New York Confidential: Bald pride and the style battle against hair loss

EARLIER THIS week, the Wall Street Journal ran a story on its front page headlined "The Comb-Over Loses Out in Battle Against Hair Loss". It documented how the comb-over, which it described as "the most elegant baldness remedy of all", was losing market share to shaved heads, buzz cuts, baseball-cap cover-ups, implants, transplants, toupees, wigs and weaves.

As a balding man, I read this with particular interest. I personally favour the buzz cut, which enjoys the advantage of being in fashion. This means that people can't tell whether I'm bald or simply following the latest trend - provided they only glance at me for a second. However, the buzz cut will inevitably go out of fashion and when that happens, I'll have to have what Martin Amis calls a "rug rethink". I think it may be a little premature to write off the comb-over.

Given that all baldness remedies are ultimately detectable, the comb- over can't be ruled out on the grounds that it fools no one. On the contrary, the fact that it is so transparent a solution may work to its advantage. It's such a cack-handed, obvious attempt to cover up baldness it may ultimately become a fashionably ironic hair style. John Waters, the camp, independent film-maker can pull it off. Why can't I?

You think this is far-fetched? I recently met a top New York disc jockey called Keith Fancy who appears to model himself on John Waters, right down to the pencil-thin moustache. The appropriately named Fancy has one of the most conspicuous comb-overs I've ever set eyes on, with a parting that begins just millimetres above his left ear. Every Wednesday, Fancy runs a club night called Vanity on 23rd Street between Madison and Park that is one of the most fashionable spots in town. Admittedly, he's the only person I've ever seen there with a comb-over, but that may change. In the Wall Street Journal article, the late-night talk show host Tom Snyder sings the praises of this time-tested baldness remedy. "I'm covering nine miles of scalp with six miles of hair," he brags. If only our own Robert Robinson would be equally candid about his own baldness solution, he could become a role model for future generations.

ARE YOU a troubled young woman, with a fixation on older men, looking for a job? I recommend the White House Intern Programme which appears to be about as difficult to get into as Stringfellow's on a Tuesday night. In a bizarre postscript to the Monica Lewinsky affair, a 30-year-old woman was arrested in New York earlier this week for stalking George Stephanopoulos, Clinton's ex-adviser. Like Monica, she too was a former White House intern.

Doesn't the White House bother to vet the applicants for internships? I spoke to another of Clinton's former aides, a woman who wishes to remain nameless, to try and get to the bottom of this.

"I didn't get the impression there was any screening process at all," she confided. "The level of incompetence among the interns was staggering."

Was she ever stalked by anyone?

"Not by an intern, no," she said, leaving me to guess who on earth her pursuer might have been.

WHEN ENGLISH people come and visit me in New York, they inevitably commit some appalling faux pas that I then torture them about for the remainder of their stay. For instance, on one occasion I was sitting with two newly arrived friends in the back of a yellow cab, when they started playing charades. I initially thought this was quite amusing until I worked out that the words one of them was acting out formed the name of our cab driver. It's difficult to imagine a more politically incorrect response to the impossible-to-pronounce, ethnic names of New York cabbies. I quickly put a stop to this before the poor man worked out what was going on.

However, a recent visitor committed a faux pas which surpassed even this. Imogen Edwards-Jones, a columnist for a rival broadsheet, flew into town last week and decided to go for her first-ever manicure. After she'd been seated, a plump Korean woman placed a finger-bowl in front of her so she could wash her hands before the manicure began. Imogen thanked the woman profusely, raised the bowl to her lips and drained it in one gulp. She assumed it was an aperitif.

THE HIGHLIGHT of the New York Film Festival, which is currently in full swing, is Celebrity, Woody Allen's scathing satire of America's fame culture. One of the reasons for the excitement is that Leonardo DiCaprio is in the film, playing a spoilt movie brat who leaves a trail of teenage models in his wake. (That performance must have been a stretch.) For once, the Woodman hasn't cast himself in one of his own films. Instead, the neurotic, indecisive character around whom the action revolves is played by our very own Kenneth Branagh.

In one scene, Branagh, who plays a journalist, receives a "Monica" from Melanie Griffith, who portrays an ageing movie star. As the New York Observer has pointed out, this is ass-backwards. These days you only have to open the covers of a glossy magazine to see that it is journalists who perform this service on movie stars every day.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea