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  #1  
Old 04-16-2012, 10:16 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Why do so many lower class white people have poorly defined chins?

I have noticed that many poor white people especially those popularly called 'white trash' often have really poorly defined chins. It seems to affect females more especially as they age. It certainly isn't exclusive to that demographic but it is a marker that makes someone with that characteristic appear to be part of that group. I assume others have noticed the same thing but I can link pictures if you have no idea what I am referring to.

I assume there is some type of biology or life circumstances that lead up to it. Any idea of what that is?
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:29 PM
Oly Oly is offline
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Sounds like an example of poor profiling to me.
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:39 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I assume there is some type of biology or life circumstances that lead up to it. Any idea of what that is?
In questions like this, I think the first thing to demonstrate that the phenomenon in question actually exists. Do you have any basis for the fact that this characteristic is more common in this demographic other than the stereotype of the slack-jawed yokel?

Last edited by Colibri; 04-16-2012 at 10:40 PM..
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:43 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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Are you thinking of people with no teeth and no dentures?

http://www.intelligentdental.com/wp-...t_dentures.jpg
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:45 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I assume others have noticed the same thing but I can link pictures if you have no idea what I am referring to.
That would help, yes. I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about. I assume it's not just a simple double chin from being overweight or obese.
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:53 PM
even sven even sven is online now
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Sounds like confirmation bias to me. A lot of our image of "well-off" people comes from celebrities, who aren't really representative of the norm in facial structure.

If you look at, say, congress or a random group of bankers, you are going to see plenty of weak chins.
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:55 PM
florez florez is offline
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There is a story today in Yahoo News, that chin implant surgery is reported to be a fast growing procedure in the U.S.
So, these would be people who could afford to pay for this plastic surgery, or have health insurance that covers it.

"A total of 10,593 men had the operation done in 2011, a 76% increase over the prior year, and 10,087 women had the procedure, a 66 % rise-- for a combined total of 71%" according to the report.

Is it related to dental or jaw problems in people as they age?
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:58 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
In questions like this, I think the first thing to demonstrate that the phenomenon in question actually exists. Do you have any basis for the fact that this characteristic is more common in this demographic other than the stereotype of the slack-jawed yokel?
It does exist in some forms. For those of you who can't visualize what I am talking about, here is one as well as here and here.

I did some more reading since I posted the question. The problem starts with a weak chin to begin with but can be made worse over time through dental issues, obesity, and nutritional deficiencies that affect the jaw-line. I am still curious about more specifics however.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 04-16-2012 at 10:58 PM..
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:04 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
It does exist in some forms. For those of you who can't visualize what I am talking about, here is one as well as here and here.

I did some more reading since I posted the question. The problem starts with a weak chin to begin with but can be made worse over time through dental issues, obesity, and nutritional deficiencies that affect the jaw-line. I am still curious about more specifics however.
I don't doubt that some people have weak chins. What I would like you to provide is some objective data indicating that this trait is more common among "poor white people" than in other demographics.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:13 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
I don't doubt that some people have weak chins. What I would like you to provide is some objective data indicating that this trait is more common among "poor white people" than in other demographics.
I would like for me to do that as well but I don't think they exist. Not all studies have been done unfortunately. It is just something I have noticed all my life among lower paid people. I freely admit there could be some weird cause and effect relationship going on.

I did find some tidbits on the causes however so it isn't a stretch to say it could be socioeconomically correlated. Below is just one example:

"A weak chin may be caused by poor quality foods during pregnancy, especially calcium deficiency resulting in insufficient jaw bone formation.".
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  #11  
Old 04-16-2012, 11:16 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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I sort of associated a weak chin with class non-specific people of English decent.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:39 PM
oliversarmy oliversarmy is offline
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Is this a serious question? Isn't this the same as why do some people have large lips, a hooked nose or an epicanthal fold? What in the question is this?

People have certain characteristics based on genetics. I really don't see how class is part of the equation.
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  #13  
Old 04-17-2012, 12:02 AM
Fubaya Fubaya is offline
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I think I know more educated and successful people with weak chins and would be more inclined to think of it as a nerdy trait, although I know there is no basis for that. There are a lot of people who are impressive in stature that I expect to be rich and handsome Mitt Romney types, but turn out to be geeky weak chinned weenies instead.

