President Trump had a hair-raising experience as he boarded Air Force One on Feb. 7. Credit: Getty Images

President Trump might get more respect from the American public if he shaved off his hair, studies from his alma mater suggests. (Take a second to imagine a world without Trump hair.)

A researcher at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania found that people decisively consider men with chrome domes to be more powerful and masculine. Social scientist Albert Mannes conducted three studies on the subject: In the first, he showed 59 people pictures of men, some bald, some with full heads of hair. The group considered the bald men to be more dominant. He then showed 344 people pictures of men, some with hair, some with their 'dos digitally removed. The bald men were rated more masculine, confident, dominant, tall, and physically strong.

In the last study, Mannes asked 522 participants simply to read descriptions of men, which were the same except for their hair: Some were described with shaved heads, some with thin hair and some with thick hair. "Shaved heads scored highest on measures of masculinity, dominance, leadership potential, strength, and a willingness to defy convention," reports Psychology Today.

Why? Mannes ventures to guess that being blatantly bald can be seen as offering a courageous middle finger to social norms.


And although President Trump is well accustomed to that gesture — and he literally has handshake wars with foreign leaders to assert his dominance — his pate isn't likely to go anywhere other than its usual forward, side and swoosh. Or something like that. Trump is infamously vain about his hair: The 71-year-old's doctors have reported that he takes finasteride to prevent hair loss, and there has been speculation that he had a scalp reduction in the early '90s to camouflage an increasingly spare scalp. At the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, he made a rare self-effacing comment about his follicular challenges, saying he "tries like hell to hide the bald spot." 

The recent book "Fire & Fury" detailed those efforts, saying that Ivanka Trump "often described the mechanics behind it to friends," wrote author Michael Wolff. "An absolutely clean pate — a contained island after scalp-reduction surgery — surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray."

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