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Oftentimes, thinning hair coincides with an existential crisis for Tamil guys surrounding their ability to live a normal life.
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"Valukkai thalaiyodu unakoru purushan, kidaika pray pannuven"

(I’ll pray for you to have a bald husband)

“Valukka thalaiyan thirupathi pona, take it easy policy”

(If a bald guy goes to Thirupathi - take it easy policy)

A good chunk of Tamil people have probably heard some of these songs. If not, actively bopped to them at an event.

But what about the other side?

It's no secret that a lot of guys are balding - some at a far younger age than the rest. In fact, about a quarter of men start balding before the age of 30.

The average balding dude usually has one of two reactions when they see another bald dude enjoying his life.

1. That's awesome he's living like that - maybe balding isn't the end of the world after all.

2. Damn I don't want to be one of those dudes who's cool with going bald.

What the second group of people doesn't realize, is that when your hair starts falling - you can either accept yourself (ie. be one of those dudes cool with losing hair) or you can hate yourself (ie. do crazy stuff like placing a paper in front of your bedroom mirror so you wouldn't have to see your thinning head).

Oftentimes, thinning hair coincides with an existential crisis for Tamil guys surrounding their ability to live a normal life.

This is a fair concern - balding's the subject of many jokes in Tamil families, whether it's clowning an uncle whose hair is starting to thin - or making fun of a girl by telling her she'll end up with a bald dude.

In Padikkathavan (2007), Dhanush is happy with the groom his parents selected for his sister - until it’s revealed the groom is actually bald. 

Dhanush then embarrasses the groom, and the alliance is canceled.

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Stuff like this spreads the message that bald people are damaged goods - because of something completely out of their control. By the age of 35, 66% of men will experience Male Pattern Baldness.

Speaking as a dude going bald - it was (maybe even still is) a huge part of my identity. 

I’d constantly research ways to regrow my hair - scour Lanksari for the latest concoction of oils and cut my hair in a way meant to hide the obvious thinning. 

All it’d take is a comment from someone who noticed I was thinning though, and my self esteem would come crashing down again like a house of cards.

Whenever I’d look in the mirror, I’d just see a pathetic person who’s value was dwindling by the day. 

“Damaged goods,” that’s all I'd ever be - and with time I resigned myself to that fate.

There comes a point in everyone’s life though - when they ask themselves if this is the way they want to live.

That man in the mirror moment came for me when I hit it off with this awesome girl who seemed into me, but I didn’t ask her on a date because I didn’t want them to end up with a “bald dude.”

Was that all I was? 

“A bald dude.” 

What about the time you were up until 3 am cheering up a friend that had a bad day? 

Or when you helped that lady load her groceries into her car? 

How about all the times you went out of your way to bring joy into a world that frankly doesn’t have enough of it?

Were you just a bald dude then?

After allowing myself to be the butt of endless jokes at the hands of family, and even worse - disqualifying myself from getting into a happy relationship, I finally saw someone else in the mirror.

I saw someone who genuinely cared about the people around him.

I saw a dude who’d give his seat on the bus up for an old lady.

I saw a Suriya fan (slightly leaning towards Team Vijay) whose favorite movie was Vaaranam Aayiram. 

In other words, I finally saw myself.

And I’d been hurting everyone in my life by looking away. 

If all it was going to take for me to give up on my dreams was a thinning head, the problem wasn’t with my hair - it was with my self-image.

For any guy reading this who has thinning hair, I hope you’re able to look beyond the surface.

Could you imagine if LeBron James retired when his hair started falling? Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

If he did - we’d be robbed of so many memories and an amazing Basketball player.

Are you really going to rob the world of another awesome person because of how your hair looks?

Now, you probably aren’t LeBron James. But last I checked, he never gave his seat on the bus up for an old lady (if you’re reading this and you did - I’m sorry for doubting you LeBron).

But the point stands, your worth as a person isn’t based on how you look - it’s about how you treat those around you.

And you don’t need a full head to do that, just a full heart.


Mayuran Sabesan
Student
Canada
Just a kid hoping my story will inspire others to turn the pages of their own book.
Just a kid hoping my story will inspire others to turn the pages of their own book.
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