The Balding Handbook: Combover Varieties

Read a funny excerpt from David Stern’s Balding Handbook on combover varieties.

Editor’s note: Writer David Stern has written a very important book about a very important issue: male pattern baldness. As a fellow member of the follically challenged, Stern reached out to me to ask if he could promote his book on The Humor Columnist. This is is an exclusive excerpt from The Balding Handbook: The 5 Stages of Grieving for Your Hair Loss. 

“But Dave,” you might say, “I definitely do not have a combover.”

Are you 100 percent sure about that? Combovers come in all shapes and sizes. Here are just a few different types, and it’s not even an all-inclusive list.

The original combover trademarked by Frank Smith is commonly referred to as The Flip at our balding conventions.

It’s also quite commonly used at another convention held every four years.

If you’re spending an hour after every shower flipping your hair from one side to the other, you may not be a Republican, but you’re most definitely sporting the Republican Party’s combover of choice ever since former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani “flipped” his way into the hearts of voters nationwide after 9/11.


The Frontal Tuft Fluff Up is probably the most sophisticated combover. A FTFU wearer takes the few remaining hairs on his frontal scalp, and teases them or “fluffs them up” above the forehead to disguise the vast wasteland behind the tuft.

The Frontal Tuft Fluff Up became the Democratic Party’s combover of choice when former Vice President Gore used a tiny little tuft of frontal hair to create the magical illusion of a full head of hair. Unlike most FTFUers, Gore managed to pull it off by never allowing photographs to be taken from behind, and employing round-the-clock hair magicians to make his trees look like a forest.

Unless you’ve got the Secret Service protecting you from rogue photographers (which you don’t), invented the internet (which you didn’t), you’ve got millions to waste on hair magicians (which you don’t), or you’re planning on participating in thousands of police lineups, the only thing your FTFU will create is a maximum amount of snickering behind your back.

After all, anyone looking at you from that angle can see how ridiculous you look.

The Taliban, also known as The Swirl and The Soft Serve Ice Cream, is one of the more creative combovers. The hair is grown especially long on one side, just like The Flip, but instead of simply flipping the hair, the Talibaner swirls his hair into a hair mat on top of his head.

Former University of Illinois and New Mexico State basketball coach Lou Henson was probably the most famous devotee of this technique. He was also widely mocked. On the other hand, the Taliban has been around for hundreds of years in the Middle East. Some historians believe it was the original inspiration for the turban.

The Trump (see top image) is probably the most recent combover innovation. Trumpers grow their hair really long in the back, flip it toward the front, and keep it in place with ozone-layer-killing industrial strength hairspray. There’s no need to see the certificate of the bozo that “birthed” this movement, but suffice it to say that baldologists everywhere get a certain glee when they tell their clients that this ridiculous combover must be told: “You’re fired!”

Personal Pain…

I, too, have experienced the unrelenting pain. It was Memorial Day 1992 when a couple of buddies and I attended a Chicago White Sox game. After a beautiful color guard presentation honoring our fallen, we all stood in reverence for the Star Spangled Banner. Right around the time the ramparts were gallantly streaming, a Green Beret behind me requested I remove my cap. Mired in the throes of denial, I refused. He yanked my hat off, revealing my impressive Taliban combover. I woke up during the eighth inning. Those were confusing times.

You can purchase The Balding Handbook by David Stern here. Stern is donating some money from the sales of the book to The Happiness Plunge to help buy wigs for kids who are going through cancer treatments.

UPDATE: Congrats, David, for breaking onto Amazon’s Best Sellers in Parodies list.

UPDATE: David has created a White House petition to to “rename our incredibly insensitively named national symbol the, ‘Bald Eagle, to the ‘Follicly-Challenged” Eagle.'” This is important stuff, America.

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