On hair and leadership

For at least half a century Americans have shown a marked aversion to electing bald men to their nation’s highest office. Excluding Gerald Ford (1974-77) who was bald but not elected, the last bald president was Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61). Europeans have been more sympathetic to the bare-headed politico (Churchill, Papandreou, Simitis, Giscard d’Estaing, Mitterand, Chirac, Craxi, Mussolini), but even they have lagged behind the Soviets, who inexplicably installed, if not exactly elected, bald and hirsute leaders in strict alternation: Lenin (bald), Stalin (hairy), Khrushchev (bald), Brezhnev (hairy), Andropov (bald), Chernenko (hairy), Gorbachev (bald) – a tradition that has been maintained in the Russian Republic with Yeltsin (hairy) and Putin (comb-over).

From p281 of Mutants: On the Form, Varieties and Errors of the Human Body by Armand Marie Leroi.

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