The Latest Buzz: Morro Bay High School’s Bald Epidemic

By Claire Wilson

December 8, 2023

This year, Morro Bay High School is seeing a strange trend among boys; shaved heads. It seems like every day, there’s a new shaved head. Suddenly, the guy next to you in English class is bald, then it’s your lab partner. What’s going on? Is there a shampoo shortage? A lice outbreak? A mass conversion to Buddhism? Determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, I conducted a series of interviews in an attempt to answer the question: what is causing so many boys to shave their heads?

Many of these boys are part of sports teams, which often create cultures with their own rules and norms, leading to peer pressure and groupthink. This certainly seemed to be the case when I spoke to Jack Walker, a junior on the cross country team. “I would not have done it by myself,” he says,  “It was fun because it was a group activity, or like, team bonding.” Walker shaved his head with his team at a hotel in Fresno, while the team attended a cross country meet. The idea was conceived in the hot tub, when someone suggested they all shave their heads. Everyone except Jack backed out. While some athletes go bald for the fun of it, Jared’s story is a bit different. 

Jack Walker (junior)

Jared Eublera, a senior on the wrestling team, says that he shaved his head as punishment after going 0-2 at a JV wrestling tournament. “I felt like I had to be punished so I shaved my head. I got Keyton to join in with me, but that was it, it wasn’t part of the team doing it.” Jared says he likes it better now, and plans to keep the style. “I can actually see stuff and my head can, like, breathe,” he says. For most of the other boys I spoke to, this isn’t the case. When asked if he plans to continue shaving his head, Walker said, “I'm growing it back out, it was a fun thing to do once.” 

It’s hard to know exactly when this trend started. Walker claims he started the trend, but so does Eublera, who shaved his head in February, nine months before Walker. Some say it really started last year but didn’t take off until recently. If one thing is clear, it’s that these boys are most definitely not shaving their heads for the sake of appearance. “I like my looks better before,” says an anonymous student, “I think feel-wise, it feels really nice to have all that long hair out of my face, it’s just a lot better. I think the only compromise is my looks.”

Another major factor in the trend is spontaneity. Most of the boys who have participated in this trend do it to make a statement, and shaving your head is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to do that. The student says, “my friend was like, ‘okay you should shave off all your hair,’ and I’m like, I’ve had the same hairstyle for about six years, I’ll just try it anyways. Just for a change, that's all it really was. And it was pretty impulsive too. I did it the day of.” Like Walker, he plans to grow it back out, but doesn’t regret the decision. “I think it's a way for people to feel like they have freedom, it’s liberating from social norms,” says Walker. But how many bald heads will it take before it is the norm? Will these boys keep finding new ways to stand out, or will the trend die down as quickly as it started? 

By the end of my bizarre investigation, I had more answers, but was more confused than when I started. Some boys buzz their hair as a sports team bonding activity, yet they deny that peer pressure has anything to do with it. Others do it for a sense of freedom or to feel strong, but they feel their looks have been compromised. Maybe there is no answer, or maybe the question is not so much “why”, as it is “why not”? 

Jared Eublera (senior)

Aidan Elmendorf (sophomore) has always gotten buzz cuts and points to the feeling of freedom as a likely factor in the trend.