When I first arrived in Hong Kong from the United States, I was terrified. I kept seeing all these guys who looked like they had come straight from intensive care - no hair.
Not just thinning hair, like mine, or a buzz cut, but nothing - slick and shiny pates. They could have been soccer hooligans, except that those guys don't usually wear Armani. And they weren't punks.
No, it had to be a medical condition. But what was I supposed to do? Walk up to some guy and say, 'So, how's the chemo working out?'
I began to notice it was mostly Western guys, so I figured I was genetically susceptible. It could have been the water, so I loaded up at Watsons. It could have been the pollution, so I wore masks. (This meant I had to stop smoking, because a cigarette poking out of the mask just looked silly.)
Then I observed more closely. These guys all looked pretty healthy. Maybe a little plump but, you know, ambulatory. Headlice, maybe? I nuked my flat with bug spray.
Finally I found out it was neither a pest nor a disease-related affliction. My wife told me it was 'a thing' to attract babes. You mean, a sympathy play? Like, 'I only got a few weeks to live so hang out with me, please'?
'No, just a thing,' she said. She always got higher test scores than me so I'm sure she's correct.
But I'm staying away from Lan Kwai Fong - just in case it is contagious after all.