From the pages of

It's the Hair, Stupid
by Martin Lewis
(First published August 28, 2000)

As the presidential election moves inexorably into its Tweedledee-Tweedledum stage - a subliminal battle is being fought for the hearts and minds of America. Since most Americans ultimately vote for their president on an intuitive basis of likability - we should be paying more attention to the substantive issues. I'm talking trichology... I'm talking follicular growth... I'm talking HAIR.

If we we're honest with ourselves - as a species our most crucial impressions of people are based on their look. It's not for nothing that Al Gore spent the spring experimenting with those dire-looking clingy knit shirts in a range of earth-tones. Looking less like Alpha-Man and more like Alfalfa-Sprouts Man.

But the ultimate test of a man's character, competence and suitability to preside over the free world - is what he does with his locks.

George has a suitably conservative style. He has settled for the semi-cropped gray hair look. An anti-babyboomer style. Despite that oft-seen 70's photo of him holding his new-born twins - where he has an endearing shag - his mid-90's makeover from under-achieving, middle-aged dilettante into serious pol necessitated a hair style of gravitas. Unlike that narcissistic, moussed-up Bill Clinton, his hair nestles the cranium neatly. A hint of a parting on the left - but it's a warm fuzzy parting... a compassionate parting. This is not your grandfather's Republican hairstyle (read Tom DeLay.) There's even a hint of "crinkle" in W's hair. And of course he has so much more than Dick Cheney.

Al Gore's hair has always been behind-of-its-time. When most of his generation and persuasion had floppy soft hair - Al was still using that greasy kids' stuff. It's as though he modeled his hair-do on comic-book portrayals of Clark Kent. It has stayed slicked to his scalp through three decades of boomer bangs, shags and do's. However there seems to have been a recent subtle softening of his hair position that has escaped detection by so-called experts Russert, Donaldson and Hume. If you study the footage of Gore's convention speech - one can definitely see "fluff"! Whoever prepped Al for the speech (and perhaps "The Kiss") intuitively knew to plump up the Gore locks. Humanizing his robotic look. And adding at least 1/8" of an inch to his stature.

Both candidates want to restore dignity and honor to White House hairstyles. (No more $200 coiffeurs created on the LAX runway.) As the race tightens - watch Al & George's hair. The 2000 AD Soccer Moms will be deciding this election. And when the economy is not an issue - it's the Hair, Stupid.

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