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American Sign Language: "bald"


I happen to be an expert on this sign.


There are quite a few signs for "bald." Make sure to use whatever version your local Deaf use.

One of the most widely recognized versions is to use the right "5 hand-with the middle finger jutting out." Circle the top of your head as if rubbing the tip of your middle finger along the edge of a halo.  What you are basically doing is using the sign EMPTY to show that the scalp is "empty" of hair.


BALD (empty scalp version)


 



In ASL we sometimes use our non-dominant hand to represent other body parts that we want to describe. One example of this is to use the non-dominant "S"-hand to represent the head in a version of the sign "BALD." 

In this next version the movement, handshape, and orientation of the dominant hand (my right hand since I'm right handed) are done similar to the previous sign but in this time the right hand circles over a palm-down "S-hand." 

BALD (empty scalp version 2)




There is a version of BALD here in Sacramento (and elsewhere) that is quite popular. It uses the non-dominant hand to represent the head and then it rubs that head with a slightly cupped dominant hand. The rubbing movement is: forward toward knuckles) back (toward wrist), forward (toward knuckles again).

BALD (rub head version)



BALD! (cue-ball version)
This version could be loosely interpreted as "Bald like a cue ball!"  

Doug Cluff is an old friend of mine.  We were roommates in California (Anaheim area) for a while before he moved back home to Alaska.  Later we both attended a conference in Utah and saw each other for the first time in a couple of years.  During the time we hadn't seen each other is the time when I lost most of my hair.  

When he saw me as we were walking toward each-other the first thing he did was get a big "astonished and mischievous" look on his face and he signed, "BALD!"



Perhaps you think my friend was being rude? Let me assure you he was not!  Those of us in the Deaf Community are rather blunt with one another.  When outsiders see it, they think we are being rude. They think that way because they are applying their standards to us.  

Right after exclaiming, "BALD!" he gave me an enormous bear hug and we proceeded to have a wonderful chat.  (We may be more blunt, but we Deaf also tend to hug a lot more than Hearing people do). 


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