When I was 15 years old, my dad pointed at his head — bald everywhere except the sides, which he liked to wear long for some inexplicable reason — and told me to “enjoy my hair while it lasted.” That’s because he’d started going bald at the age of 22 (and so had his father) and was certain that I’d continue the family tradition. And as the years went by and I started losing my hair I became more and more terrified. Movies, TV, commercials — they’d all told me that going bald was one of the worst things to happen to a guy (if he wasn’t an action star) and that I should do anything to keep my hair, whether it be by itching through a round of Rogaine and its many contemporaries, or having hair transplanted to the front of my head via an expensive procedure performed by trained medical professionals.
Have you felt this way too? It’s all good, now though. Because guess what? A 2012 study — resurrected on the internet today because who doesn’t need some good news? — found that guys who had no hair were actually perceived much differently than they thought.
From Business Insider:
The american scientist Albert E. Mannes, who just happens to be bald himself, conducted a study in 2012 with 59 subjects. He wanted to find out how people react to men with shaved heads by showing them a series of pictures.
The subjects got to see each photo twice, once of a man with a full head of hair and once of the same man with his hair shaved off. The subjects reported that they thought the bald men were more dominant, bigger and stronger.
Sounds good, right? There’s only one catch: If you want to be perceived as bigger and stronger, you can’t just have a bald spot on your head. And if you’ve been messing with that combover, perfecting it over the years, it’s time to stop. Because no one’s effing with dudes with “patchy” hair. The study’s respondents only attributed the good qualities to those guys who had completely taken off all their hair, meaning that even if you’re a little embarrassed to go out looking like Mr. Clean, it may end up serving you way better than you ever thought.
“But I don’t care about looking tough and handsome,” you might be saying to yourself. “That’s not my brand!” I feel you. But let me ask another question: Is being hella smart your brand? Because if it is, there’s a whole other study that backs up that guys who are naked up top are actually seen as more intelligent, too:
A global study conducted by the psychologist Ronald Henss of the University of Saarland with over 20.000 subjects suggests that bald men are estimated to be older, but also seem wiser and more intelligent.
The only bad news? Perception and reality are still two very different things. While Business Insider points out that no, bald men aren’t more sexually virile because hair loss correlates with high testosterone levels (scientists believed this for a long time!), other people still haven’t gotten the memo that this isn’t true.
Which means that until there are enough posts on the internet disproving this myth, all of us who have lost (or are losing their hair) are still the coolest and most powerful. Take that, Hair Club For Men!