Just six months ago, I opined that baldness is a sign of chic. I wrote that "bald men exude a certain authority and mystique," noting that The Am Law 100 is chock full of big-name baldies (I mentioned Latham & Watkins's Robert Dell, Jones Day's Joe Sims, and Kirkland & Ellis's James Sprayregen).
For all you legal fashionistas, who insist that trends be supported by hard evidence, I can now prove my case. Reports Rachel Emma Silverman at the The Wall Street Journal:
Men with shaved heads are perceived to be more masculine, dominant, and in some cases, to have greater leadership potential than those with longer locks or with thinning hair, according to a recent study out of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
Albert Mannes, a lecturer at Wharton, researched the issue by showing students photos of men with and without hair (the hair was digitally removed). The result: Men with shaved heads were judged "more dominant than their hirsute counterparts." What's more, they "were even perceived as an inch taller and about 13 percent stronger than those with fuller manes."
Whoa—did you hear that? Being bald trumps having a full head of hair! Chop off your locks and you will look more powerful and add to your height. Talk about a quick makeover!
Now, you might ask, what's makes baldies so alluring? According to the study's author, baldness is associated with "hypermasculine images, such as the military, professional athletes, and Hollywood action heroes like Bruce Willis." It also tells "the rest of the world that you are a survivor," said Michael Cunningham, a professor at the University of Louisville, to the WSJ.
On the other end of the spectrum, the study finds that "men with thinning hair were viewed as the least attractive and powerful of the bunch."
Which brings us back to the world of lawyers. I don't know if it's the long hours or the pressures of practice, but law firms always seem to be brimming with middle-aged (sometimes younger) men with thinning hair. Sadly, many seem to cling to their last remaining strands until the bitter end. And that looks just pathetic.
The smart career move for men (I don't think the study covers women) is to shave it all off—particularly if you have thinning hair. You have a choice: You can look virile or schlumpy; Bruce Willis or that tax lawyer down the hall who never sees the light of day.
Get my drift?
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