Anti-Science

(Fake) SCIENCE Finds the World’s Sexiest Bald Man

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Oh my gosh, did you hear the big news? SCIENCE has discovered the world’s sexiest bald man, and spoiler alert: he’s not attractive in the least, to anyone. Additional spoiler alert: this isn’t science. This is something I’ve previously called PR-ology because it’s literally just a company making shit up and sending it to tabloids in the hope it will catch on, and I guess this one did. Aw, nature is healing.

The last time I covered some PR-ology was actually a year ago, just as the ‘rona began to ramp up. That one was literally just a PR firm trying to get eyeballs by saying that 38% of Americans refused to drink Corona beer because of the coronavirus, when in fact it was just about 13 people they surveyed who said they didn’t want to drink Corona anymore. Brilliant. So educational.

Usually with PR-ology it’s some other company using a PR firm to make up a “scientific” finding to get their name in the papers, and for some reason it seems like it’s always plastic surgeons. This might be confirmation bias on my part, because I tend to notice things that are misogynistic, and it should not surprise you to know that many plastic surgeons make their living on, well, misogyny.

But yeah, the previous PRology I talked about here was the fault of a “facial cosmetic surgeon” trying to spread the word that he can use the golden ratio to create the perfect human face. He decided that Robert Pattison had the world’s sexiest face, but it turns out that he submits this press release every few years and previously the winners were Bella Hadid, and prior to that it was Amber Heard. I used his same “scientific” method of evaluating faces and found that all these people paled in comparison to Mark Zuckerberg. Behold, your ubermensch.

And now the big news, according to The Sun, is that Prince William is the world’s sexiest bald man. You know already that this is not science, and that it is bullshit, but I wanted to talk about this because this is a whole new level of PR-ology. Like, I’m weirdly impressed.

At this point I’m sure we’re all familiar with hate clicks, where an outlet writes an article that is specifically designed to piss you off. Because it doesn’t matter whether you hate it or not — if you click on it, that’s ad revenue. The most recent one I fell for was a Slate article written by the world’s most entitled woman, who was very angry that she tried to go to Hawaii in the middle of a pandemic without following their explicit, clear instructions and had to turn around and fuck off back to Washington DC with her disease-infected ass. I say I “fell for it” but let’s be honest, I clicked that link ready to hate this woman and delight in her pain. And then I retweeted it so other people could do the same. Look, is it healthy? No. Does it reward a media outlet for platforming a terrible person for easy clicks? Yes. Do we live in a meaningless universe where we are but a brief light in the darkness that will soon be snuffed out forever, and therefore we must derive pleasure from wherever we can get it? Also yes.

It was only a matter of time before a company harnessed the power of the hate click and combined it with PRology. I mean, it’s probably happened before but come on, I’m not out here reading the Daily Mail every day. Patreon and Adsense do not pay well enough for that. But I did happen to see this “sexiest bald man” fiasco and I gotta say, it’s impressive. So the company behind this “science” is, obviously, a “cosmetic surgery specialist” who I will not name because honestly, fuck them. But can you guess what kind of cosmetic surgery they specialize in? I’ll give you, well, zero guesses, we all know it’s hair transplants.

So the “study” they made up to get their company name in The Sun was the time-tested “research” of Googling things and seeing how many results show up, and then saying the thing with the most results is the best. So they googled “Prince William” and the word “sexy” and that returned more results than, say, “Jason Statham and the word “sexy.” No word on if they controlled for the words “is not” in between those phrases but I’m guessing no.

Previous PRology has garnered attention due to stimulating conversations — like, hey, Robert Pattinson doesn’t have the best face, I think it’s Idris Elba. Let’s fight! But in this case they just went full mask-off. If they had reported that, say, Bruce Willis is the scientifically-determined sexiest bald man, people would shrug and say “sure, okay” and move on. But these MADMEN went and chose this bloated potato face who is currently hot in the news thanks to coming from a viciously racist wealthy family.

Anyway, it worked! A lot of people were horrified that the colonizer potato won the Very Scientifical Google Result Award, and a bunch of bald celebs passed it back and forth, and the cherry on top is that a bunch of bald guys see this and go, “Oh, so this is as sexy as I can possibly look without hair? I’d better call someone to implant some hair into my scalp because YIKES. Who should I call? Oh, hey, there’s a hair implant specialist named RIGHT HERE in the article!”

So yeah, a few things to wrap up: this isn’t science, this is PR, and you don’t need hair implants to be sexy as fuck.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor.

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