"My hair," says John T. Capps III with a chuckle, "started waving goodbye when I was about 15. I like to say I use Rinse-a-way and, by golly, it works."
Capps, 42 and bald ("I have the fringe benefits left"), insists that a chrome dome adds character and individuality. "It's said that baldheaded men use their hormones for other activities instead of growing hair."
The owner of a printing business and president of the Morehead City, N.C., Chamber of Commerce is the founder and executive director of Bald-Headed Men of America, "America's fastest-growing fun organization" (about 10,000 members in 50 states and 10 foreign countries). Members include former president Gerald Ford, sportscaster Joe Garagiola, weatherman Willard Scott, actors Telly Savalas and Scatman Crothers and Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.).
Most members, Capps says, are "pretty well-adjusted" to their baldness. "We believe 'Skin is in,' and our motto is 'If you don't have it, flaunt it.' We like to say we're proud of every hair we don't have."
Capps says his organization receives mail regularly from psychologists and doctors seeking information on how they might help patients "having trouble accepting the fact they're baldheaded."
Most of the club's mail comes from wives, girl friends and secretaries. "They tell us their husband, boy friend or boss is concerned about losing his hair and that they find it attractive, sensuous and exciting. They ask us to send them information and to reassure them that their associates are pleased with the way they're going to look and not to worry about it."
It's a pity, says Capps, that people "spend thousands to try to regain hair. The serious part of the club is we believe it's more important what's inside the head and heart than what's on top of the head.
"We're not 100 percent against toupees, hairpieces or transplants if it makes that one individual feel better. On the other hand, we feel as though America has had enough coverups."
Media and fashion people, claims Capps, push an image of success that includes a healthy head of hair as well as "dark suit, tie, that sort of thing, so everybody looks the same."
When a man realizes "he's got more hair in the shower drain than he does on the top of his head," he says, "he begins to panic and realizes he's not going to look tomorrow the way he looked yesterday." That's when he has to decide whether he's going to continue being the man he is or if he's "going to spend thousands of dollars trying to be somebody he isn't."
Bald-Headed Men of America is in its 10th year. At its annual meeting Sept. 10 in Morehead City ("More head and less hair," as Capps likes to say), the club will be looking for "the perfect 10 in a bald head. If we don't find one, we'll have a good time trying."
But meanwhile, Capps' own remedy for baldness: alum and grapefruit juice. "It won't make your hair grow but it'll shrink your head to fit what hair you have left."
Bald-Headed Men of America, Arendell Street, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. One-time membership fee: $5. Chrome Dome newsletter. Money-back guarantee. ("If you don't like it, tear up your certificate and membership card and return them for a full refund.")