Tom Purcell, 1/23/2012 [Archive]

A Hair Behind

A Hair Behind

By Tom Purcell

As our country goes to pot, I find myself more focused on personal matters, such as this item from ABC News: Scientists may soon find a cure for baldness.

As it goes, researchers were surprised to discover that balding men have the same number of hair-producing stem cells as men with full heads of hair. If scientists can find a way to activate these stem cells, baldies will have hair again.

And that is good news for fellows like me, whose hair is beginning to recede some. Hair is more important than ever. I think I know why.

For most of human history, you see, the roles of men and women were clearly defined. Since basic survival was so difficult, the division of labor was very clear and imprinted on our DNA.

Thus, men tended to perform the tasks that required size and strength. We wrestled bear and elk, plowed fields and defended our families from plunderers.

Women, on the other hand, tended to manage other important tasks, focusing on the homestead.

Because there was more work for both men and women than there was time in the day, men and women didn't argue much over who did what and generally appreciated each other.

But as the technological revolution took hold, fewer jobs required strength and brawn. Technology made household chores much easier to accomplish.

While men were happy working assembly line jobs, women were at home getting bored. It soon became apparent -- during World War II, when women took to the factories -- that women could do the same jobs men did and just as well, if not better.

The modern battle of the sexes kicked into high gear.

Well, today, women have made tremendous advances. They're doing way better than their male counterparts in advanced education and excelling in high-paying professions.

Which is why men without hair are in such trouble.

In the old days, before the roles of men and women got blurred, even a fat, balding guy had a shot at the prom queen. Because women tended to be financially dependent on men, they were more willing to consort with boring men of high moral character -- so much as long as the fellows were CPAs.

Now that so many women are financially independent, they can be choosy, and who can blame them? They want fellows with full heads of hair and good looks. Bald men have it worse than ever.

Not only do they generally have trouble competing for women against their full-head-of-hair rivals, they tend to have trouble succeeding in all areas of life.

Look at the top male officials in any organization and it is rare to find one without a good head of thick "executive hair."

Look at our recent presidents: Obama, Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Carter ... you have to go all the way back to Ford in the mid-'70s to find the last excessively-receding-hairline guy who made it to the top office (though it was Nixon's resignation, not the voters, that put him there). You have to go all the way back to Eisenhower in the '50s to find the last bald president.

My point: In the modern era, in which the roles of men and women are blurry and changing, bald fellows don't have a prayer.

That is a matter of concern for me -- a fellow whose hair is just beginning to recede a touch.

So I hope researchers are on the verge of finding a cure for baldness. But I'm in no rush.

Obama's hair is showing a touch of gray and thinning. I hope that portends the outcome of November's election.

© 2012 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a freelance writer is also a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Email Tom at

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