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

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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 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 photo 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 Clevelvà 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 to lớn a picture released last week, we know that Jared Lekhổng lồ now looks like this. Paunchy và balding, with unruly hair dangling past the nape of his neông xã (a look I lượt thích to lớn gọi “business in the front, party in the Baông chồng … to lớn the Future”). Clad in a purple corduroy suit, Leto lớn 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 oto ideas!” guy from I Think You Should Leave. What a difference a year makes.

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Of course, Jared Lekhổng lồ looks this way because he’s in full hair and 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 vì 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 lớn speculate.

This is, of course, a long-standing Hollywood practice. Rather than hire Paul Giamatti, Jason Statđê mê, J.K. Simmons, or Leslie David Baker to lớn play a bald character, productions cast actors with full, thiông xã heads of hair, and 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 notoàn thân liked (Writer’s admission: I did kind of like that movie), for putting a toupee on top of a bald cap. That is extreme bald guy stolen valor!!!

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

I’m furious at Jared Leto, even though I understvà this isn’t his fault. And this frustration isn’t unique 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 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 to work at all to make themselves ugly. Maybe you’ve heard of them? They’re called ugly people. And guess what else? They have sầu feelings & rights & dreams, same as attractive sầu people.

Just as Shea stood up for those of us who are, let’s say, facially deficient, I would like lớn speak specifically for those among us with an abundance of forehead. Much lượt thích Jared Lekhổng lồ, I have also grown balder và puffier over the past year, but I did it the old-fashioned way: bít tất 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 and authentiđô thị 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 và 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 lost several prominent balds to lớn hair restoration surgery, a process that used khổng lồ make your skull look lượt thích a field of withered Dust Bowl cornstalks, but now works pretty well. Thanks to lớn this công nghệ (allegedly), the eroded hairlines of men ranging from Jason Alexander & Jeremy Piven khổng lồ LeBron James and Joe Biden have, well, re-roded.

I vì chưng not fault anyone for wanting khổng lồ look more traditionally handsome. There are obvious benefits to lớn not looking like shit (và by “looking lượt thích shit” I of course mean failing lớn adhere to lớn 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 và Elon Musk, where you can hate both player & game alượt thích. If, based on personal preferences and societal pressures, you decide to erect various surgical & cosmetic levees to protect against the rushing & swelling river of age, I have no problem with that. But khổng lồ 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 lớn expect people to believe. And if that’s what you’re after, just buckle down và build the time machine, Elon.

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

The expectation that one should be able to 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 khổng lồ revoke. Instead, we should endeavor to extover similar privileges to as many types of people as possible. We should all feel không tính phí và happy living in the bodies we have sầu, or adjusting them khổng lồ suit our own personal needs rather than external expectations. To compel us balds lớn bởi otherwise isn’t just a windfall for big pharma and 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 to lớn be bald if you are actually, underneath a layer of latex và someone else’s hair, traditionally hot is not just insulting lớn bald people; it’s limiting to lớn every person whose body doesn’t fit a specific mold. The ripple effects of this are numerous and far-ranging. There are already so many people whose bodies are under constant surveillance because of their gender, their race, their age, and their size. And any additional compulsory traditional hotness heightens that vigilance. So yes, this is a dumb thing for me khổng lồ be mad about. But on the other hand, no man’s hairline is an isl&, even when he has gone bald in a way that leaves a literal island of hair on top of his head.

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

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