I was just watching a lecture by a PHD in atmospheric physics with a very weak chin. I had heard some audio first and he sounded very smart and witty and was probably one of those handsome 26 year old PHDs that you just love to hate. Then I saw the video and saw a balding guy in his 40s with a weak chin and glasses and my first thought was "Yep. That's about right. This is a man I can learn from."
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:18 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I would like for me to do that as well but I don't think they exist. Not all studies have been done unfortunately. It is just something I have noticed all my life among lower paid people. I freely admit there could be some weird cause and effect relationship going on.
Since there is apparently no evidence for the correlation you propose, I would say there is nothing that needs to be explained. "Something I have noticed" doesn't really provide any basis for discussion.

Last edited by Colibri; 04-17-2012 at 12:26 AM..
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  #15  
Old 04-17-2012, 02:06 AM
kombatminipig kombatminipig is offline
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I'd point out that many a weak chin is actually a serious overbite, which can be corrected at an early age with braces. Lack of funds in the poorer parts of the population may result in a higher degree of uncorrected overbites.
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Old 04-17-2012, 02:57 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is online now
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Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
I sort of associated a weak chin with class non-specific people of English decent.
This could just be because many Americans seem to be stockpiling chins.

In England, the term/concept 'chinless' tends to be connoted with aristocratic inbreeding.
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  #17  
Old 04-17-2012, 03:31 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
In England, the term/concept 'chinless' tends to be connoted with aristocratic inbreeding.
Yes - I always associate this with inbreeding, not class - everyone from the standard English Upper Class Twit to these guys in rural South Africa
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:36 AM
grude grude is offline
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I've never noticed this personally, but it made me wonder WHERE the OP has seen these people? I'm guessing they havn't traveled the USA living among the poor, so it could very well be a regional thing possibly genetic(kind of founder effect) so it might help knowing where this was noticed.
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Old 04-17-2012, 04:15 AM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is online now
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Originally Posted by Fubaya View Post
geeky weak chinned weenies
Band name!

I see this a lot, but not in the demographic as stipulated in the OP. It seems pretty evenly spread across the whole spectrum of folk. It is stereotypically and caricatured in the very wealthy British population, usually as a subtle indicator of inbreeding, but I imagine that's a myth* as well.

I do wonder what the physical causes of it are, though.

*Not the inbreeding, I think that's an established fact
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:55 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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I don't think it's a completely unfounded stereotype. It's known that attractive people tend to earn more. Wealthier people can afford dental work and plastic surgery. They have better diet and exercise. They tend to gravitate towards more image-conscious professional jobs.

Not everyone can afford a Don Drapper chin.
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:56 AM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is online now
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Since there is apparently no evidence for the correlation you propose, I would say there is nothing that needs to be explained. "Something I have noticed" doesn't really provide any basis for discussion.
Agree. But I have experienced the same as the OP... people I have noticed with weak chins seem to be members of the lower-class.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:12 AM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is online now
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Inbreeding. It's the same thing that gives us the sloping foreheads, absence of necks, and unmatched banjo-playing abilities!
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  #23  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:13 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
It does exist in some forms. For those of you who can't visualize what I am talking about, here is one as well as here and here.
Is there any evidence that even the 3 samples you showed us are from "white trash" individuals?

What you're seeing may simply be a reflection of poorer people in the US being more prone to obesity, which tends to make the chin look smaller. Otherwise, confirmation bias is almost certainly the answer.

Last edited by John Mace; 04-17-2012 at 08:14 AM..
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  #24  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:35 AM
Crab Rangoon Crab Rangoon is offline
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Well - I'll be. I have a weak chin......and I'm white......I guess I must be trash! Who knew? I guess I should burn those degrees I've earned and move out of my middle class house and find me a shack to inhabit.

Maybe get me a job at the minimart and start up smokin' and drinkin' coffee brandy.

But....wait a minute! I am of English descent - perhaps that may have just a TEENY bit to do with it. Maybe.

Last edited by Crab Rangoon; 04-17-2012 at 08:36 AM..
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  #25  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:42 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is online now
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That's why Og invented beards.
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  #26  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
Inbreeding. It's the same thing that gives us the sloping foreheads, absence of necks, and unmatched banjo-playing abilities!
You forgot beady eyes.
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  #27  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:49 AM
redtail23 redtail23 is offline
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As kombatminipig said, it's usually a dental issue. The three photos you posted are people with bad overbites. The fix can range from years of orthodontics to fairly major surgery.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that uncorrected overbites correlate with income.
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  #28  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:53 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
I sort of associated a weak chin with class non-specific people of English decent.
Hmm, the English angle may be part of it. My admittedly unscientific sample is taken from the South and Appalachia where many people, especially the less mobile families tend to be of English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish descent. My informal sample was taken mainly from trailer parks, Wal-Marts, and truck stops in those areas. I was inspired to ask it after "I watched the Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia" last night on Netflix. You can tell that family is as trashy as it gets just by glancing at the faces and I wanted to break down why.
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  #29  
Old 04-17-2012, 09:23 AM
Pai325 Pai325 is offline
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I go with genetics. I'd only heard the term "chinless wonder" applied to English aristocrats, however my mother-in-law also had a weak chin and she was Hungarian. I've noticed it among all socio-economic groups in my students. I can't say I've seen it more in poor white people,
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:51 AM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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Originally Posted by Crab Rangoon View Post
Well - I'll be. I have a weak chin......and I'm white......I guess I must be trash! Who knew? I guess I should burn those degrees I've earned and move out of my middle class house and find me a shack to inhabit.

