phrenology, Yul-headedness, & me

I look like a phrenologist engaged in my craft.  Where are the bumps and indentations in my skull? Is the ridge that appears on my crown in bleary, blurry baby pictures still there? Feeling, touching my head. Not looking for signs of my intelligence, personality or morality as 19th century phrenologists did. But a “map” of my skull.

I had the privilege of seeing Yul Brenner in a London revival of The King and I in London in 1979. I always found him incredibility interesting, and his bald head extremely sexy. He initially

shaved it to play the King in the early 1950s, and decided he liked it. His fans did to, shaving their heads in the fashion of their idol. Well ahead (excuse the unintentional pun) of his time, Brenner created Yul-headedness. I never felt Yul’s head. Sigh. A  phrenologist’s dream.

To be totally bald by choice, not as support; statement; or condition, requires a Yul-head. Unfortunately, Yul-headedness is a rare physical trait. Some people have the right skull for it, most don’t.

I don’t have a Yul-head. My phrenographical map reveals I still have the baby crest/ridge on my crown with companion ridges on either side. There are mountains and valleys on the back of my head. Sigh. Yul-headedness is not in my future.

Why the obsession with phrenology and baldness? Well, that is my near future. My hair is falling out faster than the 4 months it takes for Rogaine to grow it. Good thing I started with a lot of fairly long hair! I’ve lost about 2/3s of it. Embarrassing to leave a trail of hair behind you; or shed on someone’s chair or couch.

I wear my hair pulled back in a bun – but it still finds it’s way to the floor, my clothes, cards, bill payments, etc. I’ve shed like a husky in July before, but the hair came back; this time it isn’t.

There is, however, a lovely irony to all this. A scalp sample was taken for biopsy. It was tested for possible causes/diseases/disorders/conditions – none were found. The only finding – that I have a heredity gene for thinning hair and hair loss.

No-one, going back at least 3 generations, on both sides of the family, went to their grave without a full head of hair. Some slightly receding hairlines, and my paternal grandmother’s hair had thinned on her crown. She was 99 when she passed. No baldness, no thinned hair, no patchy scalps.

I always thought I was devolving. Now I have the proof.


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