As a paranoid man, I am well read in the ways of male pattern baldness. I’m not bald, but I will be, and it is not a comfortable admission. As a result, for some strange reason, I have taken to spotting the development of male pattern baldness in others, as something of a really horrible habit. This habit has been a particular magnetic draw in the case of Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, whose hair has had quite the week.
Boozer’s hair has had intrigue since the latter half of the 2010-11 season, when he started to grow it out somewhat. (And by “a bit,” I mean, it went from being balder than a baby’s arse to a normal buzz cut.) It seemed obvious that Booz, having shaved his head more thoroughly for the previous few years when the thinness started to creep in, wanted a second crack at having hair. As would any man in his situation.
As a rookie, Carlos had consistent density and a solid line. The very, very minor beginnings of temple recession can be seen, but they were indeed most minor; his hair was fine as it was. However, over the first few years of his NBA career, the hair on the temples bid him adieu. The temples recede somewhat on the vast majority of men in their twenties, as many of us are probably aware, due to the simple science of your face changing shape as you age. Boozer’s, however, went a bit more than that, leaving something of a peninsula at the front. It wasn’t exactly the full Phil Collins, but it was noticeable. And so he started buzzing.
In addition to the temples going, the general thickness of the top of his head started to wane. What started as a Norwood II A progressed to something near a Norwood III A or a III vertex, a punishment you wouldn’t wish on any man. Boozer wasn’t entirely out of luck here — he has the kind of head shape that looks absolutely fine bald, and, by being black, he had an automatic advantage. (The general rule is that baldness looks cooler on black guys. Couldn’t tell you why. It just does.) He was doing slightly better than his teammate Taj Gibson, who, on the occasions that he hadn’t shaved it for a couple of days, can be seen to be unfortunately lumbered with the full Colin Mochrie. Nonetheless, by the end of the 2006-07 season, Boozer’s thinning was noticeable.
For most of the rest of his time with the Jazz, Boozer went for the total and complete buzz, only on the rarest of occasions letting it hit the elusive two millimeter mark. Matters stayed as such until last season, when, after the All-Star break, Carlos started to wear the stubble shower cap more regularly. It wasn’t exactly grown out by this stage; however, relative to his previous efforts, that was long, his longest hair since his Cavaliers days. And it is surely no coincidence that this development coincided with the evolution of his beard. For the vast majority of his time with the Jazz, Boozer went for the Beppe Di Marco. However, the Boozer that Chicago signed had recently graduated in to the full jawbone smotherer with optional Abe Lincoln underbeard.
It is clearly and undeniably true that this look helped to shape his face better, made it look less rounded, exaggerated the jawline and gave a more masculine appearance. However, it is also true that a beard like that really needs an accompanying head of hair in order to look right. Therefore, the origins of Boozer’s attempts at regrowth can be placed to an exact point in time, the time when he decided his jowls were getting cold.
In the right light, Boozer’s marginal regrowth looked OK. The temple recession was apparent, and the hairline wasn’t strong, but it was just about acceptable. In the wrong light, however, the contrast between the thickness of the sides and the thinness of the top was all too obvious. It seemed as though, beard or not, Boozer’s regrowth had reached his limits. And while it was acceptable to outsiders, Boozer clearly wanted more.
Roll on this year, when Boozer grew it out even further. When the sides grow out to meet the full coverage beard, the beard is made to look more normal and less like it’s been drawn on. The only risk is that if you don’t have enough on the top, you might look like James Avery. Boozer had just, just, just enough to avoid this look, and give a somewhat satisfactory head-based compliment to his chinstrap desires. By this time, though, the thinness was very apparent.
I can’t fault Boozer for wanting a full head of hair when he’s not even nearly 40, and nor can anyone. He was in a bind, though, in that awkward position where you have a little bit going on, but not enough to be contented with. (This is arguably a more difficult position to be in than, say, that of the aforementioned Taj Gibson. Taj doesn’t have a choice. It’s gone. Boozer’s is merely going.) There are concealer options available for a man in such a position, but they are not particularly conducive to a professional athlete whose job is to exercise, nor to one with hair so short.
Thus, this week, we witnessed Carlos’ latest attempt. Perhaps inspired by former teammate Deron Williams, who allegedly did or does something very similar, Boozer unveiled that spray-on mess. If that was his real hair, it would be very acceptable coverage and density, and it is seemingly the kind of thing he has in mind for his head’s future. However, it is clearly not his real hair. It is clearly the kind of gooey wood preservative you would use to varnish a drawbridge. It is spray-on hair out of a can, that has never looked right on anybody, ever.
And yet, this need not be the case. With his financial resources and the incredible advances made in hair restoration technology, Carlos has more than sufficient resources at his disposal to have a strand-by-strand graft done. Any man whose job involves having millions of people looking down at the top of his head is right to feel anxious about the baldness. Similarly though, any man whose job involves having millions of people looking down at the top of his head should know better than to spray bitumen on his bonce, given that it has never in the history of man not looked completely ridiculous.
Future advice to Carlos, then, is two fold. Either cut your losses, cut your hair, and admit God just didn’t like you enough to keep it. Or do it properly, go the full Jeremy Piven, and get the grafts. It no longer matters if we know that you’ve had it done. We already know.
Do whatever you want, but for the love of all that is holy, just don’t do this again.