Maybe get me a job at the minimart and start up smokin' and drinkin' coffee brandy.
Is coffee brandy coffee with brandy in it, or is it coffee-flavored brandy? If it's the former, WANT.

Oh, I'd take the latter, too, I guess. I haven't been able to have coffee or alcohol since November, when I found out I was pregnant. I miss them.

I am also of English descent and have an overbite (mostly corrected by orthodontics as a kid). Some people in my dad's family could probably be described as at least rednecks, if not white trash, and they do come from Appalachia.
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  #31  
Old 04-17-2012, 10:00 AM
ratatoskK ratatoskK is offline
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If the phenomenon exists I would assume it has to do with poor dental care.
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  #32  
Old 04-17-2012, 10:11 AM
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This thread is a fantastic illustration of why we need science.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:14 AM
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At a guess, poor people in Spain are more likely to have a beak of a nose than poor people in Sweden. Poor people in Sweden are more likely to have an upturned nose than poor people in Spain.

This isn't based on any observations of Spaniards and Swedes involving socioeconomical data; it is merely based on an observation on the sizes and shapes of noses in both countries...
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:31 AM
Crab Rangoon Crab Rangoon is offline
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Originally Posted by Anne Neville View Post
Is coffee brandy coffee with brandy in it, or is it coffee-flavored brandy? If it's the former, WANT.

Let me try a link (first time trying)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen%27s_Coffee_Brandy

The preferred choice of "white trash" in Maine. I particularly like the term "Fat Ass in a Glass"

Last edited by Crab Rangoon; 04-17-2012 at 10:33 AM.. Reason: added colloquial saying
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  #35  
Old 04-17-2012, 10:52 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Originally Posted by Smeghead View Post
This thread is a fantastic illustration of why we need science.
I honestly didn't know if other people had noticed it or if there was some well-known issue that is documented. That's why I asked.

If I asked a similar question like 'Why are poor people in the U.S. so damn fat?', the question would be equally broad and controversial except we know there is a strong correlation between poverty and obesity and science is still working out all the exact details on why that happens.

I am sure the people that first documented that correlation started with a simple observation as well.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 04-17-2012 at 10:55 AM..
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  #36  
Old 04-17-2012, 11:11 AM
elbows elbows is online now
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You can tell that family is as trashy as it gets just by glancing at the faces
I think your answer lies in this sentence. When you think you can tell anything, "by looking at people", it's all about you, not them, in my experience.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:21 AM
awldune awldune is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
Hmm, the English angle may be part of it. My admittedly unscientific sample is taken from the South and Appalachia where many people, especially the less mobile families tend to be of English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish descent. My informal sample was taken mainly from trailer parks, Wal-Marts, and truck stops in those areas. I was inspired to ask it after "I watched the Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia" last night on Netflix. You can tell that family is as trashy as it gets just by glancing at the faces and I wanted to break down why.
This is un-PC subject matter, but your conjecture here resonates with my personal observations in NC and other southern states.

On the other hand, it's hard to look at bone structure in insolation without being influenced by an individual's clothing, hair, makeup, dental health, facial hair, etc.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:27 AM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I am sure the people that first documented that correlation started with a simple observation as well.
You're missing a small but VITAL step along the way. You don't go from "observation" to "hypothesized explanation". You have to do the "make sure my observation is actually objectively correct and real, and not just something in my own head" part.

One of my favorite quotes is "science is the fight against common sense". If there's one thing we've learned over the years, it's that humans have an amazing ability to spot patterns. The flip side of this is that we're also really really good and spotting patterns that aren't there - see all the nonsense about faces on Mars, for instance. So the first step of science is to take objective, unbiased measurements of whatever it is we think we see to see if we really see it or if we just think we see it. Until that's done, the observation is, in a word, worthless.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:27 AM
aerodave aerodave is offline
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This thread is a fantastic illustration of why we need science.
And the OP is doing his part to begin the Scientific Method. He's made an observation, and is trying to work out a hypothesis. Only then can it be tested.

