Sunday, January 23, 2011

Height and Hair--Dangerous Combo?

Perhaps being tall is so advantageous because women cannot see the top of your head?  This NYT piece suggests that balding is and perhaps should be[given the attitudes it presents] a confidence killer.  I guess I was being real strategic when was in my late twenties to tie down woman since I would start, ahem, getting sun-burned up top as I turned 40. 

I was faced with the clear evidence of joining the other 80 million Americans in the group of the increasingly hairless (that stat includes women) the first year I taught my big intro class.  One of the students in the class video-taped one of the last classes of the term.  I tend to walk back and forth while I lecture, and so she was able to tape the back of my head.  I could not deny then the reality that there was a bunch of flesh where hair used to be.

And how have I responded?  Drugs?  No.  Plugs, nyet.  I don't even obsess about it.  The lack of hair is conveniently located in a place that I rarely see.  I mostly notice it in winter time where hats itch more than they used to do so.  I started wearing a bandana while playing ultimate very, very early in my career, so I have not had to change what I wear in summer.  I have resisted buying one of those sprays (as displayed by Beau Bridges in Fabulous Baker Boys).* 

Perhaps I can do so, as the article suggests, because I am married.  If I were to become single, would the first step be changing my hair status quo?  Nope, it would be shaving my beard, which has increasingly gray.  I didn't need the five stages of grief to deal with my hair loss.  Just a good sense of humor and the luck that my old hairstyle has the effect of a combover so I can deny combing over.  That and the fact that the man I have respected the longest has been bald for as long as I have known him.  Of course, he has a snazzy mustache, so perhaps that does the trick.

*  We forget about that scene because everything Michelle Pfeiffer does in that movie erases all that came earlier.  Yowza.  I mean, whoopee!  I am speaking, of course, of her singing.


Suzanne Lanoue said...

It's just a sad fact that most women do not find a bald man attractive. It depends on the degree, though. I would say a little bald at top or back is ok. It's only if you are totally bald (and don't look good that way) or have a lot of bald on top, and don't have a good toupee. You have to be really really good looking to start with for women to overlook really bald. Some guys look good bald or they are so good looking it doesn't hurt them or they have such great personalities it doesn't matter. Yul Brynner, Michael Rosenbaum, Patrick Stewart, et al.

It also helps, besides the good looking part, if you have a great personality, are very fun and outgoing. That's a lot of factors to have to have.

But be fair, it's not just women. How many bald women would you date?
It's just something about our society that we want to have the head covered with hair in order to find people attractive. I'm sure there's some sociological or psychological study about it.
Personally, I don't even like a high forehead very much.
That's why it's good to get married before you go bald, get fat, etc.

But I would say there are some people out there of both genders who CAN overlook that stuff, especially if they have their own shortcomings. Some people settle in the looks department a bit in order to get a soul mate that they can stand living with and go places with, etc. I know several men that were very picky about women when they were younger, even all out of proportion to their own looks. They have all become much more realistic since then.

You still look cute, Steve! Although I hate beards, too, looked better without it. :)

Anyway, it should only matter to you what Kathy thinks, not your undergrads--as long as they respect you as a professor, right??? They are way too young for you, anyway. Even if you looked like George Clooney they would say you were too old. The best you could get is "cute for an old guy". Maybe that will give you some comfort :)

Steve Greene said...

One thing that bothers me is that baldness is about the only purely-genetically determined physical characteristic about which it is still socially acceptable to ridicule people. So far, I've still got enough on top so that I don't burn. Barely. The first burn will be a sad day. Also, love the grey beard.