Hair and politics have long been linked. (Photo: Getty Images)
We know that the higher the hair the closer to God. But in light of the current election, and given the stunning statistic that Americans haven’t elected a bald president into office in 63 years — since Dwight D. Eisenhower — perhaps there’s some validity to a new adage: The more follicularly blessed, the closer to being commander-in-chief. Is it possible that we the people, in order to form a more perfect union, require a POTUS with a nice, full head of hair?
Think about it: John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and even both Bushes boast stunning heads of hair for which they can thank the genetic lottery. And who can forget John Edwards’ $400 haircut that shook the nation? Hair and politics have long been linked. Is there an inverse relationship between power of the presidential variety and a distinct lack of power alleys? Simon Doonan, style expert and creative ambassador-at-large of Barney’s feels that presidential hair is hair with conviction. “Hair-certainty describes hair that is what it appears to be,” he wrote on Slate. “Presidential hair can be messy. Presidential hair can be sparse, naff, and filled with dandruff. But, whatever it is, it just needs to have that certainty.” Which begs the question: Did Scott Walker doom his presidency based on his locks alone? Real talk: Are Americans biased against bald or balding men?
Hair surgeon Dr. Kenneth Anderson notes that most people are attracted to a full head of hair, just as they’re attracted to a full set of teeth. “Hair is one of those things we expect to see when we look at another human being,” he says. He adds that it’s part of how we see beauty in each other. “Why we find a full head of hair [attractive] is part of what makes us human; it’s an essential part of the human condition,” he says.
While there is no proven correlation between having hair and perceived competency in the oval office, Anderson brings up studies in the 1990s performed about first impressions, and about the assumptions we as humans in Western society make when first see another human. “The studies proved that we as a society think differently about people with hair loss as compared to those without,” he says. “We feel people with hair loss have less money, a less desirable job, are less trustworthy, and generally possess fewer of the qualities that attract us to other people,” he adds. Important to note, however, is that baldness makes no difference regarding the way intelligence is perceived. “Think Dr. Evil. Think Lex Luthor. Evil masterminds,” he points out.
Hair is so important to a person’s look and the impression that make that we have not elected a president with significant hair loss since before the TV was invented. Anderson notes, “The days of a President of the United States of America with hair loss were over the same day Americans could see their candidate talking on the television.” He posits that Donald Trump has had some work done since his days on The Apprentice. “The generous amount of hair in the ‘wing’ that he’s created to cover leads me to believe there’s some hair remaining on the front and top portion of his scalp,” he says. Trump is careful never to let anyone see those parts of his scalp. Anderson chalks this up to a possible go-round with the 1970s style of hair restoration, “where 4mm circular punches were used to extract 4mm plugs of hair from the back and sides of the head (the donor area). “This method of hair restoration does significant damage to the donor area, often making future corrections impossible,” he explains. He adds that “it appears as if you were to put Mr. Trump in a shower and hose the wing off of his head that you’d see a majority of that hair emanates from just over his left ear — which would make this one of the most prolific comb-overs of all time.”
While maintaining a healthy and attractive head of hair may seem frivolous in the scheme of a presidential campaign, if it helps secure votes in our appearance-based society, perhaps some extra primping in front of the mirror won’t hurt.