Filthy frank

After seeing a phokhổng lồ of a bare-scalped Jared Lelớn on the set of ‘House of Gucci,’ one writer—himself a bald man—has a bone lớn pick


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Getty Images/Ringer illustration
Just over a year ago, in a feat of unparalleled Jared Leto–ness, Jared Lekhổng lồ emerged from a 12-day silent retreat in the desert to lớn the news that COVID-19 had begun lớn spread throughout the United States. Apparently, despite what the Joker says, some of us can go a couple of weeks without living in a society. Leto’s reentry into lớn the world sparked some media coverage, with each article accompanied by a phokhổng lồ of the actor showcasing his familiar cascading tresses. As a person who started losing his hair at age 19, I always respect when a guy really leans inlớn his ability to lớn grow a great head of hair, whether it’s Oscar winner Jared Leto or Clevel& Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen. Seeing a fully realized coiffure feels lượt thích watching a naturally gifted piano player tackle a difficult piece of music. Conventional wisdom dictates that game recognize game, although in my experience, a complete lack of game (in this case, my hairline) can also recognize game (hirsute excellence).

But thanks lớn a picture released last week, we know that Jared Lelớn now looks like this. Paunchy và balding, with unruly hair dangling past the nape of his nechồng (a look I like khổng lồ call “business in the front, buổi tiệc ngọt in the Baông chồng … to the Future”). Clad in a purple corduroy suit, Leto gives off the vibe of a professional wrestling manager, or a traveling quaalude salesman, or as one friend put it, the “You have no good car ideas!” guy from I Think You Should Leave sầu. What a difference a year makes.

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Of course, Jared Lelớn looks this way because he’s in full hair và makeup for his role as Paolo Gucci in the upcoming Ridley Scott biopic House of Gucci. I assume he’s in full wardrobe too, but I bởi think he could probably pull off the head-to-toe corduroy in his daily life without raising too many eyebrows, so I don’t want to speculate.

This is, of course, a long-standing Hollywood practice. Rather than hire Paul Giamatti, Jason Statmê man, J.K. Simmons, or Leslie David Baker khổng lồ play a bald character, productions cast actors with full, thichồng heads of hair, & then bald them up. It’s double-dipping. You get the clout from a famous hot person’s name without them looking hot, và then they also get the actor cred for being brave sầu enough lớn look regular on camera. Christian Bale was nominated for an Osoto for American Hustle, a movie that nobody liked (Writer’s admission: I did kind of lượt thích that movie), for putting a toupee on top of a bald cap. That is extreme bald guy stolen valor!!!

(A quiông xã aside: My scorn does not extend khổng lồ actors with fully shaved heads, which is a hairstyle that anyone can adopt regardless of their natural hairline, & which bald guys have been employing for years as a “leave sầu something khổng lồ the imagination” maneuver.)

I’m furious at Jared Leto, even though I understvà this isn’t his fault. And this frustration isn’t chất lượng to lớn me. A few years ago, Shea Serrano (who, despite his self-deprecation, is a handsome guy) wrote for this website about the infuriating trover of conventionally hot actors playing ugly characters in movies. Regarding Matthew McConaughey’s “transformation” into lớn an average schlub for his role in the film Gold, Shea said:

Technically <…> he probably did work hard to lớn make himself look ugly. He probably ate poorly and didn’t exercise. But guess what? I know people who don’t have sầu lớn work at all lớn make themselves ugly. Maybe you’ve sầu heard of them? They’re called ugly people. And guess what else? They have feelings và rights and dreams, same as attractive people.

Just as Shea stood up for those of us who are, let’s say, facially deficient, I would lượt thích khổng lồ speak specifically for those among mỏi us with an abundance of forehead. Much lượt thích Jared Leto lớn, I have sầu also grown balder và puffier over the past year, but I did it the old-fashioned way: găng tay và stress-related snacking. Where, I ask, is my supporting role in an Adam Driver–Lady Gaga starring vehicle? MY CRANIUM IS NOT YOUR COSTUME, JARED.

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Is this the most pressing issue of representation & authenticity in casting? No. Do bald male actors face the same màn chơi of scrutiny around their bodies as their female colleagues? Absolutely not. Is this whole opinion rooted in petty jealousy & insecurity? OF COURSE IT IS.

So does this matter at all? A little bit! We don’t need Jared Leto lớn to lớn be bald, because we’ve already got bald guys. But thanks khổng lồ anti-baldness bias, our numbers are dwindling. Over the past several years, we’ve sầu lost several prominent balds lớn hair restoration surgery, a process that used lớn make your skull look lượt thích a field of withered Dust Bowl cornstalks, but now works pretty well. Thanks to this technology (allegedly), the eroded hairlines of men ranging from Jason Alexander and Jeremy Piven khổng lồ LeBron James and Joe Biden have, well, re-roded.

I vì chưng not fault anyone for wanting to look more traditionally handsome. There are obvious benefits lớn not looking like shit (& by “looking lượt thích shit” I of course mean failing lớn adhere khổng lồ rigid cultural beauty norms). The issue of hair restoration falls firmly under the umbrella of “don’t hate the player, hate the game,” except in the cases of Piven & Elon Musk, where you can hate both player and game alượt thích. If, based on personal preferences & societal pressures, you decide khổng lồ erect various surgical và cosmetic levees to lớn protect against the rushing và swelling river of age, I have no problem with that. But to lớn go from a full head of scalp baông chồng khổng lồ a full head of hair is to lớn attempt the full-on reversal of time’s passage. It’s too much to lớn expect people khổng lồ believe. And if that’s what you’re after, just buckle down & build the time machine, Elon.

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I don’t want khổng lồ live sầu in a world where Jason Alexander needs a full head of hair lớn make it through the day. If playing bald icon George Costanza for nine seasons of Seinfeld doesn’t earn you a lifetime pass on needing thiông chồng, credible hair, what chance vì chưng the rest of us have?

The expectation that one should be able to lớn thrive sầu in entertainment (or anywhere, really) while defying conventional standards of attractiveness is a male privilege for sure. But it’s not a privilege we should be trying lớn revoke. Instead, we should endeavor khổng lồ extover similar privileges to as many types of people as possible. We should all feel không lấy phí and happy living in the bodies we have, or adjusting them khổng lồ suit our own personal needs rather than external expectations. To compel us balds to do otherwise isn’t just a windfall for big pharma & big hat (no offense, Pharrell), it’s a firm step in the wrong direction for our culture as a whole.

To say that it’s only OK khổng lồ be bald if you are actually, underneath a layer of latex & someone else’s hair, traditionally hot is not just insulting khổng lồ bald people; it’s limiting to every person whose body toàn thân doesn’t fit a specific mold. The ripple effects of this are numerous và far-ranging. There are already so many people whose bodies are under constant surveillance because of their gender, their race, their age, and their kích cỡ. And any additional compulsory traditional hotness heightens that vigilance. So yes, this is a dumb thing for me lớn be mad about. But on the other h&, no man’s hairline is an island, even when he has gone bald in a way that leaves a literal isl& of hair on top of his head.

Josh Gondelman is a comedian living in Thủ đô New York City. He’s currently a producer and writer on Showtime’s Desus và Mero. You can hear hyên ổn on his weekly podcast Make My Day, và see hyên ổn tweet at

Chuyên mục: ĐỊNH NGHĨA