One of the first questions guys ask when they start to lose their hair is "Will my future partner care if I'm bald?"
This concern is especially troubling for young guys who haven’t found “the one” yet. They start to torture themselves with visions of a life of loneliness and celibacy.
Even if you’re married to the love of your life, you still want to be physically desirable to other people. That’s just nature. It’s tough to really not care about the way we look, even if we have everything good looks could get us.
Why do we assume people prefer full heads of hair?
There’s no denying that hair and good looks matter in society. How we look on the outside plays a substantial role in who we marry, our social circle, and our careers.
There’s no denying that hair matters. Our looks play a role in who we marry, our social circle, and our careers.
Sadly, we tend to make assumptions about each other’s internal characteristics (their personality, qualities, and flaws) based on their outward appearance. “For example, in both men and women, having small squinty eyes and thin lips suggests that a person is dominant,” says psychologist Ryan Anderson, “while big eyes and full lips suggest submissiveness.”
Besides, it’s no secret that being beautiful creates more opportunities.
So assuming that our partners prefer youthful-looking heads of hair isn’t unreasonable.
Research tells us that physical attractiveness makes people think we have desirable attributes. That’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. We tend to make evaluations of other people in the first minutes (or even seconds) after meeting them. For instance, we might assume that a tall person is athletic or someone with a nice smile is confident.
These days, many of our interactions with other people occur online. We work, socialize, and even date online. It’s not weird to interact with people several times before you meet them in real life, or interact with them online solely. Apps like Tinder are designed to encourage users to make assumptions based on a single photo.
That means it’s really easy for someone to draw conclusions about you before they ever hear a word out of their mouth.
Traditional Assumptions About Baldness
Traditionally, hair loss and baldness have been associated with negative traits like weakness, impotence, or age, but that seems to be changing.
“Studies have shown baldness in men is seen as a non-threatening form of social dominance,” says Dr. Frank Muscarella from Barry University in Florida.
Which is great, because according to a Social Psychological and Personality Science study, men with fully bald heads are seen as more dominant.
Researchers in the study asked men and women to rate photos of bald men and men with full heads of hair on how agreeable, old, and dominant they appeared. Bald men were perceived to be about a year older than their actual age, slightly more agreeable, more masculine, far more dominant, and to have greater leadership skills. Race makes no difference.
Honestly, those results are refreshing. It means most people don’t see bald guys as old and weak.
They repeated the study again, this time showing participants the same faces but with hair digitally removed (so the only variable is the hair). They found the same results: People perceive bald guys as more dominant, confidant, stronger, masculine, and – this is interesting – stronger.
That sends a pretty clear message: Our tendency to associate positive internal traits with physical features can actually work in favor of bald guys because many people associate baldness with good qualities.
So Do Partners/Lovers Like Bald Men?
If you were go around to everyone in your life and ask them if losing hair makes you less attractive, of course they’ll say no.
Why? Because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. No one is going to say, “Sorry bro, no one likes bald heads. You’ll probably never get another date again.” Anecdotal evidence doesn’t help here.
So we have to look at the data.
When Thrillist polled people, a majority said they wouldn’t mind dating a bald guy. 76% either don’t care about hair loss or prefer a bald man.
Unsurprisingly, many of the people polled said that baldness isn’t an excuse for poor grooming. A good haircut that doesn’t try to hide thinning hair, a smart trim, or a clean shave are essential. Most people are definitely turned off by elaborate hairstyles that try to mask hair loss. Other sources say the same.
When researchers at Wake Forest University had people rate the attractiveness of pictures of men, a full head of hair rarely made the list. What did they find most attractive?
People fine the appearance of confidence more important than a man’s hair situation.
(It’s interesting that people found confidence – an internal characteristic – the most attractive quality. We’ll come back to this in a minute.)
Some men make the mistake of assuming that the reasons they’re attracted to other people are the same reasons those people are attracted to them. For instance, you may be willing to have sex with someone based on their appearance alone, but they may not be like that.
Nevertheless, it’s true that some people care dearly about a man’s hair – especially young people. Their's a saying that many people make “hair contact before eye contact.” That is, they check out a man’s hair before looking at anything else.
So the truth is that while some people will dismiss you because of your hair loss, most won’t.
Attraction is a Cumulative Effect
It’s important to remember that people are rarely turned on or off by a single quality.
Whether you’re attracted to someone or not depends on the whole picture. One undesirable characteristic doesn’t disqualify you from the dating pool.
For instance, if asked, someone might say they aren't attracted to broad noses. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t date, be intimate, or marry a guy with a broad nose. The nose by itself isn’t their cup of tea, but they may find them self attracted to the person attached to that nose because he has other characteristics they finds desirable.
So even if you’re interested in someone who specifically mentioned they don't like thin hair or a bald head, that doesn’t mean they'll never return your affection. You may have other qualities they finds desirable that make you cumulatively more attractive to them.
Confidence is especially important. People can pick up on other people's slightest insecurities. They’re willing to forgive many physical flaws if they think you carry them confidentially, but if a physical flaw appears to bother you, it will bother them too. In many cases, a person subtly rejects a guy not because of his hair situation, but because he seems sensitive about it.
Look at men like Jason Statham, Vin Diesel, or Terry Crews. These are considered some of the most attractive bald men in the world, but if you look at their features closely, you’ll see little things many people would find undesirable.
Why are they considered so attractive? Because they’re confident with their appearance, which is completely within your control. (They’re also talented and fit - two other qualities you can influence in yourself.)
What does this mean for you?
The cure for hair loss may come soon, but in the meantime you can make yourself a more attractive person in a lot of ways. Even if every person in the world declared they didn’t like baldness (which obviously isn’t the case), you can still be attractive. There are plenty of ways to improve your appearance and personality to make yourself the kind of person other people want to be around.
“Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair. But a confident bald man – there’s your diamond in the rough.” – Larry David
The Final Truth
Do partners and lovers like bald men?
Yes, they do.
Some people don’t like the bald look. Everyone has their own taste. But most people won’t reject you because of your bald head. They just don’t care.
Some people really like the bald look. Most people are flexible with what they find attractive and usually willing to evaluate your internal characteristics.
Just remember to groom yourself nicely and own your situation with pride. It’s fine to take steps to address your hair loss, but don’t try to hide it with a hat or unconventional styling. If you project confidence, masculinity, charm, humor, and a killer personality, you’ll never have a problem with your love life.