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A Hairy Tale of Quarter-Life Crisis

Host Intro: Thoughts about perspective at quarter-life? In our personal perspective series, Tommaso Boronio looks for what’s gained when you lose something precious. 

Baronio: To be honest, there were clues. In the shower, I noticed I was losing a lot of it. 

And then, an old friend from back home in Ravenna, Italy, pointed it out to me. I’d been living in New York City for six months when I FaceTimed Mattia. 

Mattia has always had the emotional intelligence of a rock, but the long distance makes me forget that. 

So, as soon as the video call started, Mattia’s first words were, “Man, what’s happening to you? You're losing your hair. ” he was laughing. 

Pleasure to see you too, Mattia. 

The conversation quickly shifted to other topics…until I eventually remembered why I liked this guy.

For the record, I’m not bald. It’s more like I’ve always had a somewhat receding hairline. Now, apparently, it’s getting worse. 

It could just be a signal that My 25th birthday is coming up. 

However, in the days after my call with Mattia, his comment about my hair began to nag at me, like a mosquito on a summer night.

I’ve always been proud of my hair. When I was 11, I wanted the exact same haircut as Zac Efron in the first High School Musical. A year later, when I was 12, I went to a carnival party at my churc2. I’d dyed my hair pink and that day, I met my first girlfriend. I have always thought it was because of the hair.

My haircut now is a standard basic white cis male haircut. It’s my nautral color, light brown. It isn’t particularly short or long. In some lighting, it still looks thick. But if one day it were gone, not to be too dramatic, it would be like losing a limb. A part of how I see myself in the world would fall away, literally. 

When I take a self-inventory, here’s what I hear.


I am not particularlyy tall. 

I have a big nose. 

I do not have six-pack abs.

So….what if I also lose one of my few good features: my hair?

Will my girlfriend still find me attractive? 

Will I become a different person?



It’s the same question that has been following me for as long as I canI remember. 

Who am I when all of the material things are stripped away… a byline, a house, my hair? in the end, what is left?

When I'm old…very old… and I can no longero walk or recognize my loved ones. it won't matter whether I was successful or wealthy or whether I had hair or not. 

These things don’t make a man. But what does?

I suppose even asking the question is part of the answer.

So I’ll keep asking myself what matters most…and maybe pick up a hat or two along the way.

BACK ANNOUNCE: We would like listeners to know that Tommaso Baronio’s hair looks lovely today.  Though he says he’s going to start be working on his six-pack abs.



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