DEAR ABBY: You missed the mark on your advice to the bald boater's wife. Her husband doesn't need a video to show him that he's bald. He knows it, and would probably regard a video shoved in his face as another disparaging insult that we bald guys are used to.
Abby, his wife should be supportive, positive and encouraging. From the tone of her letter, it appears her approach has been the opposite. I can almost hear her saying, "Your hair looks terrible that way." A more positive approach might help him feel more comfortable about trying a more realistic solution to his baldness. Perhaps she should say, "Honey, I think you'd look very sexy in a buzz cut."
I had a "comb-over" years ago. It got to the point that it was inconvenient to style, difficult to keep in place and ineffective to the point of looking ridiculous. I was aware that it didn't produce the effect I wanted, but I mistakenly thought it was better than nothing.
Finally, after I read a poll in which women named the sexiest man on television, I accepted the fact that there's nothing wrong with being bald. Do you know who they chose? Patrick Stewart, the totally bald captain who starred in "Star Trek, The Next Generation"! (He's also a much-admired Shakespearean actor.) The compassion, poise, strength and charm he conveyed were more meaningful to female viewers than his lack of hair. If a man possesses those qualities, his hair (or lack thereof) will seem trivial to those who matter to him. -- NO HAIR, NOOO PROBLEM, CARY, ILL.
DEAR NO HAIR, NOOO PROBLEM: Off the top of my head, I can think of three other much-admired bald actors: Robert Duvall, Louis Gossett Jr. and Hector Elizando. If I put on my thinking cap, I'm sure I could come up with others.
Currently, bald is "in," and many men shave their heads to acquire what nature gives to a lucky few. Luxurious locks are NOT a requirement for love, happiness and success, so guys, if you're uncomfortable with options such as transplants or styling, forget bad "fixes." Embrace the slogan "Bald is beautiful" -- and flaunt it.
DEAR ABBY: When it comes to hair, as with most things, there's a distinct double standard between men and women. Women feel it's their place to be critical of men who try to make the most of what hair they have by combing it over their bald or thinning pates. This despite the fact that women spend millions annually on wigs, falls, rats, wiglets and various sorts of hair extenders. Shame on them.
What if a man were to tell his wife, "Dear, why don't you throw away all those bleaches, dyes, lotions and curlers? I'd still love you if you let your hair go thin and stringy and gray." Why should women persist in living in a state of denial? As you say, facing the problem head on and dealing with it is a better solution.
Yeah. RIGHT! -- COMBS OVER IN EVERETT, WASH.
DEAR COMBS OVER: At the risk of appearing contentious, I'm for anything that WORKS. The problem with most comb-overs is they are obvious. A male reader put it very well: "It took me a long time to realize that what women find attractive are men who are relaxed and comfortable about who they are. Once I realized that, I cut my hair short and my wife thinks it's wonderful."
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600