Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 29.djvu/823

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
803
A BALD AND TOOTHLESS FUTURE.

A BALD AND TOOTHLESS FUTURE.
By VIRGIL G. EATON.

TO a person who has a moderately well-supplied pocket-book and a thoughtful turn of mind, there can be no more fruitful theme for meditation than to go into our large halls, theatres, churches, and other places of public resort, and, securing a seat in the gallery or in the rear part of the room, look at the heads of the audience, for no other purpose than to ascertain by actual count how many show signs of baldness. Unless the experimenter has been in the habit of counting for this object, he will be surprised to learn that, in most of the Eastern cities, fully thirty per cent of the men over thirty years of age show unmistakable signs of baldness, while nearly twenty per cent have spots on their heads that are not only bald, but actually polished with the gloss that is supposed to belong to extreme old age alone. I have been in the majority of the churches and theatres in all the large Eastern cities, as well as in Chicago, St. Louis, and other places of the West, and have verified my assertion by actual count. From my observation I find that bald-headed men are most plentiful in New York and Boston. After these come Philadelphia, Washington, and the Western towns. I say "men," for two reasons: 1. Because women usually wear their hats or bonnets on such occasions, thus covering their crowns. 2. In case their hats are removed, the hair is combed up so as to cover any possible bald spot, or else there is an artificial "switch" to hide the defects of nature. So, without indulging in any speculations regarding what may be, I will confine myself to what is to be seen.

Here are a few observations taken in Boston. Trinity Church: 243 men; 71 actually bald, 46 indications of baldness. King's Chapel: 86 men; 38 actually bald, 14 indications of baldness. Hollis Street Theatre, orchestra at performance of the "Mikado": 63 men; 27 actually bald, 10 indications. Boston Theatre Judic: 126 men; 51 actually bald, 43 indications.

These observations were taken from the more cultivated classes of society, and do not give a fair representation of the Boston head, as repeated calls at the dime museums and cheaper variety performances demonstrated. For instance, of the thirty men seen in the seats of the World's Museum in Washington Street, but eight were bald, while only five others had thin hair, showing that baldness was simply a question of a very few years. Again, of forty men at Austin and Stone's Museum, twenty-two had their heads well covered; and at the Windsor Theatre (variety) I found less than twenty-five per cent who had thin hair.

On the other hand, at shows and entertainments of more refine-