That’s the experience of a growing (no pun intended) number of middle-aged men who happen to be follically challenged.
But don’t despair, guys. Albert Mannes, a University of Pennsylvania researcher, suggests balding men should shave all their hair off.
In three experiments, Mannes, a balding man himself, found men with shaved heads were not only perceived by others as more manly, but also taller, stronger, and having greater potential as leaders.
In the first experiment, 60 participants looked at a series of photos of men who were similar in age. The difference was that some men had shaved heads while others had full — but thinning — manes.
The participants rated each man in terms of how powerful, influential and authoritative they looked. Men with shaved heads topped the ratings.
“Shaving your head is an act of boldness,” says Mannes, whose study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
“The shaved look is more attractive than the visibly balding look, so men suffering natural hair loss may enhance both their dominance and attractiveness by shaving.”
He says his findings should help legions of balding men who feel self-conscious about their shiny pates. But, as a guy with growing — though greying — hair, I have to point out he would say that, wouldn’t he?
Mannes’ research recognises that a shaved head is not for everyone and that a man with a full head of hair, even if greying, would be advised to hang on to it. His study revealed men with shaved heads were considered older-looking than those with thick heads of hair — and attractiveness is also correlated with perception of dominance.
“So, whatever a man gains in dominance directly by shaving his full head of hair will be offset to some degree by his diminished attractiveness,” says Mannes.
What a relief. Pass the comb, someone...