One of the most common questions posed to the intentionally bald gentleman is one of motivation. Why did you shave your head? As the author of a website on head-shaving, I also get the more general question, “Why do people (in general) shave their heads?”.
Naturally, no single answer could possibly do justice to every person who shaves their head. That being said, there are several reasons that I’ve heard more than others that people give for taking it all off (listed below in no particular order).
Male Pattern Baldness
A significant percentage of the male population will lose some or most of their hair naturally over time. For many men, shaving it all off is a response to this naturally occuring phenomenom. There are some sub-groups here:
Some decide that they may as well emphasize it and be proud of (or at least content with) their baldness. Several ‘Bald and Proud’-style groups are present online and in the real world (though not all Bald Pride guys shave their heads).
Others are horrified by the idea of losing their hair, and figure that shaving it all off will disguise the natural loss, or at least it will look better than partial baldness.
Some people shave their heads because it’s a reasonably fashionable look. In the mid- and late-90’s, several major motion picture stars shaved their heads for film roles (including Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger). Professional athletes like Michael Jordan have been shaving for a decade or more, and many musicians have gone the same route. It’s hip, it’s cool, and that’s enough for some people.
Some people are just attracted to things that are different. I know people who seem to have a different hairstyle every time I see them. Some people buy new clothes just for the sake of having something different to wear. For these people, a shaved head is just another new thing to try out.
To make a statement
Head-shaving has a long history of making a statement, too.
Monks in some Eastern religions shave their head as a symbol of renunciation of earthly things.
Monks in many Western traditions have shaved their heads as a symbol of humility and submission to God.
Skinheads in England in the 60’s shaved their heads as a symbol of solidarity with the working class. Some speculate that it was originally done to avoid getting hair caught in machinery, to avoid lice, or to make it harder for an opponent in a fight to grab hold of you. Whatever its origin, it became a visible symbol for a sub-culture.
Some people still associate shaved heads with racist neo-nazi groups that became very noticeable in the late 80’s.
With the current popularity of head-shaving as a fashion statement, it’s not really safe to assume any other kind of statement is being made with a shaved head. But for some people, there is a symbolic motivation behind shaving. I know at least one person who shaved his head at a difficult time in his life, and then proceeded to work at getting his life straightened out. Sometimes symbolism is important.
Frustration with hair
Sometimes people just get tired of dealing with their hair, and want to get rid of it. Combing, styling, shampoo and conditioner, the routine can get dreary after a time. Of course, people who shave their head out of frustration will probably end up growing it back when they realize how much routine is involved in shaving.
A lot of people do things primarily to annoy authority figures in their life. Many a young man or woman has decided to shave their head solely to anger their parents. It’s often an effective ploy, because it’s very visible, and once it’s done, it can’t be undone until the hair grows back on its own.
There are other reasons people shave their heads than the ones I’ve listed above, but you get the idea. For any individual, the only reason that matters is their own.
This article is based on personal experience and comments I’ve received from other people who shave their heads. If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to contact me.