The Rise, Flop and Fall of the Comb-Over

There may be exceptions, but men with prominent, noticeable comb-overs are often regarded as desperate. Instead of aging gracefully, they’re seen as hopelessly clinging to a time when they had a full head of hair. Worst of all, for people with advanced hair loss, the comb-over is entirely ineffective. Instead of disguising a man’s baldness, it only accentuates it, thus laying bare their lack of hair and, even worse, their insecurity. This wasn’t always the case. For at least a couple of thousand years, comb-overs were perfectly acceptable and worn by the most powerful men in the world. It was only during the latter half of the 20th century that it all came crashing — or flopping — down. The man who’s generally considered to be the first man with a comb-over is Julius Caesar, who was born in 100 B.C. and died 56 years later. In 1977, Frank J. Smith and his son Donald patented the comb-over. Though the hairstyle was nothing new at the time, the duo developed a complex version that involved not just combing the hair over from one side, but from both sides and the back. Apparently, they thought it was so innovative that it should be patented and, even more surprisingly, the U.S. Patent Office agreed. Unfortunately for them, the hairstyle didn’t catch on because it was already in decline. Hair plugs became the newest thing, gradually becoming more natural-looking over the years. Next came Rogaine, which began to be prescribed for balding in the late 1980s, and finally……baldness became completely acceptable in the 1990s. Today, the comb-over has remains acceptable……but only in political circles. It turns out that 38% of Congress sports the hairdo today. So, if you’re a man who is facing the cue ball dilemma, you pretty much have two options: (1) shave it all, or (2) get into politics.