- The Washington Times - Monday, April 9, 2001

At a robust six-foot-one, Dale Terry could intimidate with the best of em. That doesnt take into account his arched goatee, his ownership of a motorcycle shop or his crisply bald pate.
In the past, the latter attribute alone would have been enough to cement a tough-guy persona.
But the bald hairstyle, or lack thereof, has become so routine that such affiliations are going the way of the comb-over.
No better proof exists than talking to the gentle Mr. Terry, who in conversation lets one know that "Weve always got the coffee on," in his Dumfries, Va. shop.
Pop culture may have led the way for this shorn look, with actors like Woody Harrelson, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Billy Zane (1997s "Titanic") and Patrick Stewart (2000s "X-Men") all sporting the occasionally bald pate.
Larry H. Oskin, president of Marketing Solutions, a Fairfax, Va.-based marketing agency for the beauty industry, says the trend started in the athletic world, moved to Hollywood then entered the mainstream.
"Before, when you were going bald, you were looked upon as not as handsome," he says. Today, "Its better to shave your head if you have a nice head shape than comb your hair over."
The cleanly shaved head has existed for centuries, dating back to the pharaohs in Egypt, if not earlier, he says.
"Today, everybody can do it teen-agers, little kids," he says. "Even women are doing it," though not nearly in the numbers that men are.
The overall fashion trend is a cleaner, more polished look, he says, the opposite of grunge which reared its shaggy head in the early 90s.
"Every one is grooming themselves better these days," he says.
In the past, a shaved head portended a dangerous character, someone ready to put up his dukes or put a crimp in a movie heros style. Think Yul Brynner in 1973s "Westworld," or the villainous Blofeld in the James Bond epic "You Only Live Twice" (1967).
Now, its an efficient option for any man wary of dousing his hair with hair-growing potions, or attempting covert camouflage maneuvers up top.
Mr. Terry, 40, shaved his head three years ago, after he noticed the braid he wore down to his waist was thinning.
"The immediate impact was pretty powerful," he says. "I said, 'Boy, have I screwed up. "
Soon, he found his new style to be sleek, time-efficient and oddly empowering.
"Youre no longer balding. You have a shaved head," he says, the subtle difference not so subtle for him and others in his follically challenged boat.
He spends about five minutes each morning shaving his head while in the shower. With practice, "the nicks are few and far between," he says. Others say they shave their heads two to three times a week.
Those with the shiny do get to know their shavers intimately, opting either for the manual or electric variety. Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura uses a Norelco electric shaver to keep his pate polished, according to Andrew Jaffe, an associate brand manager with the company.

The bald look appeared to take root first in popular culture among black men, possibly stirred by basketball icon Michael Jordan. His Airness slick dome mirrored his grace on the court.
The style today cuts across racial borders.
Ray Jackson, 32, of Alexandria, Va., began losing his hair in 1995.
Men remember when their hairlines begin heading north.
"Im not gonna fight it," he says of his reaction at the time. So off the hair went.
When a female colleagues eyes grew huge upon seeing him for the first time without hair, "I knew right then I was keeping it," says Mr. Jackson, who is black.
He still bumps into women who demurely ask if they can feel his exposed scalp.
"I got dates because of it," he says.
Once, an unknown woman even spontaneously rushed over and touched his head while he was on a date with someone else.
Mr. Jackson, who shaves his head twice a week, is finding the shock value of his hairstyle is diminishing. That doesnt mean most balding men will opt for his course of action. A buddy of his uses Rogaine, a topical agent purported to help some people retain their hair or grow new hair.
"I dont understand it," he says.
"Its me. Its my style. Im not going to change it," he says.
B. Tony Snesko, founder of the D.C.-based Web site www.Baldrus.com, says the hair restoration and replacement industry spends billions promoting the derogatory concept that bald men are "unhappy, unattractive, unsexy and unwanted."
Bald men without a strong sense of self are ripe for ridicule, he says, and possible discrimination at the workplace.
"Many bald men, such as myself, prefer their hairless state and, as a consequence, exhibit so much confidence that no one would dare utter a bald joke in their presence," he says.
And it doesnt hurt that he finds many women find the look alluring.
His Web site empowers those without hair. It offers tips on head care, discussion forums and anecdotes from women who find bald men irresistible.
Teen-agers he corresponds with through his site mention bald rock stars like Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and Billy Corgan of the now defunct Smashing Pumpkins as their inspiration for shaving.
Baldrus.com suggests men use a Gillette Mach 3 razor, avoid shaving against the grain for those with sensitive skin and finish the job with aftershave and aloe vera to keep the skin healthy and rash-free.
Mr. Oskin warns the bald look may not last forever.
"Its not a fad its a trend. But it doesnt look like its going away," he says.
Thats the case for many of Mr. Sneskos bald friends.
Most of his Web sites members who are above college age and have stayed shaved for more than a month never let their hair grow out again, Mr. Snesko says.
Count Mr. Terry among the converted.
"I have no desire to go back," Mr. Terry says.

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