Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/386

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By Miss E. F. ANDREWS.

I BELIEVE biologists are pretty well agreed that, if the present course of human evolution continues unchecked, the coming man is in serious danger of evolving into a bald-headed animal. What is to be the fate of the coming woman in this respect no one, as yet, has been bold enough to prophesy, though I think it may be safely assumed, for reasons presently to be given, that unless the ├Žsthetic instincts of man should undergo a radical change, she will not only retain her "crowning" beauty unimpaired, but in augmented abundance and splendor.

Notwithstanding the gloomy predictions as to the "bald-headed and toothless future" (see Popular Science Monthly, October, 1886) in store for the human race, I have been more and more impressed, as the result of my own observations, with the almost complete immunity of my own sex from the results of those influences which are said to be operating so disastrously upon the personal attractiveness of the other. I have never seen a case of complete baldness among women of any age; partial baldness is rare, even among sexagenarians, while the large proportion of luxuriant suits of hair to be found among young women and girls would seem to indicate pretty clearly that, if baldness is to be a characteristic of the coming man, it will be one of those sexually limited variations, like hairy chins and guttural voices, that will not apply to the other sex.

It may be argued that the superior advantages possessed by women for concealing defects of this kind will prevent reliable observations being made in their case; but there are few women who do not know false hair from genuine when they see it, no matter how artistically arranged, and if any woman under sixty is afflicted with baldness it is pretty safe to assume that the other women of her acquaintance will know it. At all events, there are none of us, probably, who do not know the truth so far as our own mothers and grandmothers are concerned, and a simple comparison of their soft and often abundant gray tresses with the shiny pates of their spouses will be sufficient to convince most people that men, as a rule, have a practical monopoly of baldness.

And yet, most of the causes commonly assigned as conducive to this defect are as active among women as among men. They torture their hair with curling-irons and papers and hairpins to a degree that no man would tolerate for an instant; they deaden and discolor it with all kinds of injurious washes; they rear upon the top of their heads structures as heating and uncomfortable as a stovepipe hat, or hang upon the back of them appendages of such