When I was 16, I went to the hairdresser. He started to trim my hair, then stopped and said: "I can't cut you there, you're going bald."
I went home and told my mum what he'd said. She took a close look and called my father: "Come and see, he's going bald."
It was true. I stared at where my hair should have been in the mirror. That was the beginning – the picture at the top of this page should be proof enough of the end.
But, get this, all you vain, coiffured, pimped up, mirror-gazing, hirsute preeners: if my hair was given back to me I would not want it. I AM HAPPY BEING BALD.
Which is why, as I read of a study showing it's possible to grow new hair follicles from human skin cells, I don't want to know. I can understand for women suffering hair loss or burns victims or people with alopecia, the transformationary research – hopefully – may have a profound impact. But for men with regulation male-pattern baldness?
For years afterwards that early diagnosis, I would part my hair to try and disguise its receding line. The result was that I started to look like Hitler, with a pointy peak in the middle of my forehead.
I lived in dread of someone highlighting what was occurring. I literally started to fear windy days when careful combing and even hair-spraying would come undone.
I had a spell spending a small fortune on oils and lotions, from a trichologist in central London who assured me they would defeat its advance. All to no avail.
Then, at university, I went to one trendy salon, who, without asking, clipped my hair scalp short. There was no pretending after that.
Soon, the middle went completely, and I was left with a "Friar Tuck" around the sides. I would still have that today, but for a holiday in Turkey.
A Turkish barber covered my entire head in shaving foam, and then proceeded to use a cut-throat all over. When he'd finished I looked like a billiard ball, totally smooth but with a white line where the hair had gone and the skin had not yet been exposed to the sun.
I loved it. I felt completely liberated. I went through a period of having my head shaved once a week by a hairdresser. I'd pay a tenner or more to have something done that took three minutes at most.
The black and white pictures on the salon walls, of gorgeous male models with luxuriant barnets told me I did not belong there – after all, I could hardly point to one of the portraits and say "I'd like one of those". The hairdresser was making a killing, and doubtless also having a laugh, at my expense.
Since then, I've done it myself, using a normal razor every morning. Truth is, I would not know what to do with hair if it returned. I can't remember what having it was like.
Warmer, I suppose.
By now, it would be grey and I'd be battling with more potions to hide its natural colour. I simply could not be bothered with worrying about how it looked, whether it was too long or too short, if the style was young or old for my years. I'm so glad not to have any.
But try telling that to some men. They find the concept of enjoying being a baldie anathema. One close relative would brush his luscious locks every time we paid a visit and ask what we thought of his hair. A friend always runs his fingers through his mane whenever we meet, and makes constant references to Kojak.
I've got on the bus, gone upstairs and had a group of kids singing "there's a baldie on the bus" at full volume. If I ever get into a road rage incident or row with a male stranger, inevitably they will fall back on name-calling, usually along the lines of me being "bald-headed" or "slaphead" followed by the C-word.
One reaction never ceases to amaze me though. Why do men with hair feel they have the right to pat a bald crown? It happens often enough to become a fairly typical response. Do they think I'm a baby, to be patted and patronised?
It was a sketch, years ago, on Benny Hill, that he would slap the head of an old man rapidly. For some reason, it always got a laugh. Surely, people of today don't regard pervy Benny as giving them licence to commit what is tantamount to assault in some cases?
This new research does seem genuinely revolutionary. New hair follicles can be implanted instead of the present treatment of having existing follicles transferred from elsewhere on the head. This procedure was first performed in rats more than 40 years ago – recreating it successfully in humans has proved incredibly difficult.
Finally, they believe they've got there. Now, however, the scientists have to find a way of reproducing the exact colour, type and size. New black curls amid thinning blond is not a great look.
They're not promising it will be available in hair clinics any time soon. Indeed, they seem intent on playing down the achievement. According to David Fenton of the Association of Dermatologists: "It's a long way from being a therapy, but it's a step in the right direction. It always makes great news when researchers make breakthroughs. This [treatment] is not an option at the present time, though. Even if it were, you wouldn't want to be a guinea pig – you want to know it's safe, it works, and that the hairs grow in the right direction."
Hairs grow in the right direction? Blimey. I'll stick with just how I am, thank you.Reuse content