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L M Ashton
04-28-2015, 06:54 AM
I'd like to know if you've been treated differently because you're bald or balding, and if so, how? In particular, I'd love to hear from women. Feel free to PM me if you don't want to discuss it here.

My character is a hairless alien who identifies as female and is bald. She's new to Earth and, while she's made her appearances fit in to appear like humans, doesn't realize that being hairless may bring her unnecessary attention. I'd like to know what she would be facing.

kristin724
04-28-2015, 08:38 AM
Not sure if it would be of any use to you, but here goes. :D

I do an Inside the Toy Box writing workship where a group of writers picks a random prop and how it would or would not relate to their character. It can be a lot of fun when one chooses an object that seemingly has nothing in common with their characters or setting and yet thought the brainstorm, you might find something interesting. Or if nothing else, the object might bring the writer to a new feeling or sensation to describe. Can't talk about your medieval character's writing unless you've tried out a quill, right? ;)

Anyway, at one event, a bald gentleman ended up pulling out a purple satin witches hat. He put it on his head and he said he felt totally transformed. He has never worn hats of any kind, and the feeling of the silk and satin he said felt so titillating. It was warm but smooth, comforting yet scandalous. Part of that might also have been the bald man trying a woman's hat, but he said it was a wild sensation that he would definitely like to write on in the future.

So perhaps that might be helpful, describing how the fabric feels, the temperature, the fit, does it itch? Maybe if your alien identifies as a woman, would her attachment to a traditionally male styled hat bring surprising comfort or more confusing from others?

May I also suggest if you are able, to visit a salon or wig maker or hat maker (are they still around?) and try on a variety yourself! Actually, I guess maybe come the Halloween season the Spirit stores here usually have a large display of wild hats to try. :D

L M Ashton
04-28-2015, 01:09 PM
Kristen, that's... actually helpful. :)

Halloween isn't a thing here, so that won't be happening. I'm not sure if there are wigmakers in these parts, either - can't say I've ever seen one. But I also don't think my character would wear a wig. She would wear a hat for sun protection, but I don't see her as a wig-wearer. She's rather... Practical and curmudgeonly about certain things.

mirandashell
04-28-2015, 01:20 PM
I've never been bald myself but here I think the reaction depends on the age of the woman. If she looks young, a lot of people will think 'she has cancer' at first. So will feel sorry for her or uncomfortable around her or whatever reaction fits them. If she's old, they may feel a little embarrassed for her because old lady things tend to do that to people who aren't old.

L M Ashton
04-28-2015, 01:22 PM
Right. My character is middle-aged and most definitely not hot.

mirandashell
04-28-2015, 01:24 PM
Is this set in Malaysia? And does she look completely hairless, like there is no hair there to grow? Or does she look like she shaved it and it might grow back? Does she have eyebrows and eyelashes?

L M Ashton
04-28-2015, 01:29 PM
My character has eyelash hair, but I'm not sure about eyebrow hair - haven't decided yet. I haven't decided either about hair on the rest of her body. If she does has hair on her body like human women do, then she'll have the same fine hair on her head that we have on, for example, our cheeks and torso.

This first story is set in Singapore, but I have enough stories in mind for her that she could end up nearly anywhere in the world, depending on what I feel like. :)

mirandashell
04-28-2015, 01:40 PM
Then I think most people will assume she has some form of illness like maybe alopecia?

L M Ashton
04-28-2015, 01:56 PM
Yup, and that would be fair enough. I'm not concerned about people screaming "Alien! Alien! Kill them!" - she'll look human enough that she can pass. She'll just be bald.

williemeikle
04-28-2015, 05:00 PM
I've been mostly bald since I was in my early 30s. It's not painful, and having a beard ensures I've got something to twirl my fingers in and stroke when I'm thinking.

I have had to tell some guys where to go for calling me 'slaphead' but my favorite was in a shop where the young assistant handed me my change saying, "There you go, baldy."

I replied, "Thanks, ugly."

When she had stopped being offended, which was some time later, I advised her to think before opening her mouth, to which she got offended all over again. The queue of folks behind me enjoyed the exchange though.

muse
04-28-2015, 09:40 PM
I've never been bald myself but here I think the reaction depends on the age of the woman. If she looks young, a lot of people will think 'she has cancer' at first. So will feel sorry for her or uncomfortable around her or whatever reaction fits them. If she's old, they may feel a little embarrassed for her because old lady things tend to do that to people who aren't old.


This.

My hair is only now growing back after cancer treatment, and the main reactions were either pity or avoidance.

Hair loss, especially in woman, is closely linked to illness in most people's eyes.

I'm as guilty of that as the next person.

jennontheisland
04-29-2015, 06:29 AM
I shaved my head in my early 20s. My mom didn't like it because to her it was reminiscent of Nazi camps. I got a lot of compliments on my eyes (big blue eyes and red lipstick make for a particularly striking combination, particularly when no hair is there to distract). I was also told a number of times that I looked like Sinead O'Connor, but it was the early 90s.

I often got strange looks as if people were trying to decide if they should ask if there was a medical reason, but no one ever did. I generally had a punk look about me, so I think most people were able to put that together.

