covers very grey roots, I don't know if I'm in a position to pass judgement on hairpieces. Paul Daniels came out, as it were, didn't he? I suppose he didn't have much of a reputation as a sex symbol to worry about.

Geoff said...

When he wasn't wearing it, Frankie Howard kept his piece on his teapot.

Now that's funnier than his act.

Give me Larry David any day.

Annie said...

George Clooney is allegedly in the alleged closet. Allegedly.

(My dad was bald from his 20s onward. As a kid, I used to pester him about it, poor man, 'But dad, WHY haven't you got any hair?'
One day,attempting to shut me up, he told me the story of how he had always had such beautiful long lustrous locks that they'd asked him to play Rapunzel in the school play, and when it had got to the 'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair' bit, the prince had started to climb up it and had pulled it all out. I feel I can tell this story on your blog with impunity, I know it'd get back to him on mine.)

Billy said...

I thought the done thing these days was to close-crop the hair or wear a hat all the time.

I mean, who'd wear a wig? Horrible things.

wyndham said...

Heston was so touchy about his piece that he would often, for a movie, have a hairpiece fitted over his own wig. His syrup probably had to be prized from his cold, dead, etc.

amyonymous said...

proud of their slaphead status

never heard it called "slaphead" but i love it. and love bald men. and think men with rugs are as weird looking as women with too much botox.

FirstNations said...

the only other alternative is to go the Andy Warhol route and wear the most forthrightly obvious hank of dynel in the known universe.

" I dunno....America is so plastic, I figured why not? My head gets cold."

Tim Footman said...

So, nobody defending the rug rats?

I think FN's got a point - wigs are fine and dandy if they're so ludicrous they exist as works of art separate from the whole covering-a-bald-head thing. See also Dolly Parton, etc. Joe Orton once cut his hair so it made him look as if he was wearing a toupee. That sort of thing.

Although I remember Warhol advertising shampoo in the 80s....

Jun Okumura said...

Maybe they're taking pity on you? Let me try my hand at a defense:

Perhaps it was just a small bald patch that he wanted to hide, that Chuck Moses guy, but it kept growing and he never got the chance to get out before it was too late. That's how drug addicts and habitual criminals are made, you know.

Does that work for them? You think?

Jun Okumura said...

BTW, The Chuckster's hairpiece in that photo looks a lot like that animal mummy on Donald Trump's head, doesn't it? But did you you that they purchased them from the same taxidermist?

I want a grey fox just like the red one he's got.

Mr. Heston, a coyote is all we have now.

Gee... Well, I guess it'll have to do.

Trust me, I was there.

Rosie said...

Dolly wears a wig???

Tim Footman said...

The Trumpster's is a combover, Jun. It's a good look.

Loretta Lynn lives in it, Rosie.

Jun Okumura said...

By God, it is a combover.

must do more googling...