- Fashion and Beauty»
- History of Fashion
Bald Is The New Sexy In Hollywood Hairstyles
Bald has not always been considered beautiful. Balding men have been often portrayed as objects of humor. Shaven pates were historically reserved for tonsured members of religious orders, or for the hyper-intelligent but often inhumane aliens from the annals of science fiction epics.
I remember reading an interview in which Hollywood icon John, The Duke, Wayne, decried the lack of privacy afforded him by the Hollywood press, stating he had to dive below deck to put on his hair-piece whenever they flew over his yacht. Heaven forfend he should be photographed au natural. Thinning hair was fine, but baldness was unacceptably non-macho.
In recent times, however, shaven heads have become mucho macho. No longer the sole purview of the bumbling, benighted, and perennially girl-friendless; the super-intellectuals; and the other-worldly. Bald is now considered hot stuff. In the world of action-adventure, bald is the new tall, dark and dangerous - butt-kickin' bad, and downright sexy!
The Magnificent Mr. Brynner
Bursting into the North American consciousness in Broadway's The King and I, Yul Brynner was among the first to popularize the bare skull - in fact, it became his trademark.
Exotically handsome and possessed of a sensual, dark-chocolate and brandy singing voice, this son of Romany brought a certain elegance to every role, no matter how dangerous his character.
From the world-weary yet fiercely moral hired gun in The Magnificent Seven, to the robotic parody of that role in the 1970s adventure flick, Westworld, he always projected an aura of edgy magnetism.
Tall, Dark and Dangerous...
If Samuel L. Jackson doesn't meet the criteria for this category, no one does.
This versatile, talented actor gave new meaning to "dangerous" in Pacific Heights with his portrayal of the psychotic next-door neighbour who happened to be a policeman.
His shaved head lent an air of menace to his mature good looks, making his character wildly, if frighteningly, attractive.
Iconic Alien Baldness
Bald is not only hot these days, it is also cute and cuddly. The first alien to break through the "bald aliens are scary and evil" school of thought came to us from of Stephen Spielberg.
E.T., the Extraterrestrial quickly became an iconic figure. Quotations from the movie have made their way into everyday speech. Phrases such as "E.T., phone home..." have become a part of our modern lexicon.
From the Silver Screen to the Silver Diodes...
"A long time ago, when the earth was green"... television sets used to contain a big old vacuum tube. The technology relied on silver and barium oxide, diodes,and very large capacitors.
At that time most TV stations broadcast a black and white test pattern when they came on the air - in my part of the world, that was a First Nations Chief in full war bonnet against a circular grid. This graphical combination allowed you to visually adjust the horizontal and vertical controls to achieve the best proportions before the actual programming started.
Then would begin the daily ritual of tweaking the dials and carefully aligning the antennas to achieve maximum picture quality. Known as rabbit ears, the antenna consisted of a pair of telescoping metal rods that sprouted from a central, rounded, skullcap-shaped base.
In larger centers, the reception was usually sufficiently stable to ensure a great picture most days. In rural areas, though, the adjustment ritual often included adding a ball of crumpled tinfoil or steel wool to one or both of the rabbit ears to miraculously clear the snowy picture.
But I digress...
Not to be outdone by hair styles on silver screen, tonsorial splendor on the television screen kept pace with Hollywood.
Who Loves Ya, Baby?
Telly Savalas was one of the first TV stars in a prime-time series to promote the manliness of a smooth-top shave. His title character, Kojack, featured what had been referred to previously as a "chrome dome". International movie star-status, and polished, Greek charm added a certain cachet to his characterization.
Telly's Kojack not only wise-cracked about his shaved head, he was smoke-free long before that was ever an issue, sporting a lollipop in place of the (then) ever-present cigarettes. It's almost shocking now to see reruns of some of the old black and white TV programs where nearly everyone lights up at the drop of a lighter.
The Alien Menace?
Originally promoted as "Wagon Train in space", Star Trek has left its indelible mark on our society. Though the original series only lasted for five years, it has spawned numerous spin-offs. Resurrecting the Star Trek theme in the late 80s, Star Trek: The Next Generation was the first of many entries into the franchise.
Some of its various reincarnations were home to such notable luminaries as Majel Barret Roddenberry, who played Nurse Chapel in the original series, and will be remembered as Lwaxana Troi, formidable mother of Counselor Troi, as well as for providing the voice for the Enterprise's computer.
Star Trek also provided us with a number of alien creatures, including several ubiquitous "bald and intelligent but lacking in compassion" types. The Next Generation, though, also gave us the intelligent, well-spoken, well-traveled, and follicularly-challenged Captain Jean-Luc Pickard.
Portrayed with grace and humor by the vastly talented Patrick Stewart, this star ship captain brings maturity and a killer British flavor to the polished-top look.
More Spaced Invaders...
Some of our more intelligent and at least partially humane bald visitors in recent years arrived from a distant galaxy bringing all manner of incredible technology.
Though well-spoken, seemingly gentle, and nice looking, they really don't swell the ranks of the "bald and beautiful" population because of their curious androgeny.
This definitely does not apply to the young man who played Augur. He, too, is well-spoken and intelligent, but way beyond nice-looking. He qualifies!
Another small-screen Alien
Yet another entry into the bald alien visitors genre, the lovely Michelle Scarabelli played one of the luscious alien in TV's Alien Nation.
The movie on which the series was based starred James Caan, and featured Mandy Patinkin as an alien police investigator, renamed Sam Fransisco, a play on the name of his entry point.
Both the movie and the series commented on xenophobia, while the "alien immigration" allowed the writers to explore a variety of race, culture, and gender issues. Not in the least of these was the nature of true beauty.
Definitely NOT menacing...
A recent entry into the bald, bad and sexy field, Shemar Moore of the very scary Criminal Minds looks great with or without hair. He also brings a certain panache to the ranks of really cool guys who shaved their heads to look hot - and look hot, he does, indeed!
Bald can be babelishus
Sigourney Weaver is perhaps one of the best known of the feminine bald brigade. She's a triple threat player - a womanly, alien butt-kickin', big gun-packing' heavy hitter. Like her male counterparts, she never quits, never loses her humanity, and manages to get the job done against incredible odds.
Similarly, Demi Moore's character in G.I. Jane displays resourcefulness and courage in the face of adversity, and makes the bald look her own.
Other notable ladies of the shorn locks include Natalie Portman in V For Vendetta, Persis Khambatta in Star Trek, The Movie, and Cameron Diaz in My Sister's Keeper.
Definitely not the last word...
Though hair styles may come and go, there will always be room for the shaven-head style as well. It just looks too good on some. Not everyone can carry it off, but those who can certainly elevate the look to a level beyond mere hairlessness, up into the rarefied realm of icons and fashion-forward hairstyle fireworks.
© 2010 RedElf