Irshad Salim: On Baldness

“A Bald Man With Glasses Knows What He’s Doing”

Irshad Salim, Karachi: I was reading a piece this morning on comedian Larry David’s stoicism with baldness, beardness, glassness (wearing glasses), I asked myself: Okay, I do wear glasses, and I’m loosing hair–surprisingly as engineered cloud rains drop, and i carry stubble beard–the very short hairs on someone’s skin when they have not shaved recently, what’s my take on all this?

Lawrence Gene David (Larry David) is an American comedian, writer, actor, and television producer. He and Jerry Seinfeld created the television sitcom Seinfeld, of which David was head writer and executive producer for the first seven seasons. (Wikipedia)

My first level intro to baldness–as I was growing up–was learning the art of staking out my almost bald Dad in the company of his friends, visitors, guests–this I learnt to do from a distance though–from a vantage point. He was my bald hero–a six-footer one. Until then, I was oblivious that the King can be bald and have a soft/hard ball attitude also. Yul Brynner glorified baldness-stoicism on-a-take-it-as-it-is basis in the 60s–I watched the movie more than once. Dad was no king but a larger-than-life-size figure for me, for all eight+ of us and for many in the small town of Khulna in the 60s and the early 70s.

Yul Brynner in the 1956 movie The King and I.

The interview in which Larry David deliberates on the good, the bad, and the ugly of a life without hair–carries mention of Gorbachev also. I still look at the birthmark accentuating his baldness. It’s enigmatic.

Does he (Larry) have any bald heroes of his own?

“I guess these days you see less and less bald people,” he shrugs. “Everybody’s doing something about it.” You have no contemporaries. “Right,” he notes sadly. “I hadn’t thought about that.”

But then, struck by inspiration, he grins. “Gorbachev!” he announces. Any bald villains? “I can’t think of anybody offhand, except Putin of course.”

Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet state and party leader.

I’m glad his bald heroes and villains are so geographically specific, because I had recently been told an amazing bald fact. Throughout modern history, Russia has managed to precisely alternate between haired and bald leaders.

I mention this to Larry, and at first he is unconvinced. “Let’s see. In my lifetime, we had Khrushchev, followed by Andropov, and I think they both were bald,” Larry responds, trying to find a weak link in the theory. “No! There was Brezhnev! Brezhnev, hair; Andropov, no hair. Who followed him? Was that Gorbachev?”

No, because Gorbachev was also bald. Andropov was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko (who had hair), and then came Gorbachev. He was succeeded by Boris Yeltsin (hair) who was then succeeded by Vladimir Putin (bald), who has—at least at time of writing—remained in power ever since, apart from the four-year stint where he installed a puppet president in the form of Dmitry Medvedev (hair)...

Those were the days when being bald was almost a license to be, to rule, to serve, to stand tall, to bend, to romanticize baldness as the thinking hat, to be not-to-be a wannabe, etc. You couldn’t leave home without it. Not any more with wigs and supplants and detox, etc. I guess.

Read the whole article here on what hilarious Larry says on baldness, beardness, glassness…