Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bruce Wayne-at-play hair, comb overs, and pretty boys

Oh, how The Times vexes me.   So I give them up because I am vexed that I cannot link behind the paywall and most likely some jerk in Turkey made a false copyright claim against this blog thereby making me cautious of quoting.  And now Suzanne Powers tells me I missed this, which, please note, is only part of the article from Sarah Vine last weekend:
One factor has emerged as a key predictor of success in the race for the White House: hair
I may be married to a man who not only owns, but has actually read, Donald Rumsfeld’s memoirs; still, I understand remarkably little about US politics. From where I’m sitting (surrounded by bookshelves that boast titles such as Treason: Why Dumb Liberals are Turning Us into Europe) the whole thing seems even more nuts than the British system, which is, I can assure you, pretty nuts. Still, we must be grateful for small mercies: at least our general elections don’t take 15 months from start to finish.
There is, however, one clear factor that seems to be emerging as a key predictor of success in the race for the White House, especially among Republican candidates: hair.
Take Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. The former is the Governor of Texas, the latter was runner-up in the 2008 nomination race. Both are what you might call hunky regular guys: in their early sixties, firm of jaw and fierce of vision. Both (I am told) have a good chance of success. And neither would look out of place on the side of a Grecian 2000 packet.
Romney wears his crowning glory in a swept-back, Bruce Wayne-at-play style, just a little salt and pepper around the edges but dark enough to imply virility. These are serious times for America, and he projects an image of a man of solid principles, with hair to match. In fact, his determination in public life is probably the greatest threat to the ozone layer since Cheryl Cole’s ill-fated Stateside sojourn.
Perry, meanwhile, wears his in a more debonair, make-mine-a-martini sort of way. From certain angles he could almost be one of those sexy continental football managers that British teams are so fond of hiring. His hair has all the bounce and lustre of a man who is no stranger to a little volumising conditioner. Occasionally he struggles to stifle a curl. How ironic that he is an anti-gay marriage candidate in this race, when in a certain light he looks like Liberace.
Of course, the notion that what’s on top of a man’s head matters more than what’s inside it is absurd; but voters are not as rational as politicians would like. They vote with their instincts, and there is very little anyone can do about it.
Why this should be is explained, in part, in a new book by the academic Catherine Hakim, Honey Money. In it, she explores the power of what she calls “erotic capital”: the better-looking or more charismatic a person, the more positive characteristics we attribute to them, and the farther they get in life.
This runs counter to what we are taught as children — never judge a book by its cover (with Rumsfeld’s memoirs this is certainly true). But however distasteful the concept, there is more than a grain of truth in it, as all successful politicians know, from Bill Clinton (who once held up flights at LAX airport while he had a haircut on Air Force One) to George Washington, who, myth has it, hid his red hair under a wig, and our own blond bombshell, Boris Johnson. Meanwhile, in America it’s hairdryers at the ready. Both Perry and Romney are running on jobs tickets. In the circumstances, hairdressing looks like a solid career option.
"Bruce Wayne-at-play".  Fabulous.  Read the whole thing here, if you are a subscriber.  It is another excuse to link to the cowboy and the breck man video, which Patterico found with soundtrack!  (It was a hard find. Last item.)  He linked to the video in a post on how much Trump's--remember when people thought he was a serious candidate?--comb over bothered him.  I'm rethinking the conventional wisdom that holds that a woman's physical appearance matters more than a man's.  It still does, I think, but not by such a wide margin.  


Megs said...

So how does Sarah Vine explain McCain's primary win in 2008?

This excerpt lacks any kind of credible evidence for the assertion.

AHLondon said...

McCain's bad hair was completely off set by his POW story and his inability to lift his arms. Hard to question a POW's manliness, regardless of the comb over.

edgeofthesandbox said...

And Paul Ryan's hair is a throw back to Coolidge era.

Megs said...

C'mon Bob Dole's hair was terrible. It looked like shoe polish.

I do agree with her to some extent that beautiful people are generally viewed in a positive light even before their character is known.

Do book covers sell books? I think everyone can agree that the answer is yes. But the cover doesn't win the glowing review - the content does.

Superficial voters will vote based on superficial attributes like hair. educated voters will "read the book" before voting.