Weekend Diversion: Giving until it HURTS!

When I issued my Charity Challenge to you a few weeks ago, I had no right to expect the support that all of you have given me. So listen to Michael Chapman singing Memphis in Winter while I give you what you gave for:

We have reached:

  • 101 separate donations,
  • at least $3,260 in new donations pledged,
  • over 80 additional charity hours, and
  • many great additional donations, such as food, clothing, shoes, diapers, medicine, and many other philanthropic offers!

And so, as promised, you’re getting what you paid for. Here’s how I do it (and with all images, just click for the full size):

Step 1: it’s important to wash your hair well if you’re going to donate it to charity. Shampoo, conditioner, and letting it dry properly.

Step 2: put that thing in a ponytail! If you’re going to send it off to locks of love, it needs to be dry and either braided or in a ponytail.

Step 3: shave it! There are no two ways about it, you’ve just gotta hold your breath and take it all off. Want some more pictures? Of course you do:

So that leaves me pretty bald. But, I didn’t say “pretty bald” in my challenge, did I?

Step 4: might as well give you the complete shave that you were looking for; no sense in not going full tilt for this one! Goodbye, last remnant of hair! That leaves us with this:

Nice! So now that that’s done, you’ve just got one more step to finish this off:

Step 5: place the hair for donation in a stamped envelope and mail it to Locks of Love at 234 Southern Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33405! Is my hair suitable for donation? I’m not sure, but the worst thing that happens is they can’t make a wig out of it, and so they sell it instead. Still, not such a bad thing to do!

And then, finally, there was the issue of going above and beyond, and responding to the challenge that I wax my chest for an extra $1,000 to the charity of my choice, which was KIVA. All I needed to do was to get my chest and stomach waxed, and to videotape it.

Well, as you can see from the pictures above, the waxing has already happened! I found a fabulous professional — Lisa Huppe — who runs portlandwaxing.com. That’s all she does: waxing. She not only does all the standard waxing services, but has a full line of men’s services as well. The whole thing took less than half-an-hour, and was much, much less painful than I had any right to expect. And if you ever need a wax and you’re anywhere near Portland, I highly recommend her.

And for those of you who are into the schadenfreude, you’re welcome to watch the video of the waxing itself:

Thank you for all of your charitable support, and congratulations to us all for meeting/exceeding our charitable goals! (Over $4,000 total, all combined! Amazing!)


  1. #1 Sili
    August 8, 2009

    Of course now you look like a mad genius.

    Admit it – this was your plan all along, wasn’t it, Herr Doktor Siegel?

    The chest looks good, though. But why didn’t you get the pits done while you were at it?

    Congrats on the great result. What’ll you do next time now that you’re out of hair?

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    August 8, 2009

    One final and very important step remaining: sunscreen!

    (Well, OK, a ball cap works too.)

    That skin hasn’t seen UV for a loooooong time and, speaking from experience, you do not want a sunburn up there. A moisturizing lotion isn’t a bad idea either. It’s been almost forty years since I had to give up long hair and another 20 since I more or less gave up hair entirely, but some lessons stick longer than others.

    Good on ya, Mate.

  3. #3 Duae Quartunciae
    August 8, 2009

    And on top of that, you already have your submission for the skepdude calendar!

  4. #4 Wilson
    August 8, 2009

    You look handsome after you shaved off your hair!
    Coz of your heroic behavior, I will donate 24 HK dollars(around 3 US dollars) on every Saturday in the future:D

  5. #5 suzanne
    August 8, 2009

    Holy Cow!!! And Isis claims SHE’S hot???

  6. #6 Duncan Ivry
    August 8, 2009


  7. #7 Art
    August 8, 2009

    Outstanding. Your a very brave man. I’ve seen tough guys, real parachute jumping snake eaters, one of who walked out of a war zone on a broken leg, who couldn’t handle being waxed.

    I recommend lotion to protect the raw skin and sunscreen until the extreme whiteness fades a bit.

  8. #8 D. C. Sessions
    August 8, 2009

    Holy Cow!!! And Isis claims SHE’S hot???

    I suspect that tastes vary somewhat. Still, even this over-the-hill homophobic creepy misogynist sleazebag can recognize quality beefcake when it’s presented well.

  9. #9 jdhuey
    August 8, 2009

    Now you get to have all that fun growing it back.

  10. #10 Jogga
    August 8, 2009


    You are the greatest! Well done on achieving over $3,000 in charitable donations – outstanding.

  11. #11 Mena
    August 8, 2009

    Skepdude submission comment seconded! ;^)

  12. #12 Jeremy Logan
    August 8, 2009

    I can’t believe I watched that whole video. It was surprisingly entertaining.

    On a side note, that salon is only about 2 miles from my house. I knew you’d moved to my city, but I guess I hadn’t realized just how close you were 🙂

    Good job on the charity work.

  13. #13 MadScientist
    August 9, 2009

    Congratulations Ethan!

    I’m with DC Sessions – don’t get a sunburn, they’re really nasty and putting a cap on afterwards is just painful.

  14. #14 Ela
    August 10, 2009

    OMG…. u r one crazy brave guy!

  15. #15 Nat
    August 11, 2009

    You’re awesome Ethan!

  16. #16 Tony P
    August 12, 2009

    Ummm.. better you than me. I cannot imagine having my chest and belly hair ripped out. I’m rather attached to my facial hair too.

  17. #17 Maximilion
    August 12, 2009

    Tony P, I think you mean IT’s attached to YOU… (*badum-ching*)

    Cool idea, sounded like the donations are going to a good cause.

  18. #18 Jen V
    August 13, 2009

    You look great! Now, keep shaving….keep shaving…keep shaving…it look much better than the curly pony. 😀

  19. #19 isles
    August 13, 2009

    What a good-looking man! I like the hairless look for you.

  20. #20 red rabbit
    August 16, 2009

    Awesome. Also, seconding Suzanne…

  21. #21 Scicurious
    August 16, 2009

    Nicely done! I disagree, though, I think people ALWAYS look more like mad scientists when there’s lots of hair involved. Einstein-like, you know. Sci strives for this look at conferences in the hopes of people recognizing her genius.

  22. #22 Dan J
    May 22, 2010

    Hi Ethan,

    Having just been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, my own long ponytail will start going in about a week (First chemo was 2 days ago). I thought back to this post and am going to cut off my ponytail for Locks of Love, then shave my head in advance. I’ve never been bald, but a new look might be nice.

  23. #23 Ethan Siegel
    May 23, 2010


    Best wishes for you in the challenge that lies ahead; I’m glad I could provide some small positive thing for you!

    And I checked out your site (following the link on your name), and I think the bald look will be good on you!

  24. #24 sikiş
    May 23, 2010

    What disappointed me, however, is that Dr. Bernardine Healy, former Director of the NIH, was a guest and that she didn’t slap Maher down hard for his idiotic statements about vaccines and Pasteur.

  25. #25 Dan J
    May 24, 2010

    The shaved head look is growing on me quickly. Ponytail is dry and being prepared for shipment to Locks of Love. Thanks again for the idea, Ethan, though we both had different reasons.

    Here’s my new look:

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