Belfast Telegraph

Jimmy Nesbitt is only giving us bald truth about his hair transplant

By Gail Walker

Promoting his acclaimed new TV series, Monroe, and talking about his role in The Hobbit, one of the biggest movies ever, Jimmy Nesbitt is confident, happy and, once again, upfront about his hair transplant. Which is actually rather charming.

And why shouldn't he boast about the thatch? It's taken years off him. Give or take the odd wrinkle, he looks like the Jimmy of Cold Feet days. Which is a distinct improvement on his latter-day Murphy's Law effort of trying to make a thinning pate look, oooh, so hard and badass.

Jimmy's played a blinder as regards the hair - a mix of matter-of-fact honesty and bewilderment that people are making so much of it.

"Several years ago I began losing my hair, and like a lot of men it was a major concern to me - in fact, it was practically an obsession," he said in an interview at the weekend, hinting at the underlying trauma.

"But also I'm an actor, so I'm in the public eye a lot, and I really felt that my hair loss could affect my career prospects."

When a mate who is a barber recommended he consider a transplant, he didn't hesitate.

"I'm also using the approved medications, finasteride and minoxidil, to improve the quality of my hair and to prevent further hair loss," he added

Let other men take note how it's done.

True, it is a difficult one: baldness is the one area where men just can't win. It can't be denied, the evidence is there on the top of your head - or usually not. Wear an ill-fitting rug and you risk unforgiving ridicule. Ditto those hair-in-a-can solutions.

So, rather than chance humiliation, many men adopt an odd half-admission/half-denial tactic.

Scrape it back like James Gandolfini of the Sopranos and all that's missing is the bowling shirt, the half-smoked cigar and the body in the boot.

For those of a more traditional bent, there's always the Bobby Charlton flailing comet-style comb-over (increasingly rare, but, like corncrakes, they're still hanging on).

Or the Andre Agassi touch of suede. Or, perhaps the smartest option, the Benito Mussolini. (I've even seen the Mussolini-like pouty lip and puffed-out chest from those who have opted to go totally shaven. Even when buying a bag of crisps and a Curly Wurly).

Problem is, these strategies of making a virtue out of a necessity only serve to declare it from the rooftops. So, no wonder the onset of baldness can cause men considerable stress. They must throw themselves upon our fickle mercies, pretending that nobody has actually noticed and that, hey ho, they've just chosen these hairstyles - or 'headstyles' - by chance. Yet, when the laughter subsides, is it really funny?

It's easier for women. For us, going under the knife for cosmetic reasons ("cosmetic" being a fancy way of saying "vanity") barely raises a pencilled-in eyebrow.

Yes, we may sneer at starlets going from an A to DD cup, but that's more to do with class, a chance to show off our innate good taste. In real life, we all know somebody who's had a wee nip and tuck or a bit of Botox and our attitude is "You go, Girl".

But men seeking cosmetic surgery still prompts sneers, titters and accusations of prissy vanity.

Yet why shouldn't a man do what makes him feel better about himself? We live in a world that increasingly judges people by appearance.

Indeed, America is locked in debate about whether a potential presidential candidate is too tubby to garner votes. Over there, it's mooted that they'll never have an "old" president, like Dwight Eisenhower or Ronald Reagan, ever again. And that goes for "old-looking" as well.

So, let's not blame men for being as nervous as women in our body-conscious society and seeking a little extra help from the surgeon. Particularly if it looks as convincing as it does on our Jimmy.

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