This is from the perspective of someone with a northern european background though... PoC may view this differently. (consider Grace Jones or Alek Wek).

mirandashell
04-29-2015, 11:21 AM
That's why I asked if the alien looks like she might have hair if she let it grew. I grew up in 70s Britain and there were a lot of female skinheads about. Also a lot of women who were radical feminists and had their hair extremely short.

These days it's very rare to see a woman bald by choice.

L M Ashton
05-01-2015, 05:04 AM
I had a suedehead in the 1980s but with bangs that went straight up. I wasn't punk, though - more alternative. But that's not the same as hairless or bald. I got a lot of stares, but I got that for the hot pink or Ronald McDonald red or purple or platinum blond or black with orange tips hair I had, too. So, really not the same.

I appreciate all the comments, everyone. :)

Debbie V
05-05-2015, 10:26 PM
We've had some female students and teachers shave their heads for St. Baldrick's Day.http://www.stbaldricks.org/

If someone looks healthy, and the time of year is right, it might be assumed the woman had done so in sympathy of a person with cancer. This is the second highest likelihood to having cancer themselves. However, if the person's fashion says punk, it might just be assumed that it's their choice look.

Brutal Mustang
05-05-2015, 10:57 PM
When I was in my early twenties, I went bald, for fun. It was weird. I had all these guys hitting on me. They thought I seemed 'gutsy' and 'fun'. One guy even said I looked 'f*cking hot' like that.

kristin724
05-06-2015, 08:36 AM
I've had friends save their heads to support others with cancer. They way it seemed to be more apparent that it was a fashion statement was that the wore fancy big earrings or dressed their head with headbands and made the baldness stylish nonetheless.

Perhaps if your alien has some sort of native earwear or visor or something people would know she is not sick? Or she could experiment with such decoration as a new to earth moment? :)

RandyPendleton
05-06-2015, 09:06 AM
I'm not a woman, but I think this might help:

I'm a guy who had TWO FEET of hair. I cherished it. I started balding in my late 20's, thus I shaved it all off. I feel kinda naked, as it was a huge part of my identity. To this day, I want it back. Eh... I recall the criticisms of some people who believed in the whole long-hair-is-for-women-only stereotype. Those criticisms changed when I was balding with long hair on the sides. I just couldn't part with it so easily. :(

Splodge
05-11-2015, 12:53 PM
This might not help but I have a family friend with alopecia. She usually wears a hat, but when she doesn't she gets in cheap at the cinema, no questions asked! People just offer her concessions. She's middle aged which helps, but no where near concession age yet. She gets a lot of weird looks and people treating her differently too, but the concessions thing is a nice silver lining!

Ravioli
05-11-2015, 03:33 PM
On the night of October 1st 2012, I shaved my head completely. I had some 40 or 50 cm of black-colored hair and it was falling out and extremely dry and brittle, and nothing helped so I decided to go crazy and give it a fresh start.

It felt extremely weird and awkward until I had a few milimeters worth of hair. Suddenly I realized I was still the same person, and even more so. With the decorative frame of hair and that shallow symbol of my gender gone, I was suddenly more in touch with my actual femininity and sense of self and beauty. It basically made me feel more ME than when I still had all that hair, so I said bye bye to the hats. Other than for cuteness of course. But I no longer felt weird or less than feminine for being bald/buzz-cut. It was like the first period, only more meaningful and inspiring. Hell, I even still got laid.

Most reactions have been nothing short of horrifying, and I don't mean in the offensive way. Nobody attacked me. On the contrary, an otherwise shallow man told me I was beautiful "even though, like, why???".
What horrified me, was how I was abused by being appropriated as a symbol by people or movements I have not signed a mascot contract with. Feminists screeched what a rolemodel I was for not giving a fuck other than the respective finger to evil, evil patriarchy and those beauty standards... How magnificent I was for being fine with not being what people want me to look like. They seemed to assume I meant to be ugly on purpose to make a statement. Hell no.
Others immediately assumed I was either battling cancer, or had shaved in cancer awareness. "My deepest respect" they told me, and I'm like, with all respect to cancer sufferers and those who shave without donating that hair, to show their "solidarity"... I don't do that. Ever. If I do anything about diseases, I donate in order to make an actual contribution, not say "Look, I shaved my head (and tossed the hair) to show I care, now give me 1000 likes".

My mom was shocked... Until it grew enough to qualify as a pixie cut which was actually cute... I did wear a hat until I had a bit of fuzz. Or for the cold. Except, my choice of hat created yet another false impression of who I was. Living in Israel, orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are everywhere and happen to like a similar/identical style of hat. Now, since it was the cold season, I was also covered up otherwise. So I was assumed to be observant, not approached by the opposite sex, and had McDonald's employees remove the cheese from my cheese burger. Yes, that happened. Like, why would I order a CHEESE burger if I didn't want CHEESE on it?

Lots of men said I was unfeminine and not doing myself any favors, but I dismissed those as idiots who got no right or reason to comment on my appearance. Dude, if I had long hair and your interest, you still wouldn't have mine, so what does my hair interest you for? I'm talking about strangers. Other men, surprisingly, would even pull over to inform me of their admiration for my not giving a damn. I liked that, actually. Although I do give a damn, I love my hair, I just had little choice but shave it. And now I'm shedding again :( POS? Probably. Not malnutrition.

For your alien, I suggest just making baldness a traditional/tribal thing. Maybe add tattoos on the head?