I think the pendulum on this board has swung too far in the direction of "that observation sounds like a sterotype; it can't be true." No, a stereotype isn't necessarily true; but it still might be true. Every time there's a "Why do black people...?" thread, there are people who try to sa,y "Whatever difference you observed doesn't—indeed, can't—exist, because no behavioral or physiological differences exist between ethnic groups!"
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  #40  
Old 04-17-2012, 11:39 AM
even sven even sven is online now
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If a weak chin is a sign of poverty, who exactly is getting all these chin augmentation surgeries?
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:46 AM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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If a weak chin is a sign of poverty, who exactly is getting all these chin augmentation surgeries?
People who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and stopped being poor?
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  #42  
Old 04-17-2012, 11:53 AM
even sven even sven is online now
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People who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and stopped being poor?
So what happens to their kids? Do they not inherent the poor-jaw?

I'm on the shuttle to my university, which attracts very well-off undergrads. I spot a few week chins. They don't look like white trash, as they are in nice make up and designer clothes. Put the whole bus in overalls, and I bet they would all look white trash, regardless of chin.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:58 AM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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So what happens to their kids? Do they not inherent the poor-jaw?
I was being facetious. But I kind of am hoping that my baby doesn't inherit my overbite...
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:00 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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People who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and stopped being poor?
Or chinstraps?
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  #45  
Old 04-17-2012, 12:10 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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And the OP is doing his part to begin the Scientific Method. He's made an observation, and is trying to work out a hypothesis. Only then can it be tested.
No, he hasn't even made an objective observation. The first step after noting an apparent pattern is to determine whether that pattern in fact exists by using random sampling and statistical analysis. Only then would it be appropriate to generate a hypothesis as to why the pattern might exist.

The OP's first question should have been whether or not the supposed correlation actually occurs. Instead he made the assumption that his casual observations reflected a real pattern and jumped to asking what the cause might be.

Last edited by Colibri; 04-17-2012 at 12:11 PM..
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:34 PM
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I always thought that weak chin = small gene pool, although since I'm a Brit I associated it more with 'posh' people, specifically nobility, then poor people.
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:39 PM
sitchensis sitchensis is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
I honestly didn't know if other people had noticed it or if there was some well-known issue that is documented. That's why I asked.

If I asked a similar question like 'Why are poor people in the U.S. so damn fat?', the question would be equally broad and controversial except we know there is a strong correlation between poverty and obesity and science is still working out all the exact details on why that happens.

I am sure the people that first documented that correlation started with a simple observation as well.

Hint: Look up "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome" and alcohol abuse among the poor.
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  #48  
Old 04-17-2012, 01:10 PM
grude grude is offline
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Originally Posted by sitchensis View Post
Hint: Look up "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome" and alcohol abuse among the poor.
I was curious so I google image searched it and the results are really bizarre as some examples seem like average looking people. One of the symptoms epicanthal folds in the reference I saw said it could or could not be due to FAS and to keep in mind it is natural for some races. It seems like it would be difficult to definitively diagnose.

http://www.focus77.com/obgyn/ims/fetal_alcohol.jpg
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:10 PM
Anachronism Anachronism is offline
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Originally Posted by sitchensis View Post
Hint: Look up "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome" and alcohol abuse among the poor.
To save those interested a little searching --> http://blog.lib.umn.edu/meriw007/psy...l-syndrome.php

Micrognathia is underdevelopment of the jaw and sometimes associated with fetal alcohol syndrome.

If the OPs observation is true it could be possible that the higher incidence of obesity among the lower class makes a weak chin more apparent. It is also possible that higher class people spend more time/effort/ money on makeup or clothes to minimize the appearance of a weak chin.

FWIW I have a weakish chin and a goatee. I am middle class and have some English heritage.
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:28 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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Or chinstraps?
No, I think you'd definitely want to use bootstraps instead if you had a weak chin. A chinstrap might slip off.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is one theory about why the "feeble-minded" side of the Kallikak family looked the way they did, and why some of them might have been mentally retarded. (Of course, in 1912, nobody knew what fetal alcohol syndrome was)

ETA: If poor Swedish people tend to have upturned noses, then I have the physical signs of both poor British people (a weak chin) and poor Swedish people. I do have British and Swedish ancestors...

Last edited by Anne Neville; 04-17-2012 at 01:30 PM..
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