On Mustaches and Hair


This post might be subtitled: “Or My Retreat from More Broadly Absurd Political Considerations.”


In CNN’s Politics Nightcap newsletter for December 22, Eric Bradner reports:

The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty had a story this morning about President-elect Donald Trump’s casting call for “the look” — and included this tidbit about former United Nations ambassador John Bolton, who has been in the running for a State Department post:

“Several of Trump’s associates said they thought that John R. Bolton’s brush-like mustache was one of the factors that handicapped the bombastic former United Nations ambassador in the sweepstakes for secretary of state. ‘Donald was not going to like that mustache,’ said one associate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly. ‘I can’t think of anyone that’s really close to Donald that has a beard that he likes.'”

Here is Bolton’s tweet in response to the story:

“I appreciate the grooming advice from the totally unbiased mainstream media, but I will not be shaving my #mustache.”


Bolton’s mustache does not match his hair color, and a close-up indicates even more vividly just how bushy it is:

john-bolton-1 john-bolton-2


I guess that these sorts of standards would also eliminate the following prominent Republicans from consideration for Cabinet positions:

abraham-lincoln ulysses-s-granttheodore-roosevelt william-howard-taft


But if facial hair disqualifies one for a cabinet nomination, then shouldn’t we have had higher standards for presidential hair:

trumps-hair-1 trumps-hair-2 trumps-hair-3


I recall that in the 1980s, a friend of mine who was a Reagan supporter told me, insistently, that Reagan’s barber had sworn that the president’s hair was still its natural, rich, dark brown color—that the president’s hair was not being dyed.

Before anyone starts arguing about what Donald Trump’s natural hair color is, everyone should take a look at a photograph survey of his hair over the last 40 years: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-hair-evolution_us_576025e9e4b0e4fe5143c597.

It turns out that, although his hair style has changed very little, his hair color is as difficult to pin down as his positions on most issues.


Postscript: And what, in God’s name, is this?



3 thoughts on “On Mustaches and Hair

  1. How is this blog post or topic related to the mission of the Academe blog? That is listed as follows: “The blog, run largely by AAUP members and its editorial board, serves as a forum for faculty perspectives on higher education and related issues.”

  2. In 1969, during the Vietnam era, when I was in the Navy stationed at N.A.S. Cecil Field, Fla. (West of Jacksonville), a Chief Petty Officer objected to my mustache overhanging the corners of my mouth. He took a scissors and cut off the offending parts. After I vigorously complained of “chickenshit” grooming standards, I considered sporting a Hitler mustache (perfectly legal under the standards), but decided against it as it would offend some of my shipmates who were Jewish. It is this type of petty behavior which drives people out of the Armed Services and contributed to high personnel turnover.

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