How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

My Son’s Receding Hairline

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Of my many faults, some stand out more than others in my day-to-day activities. Being born to Irish descent, I contend with more than a few stereotypical issues I feared my first son would inherit, namely: bad teeth, skin and devout stubbornness. I am piously pigheaded. When my first son was born with a pretty good head of brown hair I felt like he was leaning towards his mom’s side. Good teeth, great skin and hair.

Then it all fell out.

Since then his hair grew back in but it transformed into a reddish, gold – something neither of us can claim to have had as babies or later, without the use of a colorist or bleach – and it’s now sort of a lighter brown. It just points straight down to the ground.

I think it's time for a paternity test, @ithrowtp. #ForSerious

A photo posted by Charlie N Andy (@howtobeadad) on

If you look at pictures of me as a baby, my hair was all in the back of my head. I looked like Gallagher (without the sledgehammer) or perhaps a very distinguished Jewish accountant named Sol. Growing up goy, I actually yearned to be Jewish, especially when I went to Temple with my friends or to their Bar Mitzvahs. I loved the experience, the community. I felt at home. And the potato pancakes? I was a lock.

Baby number #2 was a hair color crapshoot as well. He was born with almost no hair, and it’s slowly grown in over time. I’m hoping he keeps his hair. Hell, I hope they both hold on to it as I continue to shampoo, and take vitamins and count the lost strands in my hands every day. My hair’s not even that far gone, but I feel like a gardener who like to count his blades of grass. And we all know California’s in a drought.

Any other dads think about this stuff? Or am I insane? Some days, I feel like my life is a race against my receding hairline. It’s not something I enjoy talking about, but qualifying for the Hairlympics is just something some of us destined to do. And no one wants to medal.

A photo posted by Charlie Capen (@charliecapen) on


One Response to “My Son’s Receding Hairline”

  1. Heather says:

    As a mom of Irish decent as well (my mother was born in Dublin), I feared most of all any of my children being red heads. Being one myself (well, not currently. I recently had brain surgery and they shaved half my head- so I dyed what was left purple and blue), I knew how difficult school age children can be. Two out of my three are in fact red heads, with fair skin. My middle child, my blondie, we call her our day walker. Our son, who has the most gorgeous red hair, also has Alopecia, and is missing hair in some places. I wouldn’t be too concerned about his hairline. He’s just got a high forehead. It’s because his brain is so big. Cuz he’s so smart.

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