Going bald can be tough for a man to take – just ask me five years ago (I’m over it now).
In a bid to maintain value in the dating market while head hair steadily recedes, some men are resorting to ‘hatfishing’.
It’s like catfishing – whereby people use a deceptive online persona to lure someone into a relationship – except it is specific to men who obscure their balding from a prospective date.
Myles Lee-Harrison, from London, is one such hatfisher, and he has used both hats and combovers to hide his receding hairline, in person and online.
In the ultra-competitive worlds of Tinder and Bumble, he doesn’t use any photos that reveal the true extent of his hair loss.
Explaining why, the 23-year-old told LADbible: “I find that I look a lot better with my hair than without, at times.
“For me, I feel I’m going to get more matches, better reactions and – sounds a bit bad – but better quality of women if I have my hair looking the best that is possible.”
But of course, securing a date is only half the battle, and in the real world – unlike on dating apps – a strong gust of wind can undo efforts to conceal bald patches. This is a lesson Myles has learnt the hard way.
He said: “It was a very windy day in London that day unfortunately and they asked [about his receding hair]. Their mood did change a little bit.
“They saw my hair was a complete mess and they said, ‘Oh look, your hair’s going quite far back’.”
He continued: “Usually I’ll carry on or try and change the subject, sometimes. Or I might just tell them sometimes honestly, it’s like, yeah, I’ve got a bit of baldness.
“I don’t obviously, unless it’s the right situation, I might show them more, if they’re curious. But to me, it’s not always one of those things that I enjoy expressing to people. It’s sort of one of my little, not secrets, but something I don’t enjoy discussing.”
Of course, a man can only hatfish for so long, and there comes a point when they must come clean about the state of affairs with their head hairs. Indeed, research by Simone Thomas Wellness suggests men could be better off coming clean – or cleanshaven – from the outset, with 40 percent of women indicating that they would go no further with a potential love interest if they were hatfished by them.
One woman in the US found out she had been hatfished by a baseball player while kissing in his room.
Tatyannah King, from Philadelphia, had only every seen him in a cap – even after ‘stalking’ him on Instagram – but assumed this was due to the fact he was a baseball player. It was only when they began to get intimate that the flawed methodology that is hatfishing began to unravel.
Tatyannah, 25, told LADbible: “One night we were in his room, started making out, and as I attempted to take off his baseball cap, he gripped my arm so fast and tight to the point where I was flustered.
“I asked ‘Ummm…is everything OK?’, and he assured me that everything was fine. So then
we proceeded to kiss each other and I made my second attempt at moving his baseball cap out of the way, so I could grab onto his hair.
the baseball cap slid off, I couldn’t help but immediately notice that he had a strong receding hairline. I didn’t say anything about it because I didn’t want to be rude, but my facial expression gave my true thoughts away. I was pretty shocked because he looked
like a different person without the baseball cap on.
“At that point, I shifted the focus of our time together to conversation rather than kissing because I was too caught off guard.”
It’s a tricky predicament for men though, ’cause while baseball bloke’s hatfishing bid was ultimately thwarted, Tatyannah admits she probably wouldn’t have pursued him in the first place had she seen his receding hairline.
So what is a balding man to do? Is hatfishing any more deceptive than using makeup to accentuate certain features, or a corset to mould others?
Despite not fancying baseball bloke without his hat, Tatyannah reckons women generally would be more attracted to men who embrace their baldness.
She said: “I
don’t necessarily think that hatfishing is wrong, but I do think it’s misleading for men to purposely hatfish women if they know for a fact that they don’t look the same without that particular accessory. It’s one thing to wear hats because they look good,
but it’s a completely different story when you wear them to the point where someone isn’t sure what you look like without it.
“Men don’t hatfish because they wake up one morning and just so happen to be in the mood to deceive women. They likely do it because they feel like they have to, especially because there are tons of reasons
why men experience hair loss in the first place, such as a scalp condition, regular aging, or even stress.
way, I do think women would generally be more attracted to men who embrace their baldness rather than desperately hanging onto the last few patches of hair left. If they’ve invested in a good barber and had a clean shave then there’s a chance that he may look
better without the hair anyway.”
Speaking from personal experience, I would have to agree that it is much better to be bald than balding.
If you need a little persuading to take the plunge, you can read my tale of moulting, misery and eventual acceptance here.
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