Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/388

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seconded by their energetic and wide-awake superintendent, Major W. F. Slaton.

Now, while the statistics at my disposal are too meager to warrant any definite conclusion, it is nevertheless a significant fact that out of a total of 1,196 males between the ages of ten and twenty, ten cases were reported as showing signs of baldness—that is, •0084, or over eight tenths of one per cent—while in a total of 1,374 females of the same age, but one single case is reported, or about •00073, a little over 7100 of one per cent. In other words, if the unsatisfactory statistics that I have been able to collect can be relied on, the proportion of baldness in boys and girls under twenty is about 80 to 7. As the majority of girls at the age under consideration wear their hair loose, or in simple "Marguerite" braids, so that there is little likelihood of deception, while unwholesome headgear or other individual practices can hardly, as yet, have had time to produce any material effect upon either sex, we may regard the differences indicated by the figures as practically due to the working of heredity alone. Now, there is no apparent reason why girls should not inherit a tendency to baldness as well as boys, unless that tendency is checked by some other factor. Such a factor is sexual selection; for I presume it is hardly necessary to argue here that a bald-headed woman would not stand much chance of "survival" in the struggle for matrimonial honors. As men have always practically done the "selecting," and will probably continue to do so more and more as the conditions of modern life render the competition for husbands more severe, the woman's voice in the matter, when she has any, being limited to a simple negative, it is not likely that the state of baldness to which the human race is said to be tending will ever affect the feminine half of it. There are compensations in all things; and while the individual woman may sometimes murmur at the hard law of dependence which forces her too often to find in some measly little specimen of masculine humanity her only refuge from starvation, the sex in general has to thank the fastidiousness which their superior position cultivates in men for its exemption from a defect as destructive of beauty as of comfort. The time is, perhaps, not very far distant when, in the course of human evolution, a man with hair on his head will be as great an anomaly as a bearded woman, but as long as men love beauty and are won by personal charms, so long will women continue to rejoice in those abundant tresses of brown and gold that are one of the chief ornaments of their sex.