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8:22am on Monday, 25th July, 2005:

Gone Tomorrow


When I drive my wife to the station in the morning, there's this bloke on a bike we pass who has long hair kept back in a ponytail. In common with every other bloke who has long hair kept back in a ponytail, he's going bald at the temples.

Why does this happen? Is it that they're going bald and feel they should grow what remaining hair they have to its maximum length so as to get the benefit of it? Or is it that tying their hair back in a ponytail actually makes them bald?

I'm not alone in noticing this phenomenon, and was therefore pleased about 5 years ago to learn the answer from a radio phone-in show: it's both. Men who wear their hair in a ponytail cause trauma damage at the hairline which induces it to recede. Realising that they're going bald, they can't bring themselves to cut what remains so keep it in the ponytail. Thus, there's a feedback loop: trauma damage leads to insecurity which leads to more trauma damage. If every so often they wore their hair in a different style instead of always the ponytail (which is what women do), then their missing hair could well grow back. Otherwise, it's mass follicle murder.

But wait! I have a solution! Blokes who wear your hair in a ponytail, all you have to do avoid the otherwise inevitable spiral to doom is incorporate a fringe, like Sandy out of Grease.

Think it'll catch on?

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).