Toupees and Artichokes

Toupees have been around for a long time. Wikipedia says we have archaeological proof man has been putting someone else’s hair on his head since 3,100 BC. They attribute it to the world’s “long-standing bias against balding.” Roman poet Ovid wrote The Art of Love about the time Jesus was born. He wrote: “Ugly are hornless bulls, a field without grass is an eyesore, so is a tree without leaves, so is a head without hair.” It didn’t get any better for the hair-challenged 900 years later. That is when The Arabian Nights was written. A character in that book asks, “Is there anything uglier in the world than a man beardless and bald as an artichoke?” And because most men would rather not look like an artichoke, he’s been looking for ways to cover up his bald head for years.

We may not need or want a toupee but there are other things in our life many of us choose to cover up. Some of us are really good at it, too. Maybe it’s a sin we are not proud of; perhaps it’s a weakness or deficiency we don’t want anyone to know about. How much energy and anxiety have we spent making sure our secret is safe? But let’s not forget there are no secrets with God: “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17).

And the truth be told, we probably aren’t fooling as many people as we think we are anyway. We’ve seen some bad toupees in our day. In fact “rugs” have a long and humorous history. The typical toupee joke has something to do with the wearer’s cluelessness regarding how silly the “road-kill” looks on his head. Like a bad hairpiece, at the end of the day the only person we may be fooling is ourselves.

How much more real and beautiful is the person who acknowledges their sins, foibles, and limitations? Honesty is an admirable quality; hypocrisy stinks.

Proverbs 28:13 reads: “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Obtaining mercy from God is a promise. It has been my observation that others are much more willing to grant mercy than we often think, as well. But even if they don’t, there is something freeing about sincerity and authenticity.

Someone has said “bald is beautiful.” Granted, a guy with no hair probably coined it, but I bet his wife, family, and friends agree. It sure is a lot more appealing and attractive than what Donald Trump has on top of his head. Besides, I think artichokes look pretty cool for a vegetable. Don’t you?

Pastor Rich Hamlin

October 2, 2014


  1. Thanks Rich, I needed that. Years ago my wife and kids got me a little statuette of a little old bald man and the inscription reads: “Bald is Beautiful”. I took that as a gesture of love telling me, dad we love you just the way you are. After all these years it still has a place of prominence on my desk. Every time I look at it I chuckle and say, thank you Lord for giving me a wife and children that love me just like you do, just the way I am.

  2. It didn’t work out too well for those punk teenagers who made fun of Elisha for being bald!

“Amending the Soil” Christian Education Conference

Register or volunteer for Bible Day Camp now