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View Full Version : Why are toupees ridiculed and scorned?


Captain Midnight
08-26-2010, 04:59 AM
I am lucky in the hair department somewhat. Thankfully I will never be bald. I do not want to be bald. If I was bald, I would look like Curley Howard from The Three Stooges. I would have to shave it off because I wouldn't want one of those hair rings with a dome on top.

Some men when they lose their hair have hairpieces (otherwise known as toupee's) made for them. I think if they are professionally done and cared for, I don't think looks too bad.

I was thinking about William Shatner, with me watching the Comedy Central celebrity roast, when some of the guests were making fun of his hairpiece among other things (one comedian said that it growls to him). Frankly, I think the Shat looks great and I would have never known about his lack of hair if it wasn't pointed out by someone making fun of the man, as in "He's was an insufferable asshole, and he wore a rug!"

Remember Morty the Hair for Men guy from the film Goodfellas? He was portrayed as a schmuck. Another schmuck was Jim Carlson the hockey announcer/TV guy from the film "Slapshot". Ralph Ciffaretto from the Sopranos secretly wore a rug which scared the bejesus out of Chrissy when it unexpectly fell off Ralphie's head. Stan, the schmuck ex-husband of Dorothy on "The Golden Girls". There are many instances in entertainment where having a toupee', rug, hairpiece, whatever is something to be made fun of or scorned.

Seems unfair to me. Toupees are seen as fake, and people hate fake and equal it to being a liar or untruthful. It is strange and I don't understand why.

Sage Rat
08-26-2010, 05:05 AM
a) Toupees are almost always very clearly a toupee, and as such look peculiar. See the uncanny valley effect.
b) Television can be quite forgiving. From what I've heard, KITT (http://www.alvionharris.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/mickael-and-kitt.jpg) from the old Night Rider show had nearly all of his panels held on with black duct tape. On TV, you couldn't tell. That Shatner is wearing a toupee may not have been obvious to you, seeing him on TV, but meeting him in real life it may be glaringly obvious.

qpw3141
08-26-2010, 05:06 AM
I think most of the ridicule is for hair pieces that look obvious.

Apparently Shatner wore one when making ST and the vast majority of people didn't notice.

The worst problem is people over the age of 60 wearing thick, luxuriant, hairpieces with no grey. They just look ridiculous.

Then you have people wearing cheap pieces that don't match their natural hair (or who don't change the wig when their hair colour changes).

Kobal2
08-26-2010, 05:16 AM
It's not because people with toupees are equated to being liars. It's because they wear toupees out of vanity and conceit instead of accepting their age, yet most toupees don't fool anyone. Which makes them prime targets for The Funny, since they accomplish the exact opposite of their purpose, i.e. make someone who wishes to be more beautiful look ridiculous, and draw attention to the man's baldness combined with the fact that he can't deal with it and/or cares about his appearance. FWIW, people who get (bad) cosmetic surgery catch the same amount of flakk, for about the same reasons.

IOW : Real Men (tm) don't care about going bald !
Do Vin Diesel and Bruce Willis feel the need to wear dead muppets on their heads ? Real Men (tm) have bald spots, pot bellies, wear wife beaters covered in grease and pizza sauce and have more back hair than a hippie gorilla. And they don't give a damn.

Signed : Kobal2, who shaves his head to hide the MPB :)

Gyrate
08-26-2010, 06:12 AM
I'll go for the "liar" option.

Toupees fall into the same category as combovers. Either the person is so deluded that he thinks it really looks natural, or else he thinks everyone else is too clueless to notice that it's fake.

In short, he's either lying to you or himself. Neither conveys trustworthiness.

F. U. Shakespeare
08-26-2010, 06:19 AM
One thing tangential to the OP that fascinates me is the change in attitude over the last 50 years or so. Back then, a toupee was not considered nearly as pathetic or shameful. Frank Sinatra made no secret about his wearing a toup. He owned dozens of them, and had a full-time employee dedicated to their upkeep. I can't imagine a male celebrity of Sinatra's stature today even feeling the need to wear one. Today, he'd probably shave it off and do a 'Willis', and that would be Old Blue Eyes' 'new look'.

Certainly, back in the day, if a rug blew off, or if it was obvious, people would snicker. But today, there is more acceptance of the bald/balding male 'look', so a toup is more likely to be an object of ridicule.

qpw3141
08-26-2010, 06:20 AM
I'll go for the "liar" option.

Toupees fall into the same category as combovers. Either the person is so deluded that he thinks it really looks natural, or else he thinks everyone else is too clueless to notice that it's fake.

In short, he's either lying to you or himself. Neither conveys trustworthiness.

That's a very judgmental way of looking at things.

Why stop at toupees and combovers?

You could apply the same logic to just about anything anyone does that affects their appearance.

I really doubt that anyone who uses a comb over actually thinks it's fooling anyone, they just think they look better that way than showing a bald pate.

By your logic, anyone who uses any technique to make a receding hairline less obvious - or any woman who uses subtle makeup - is a liar.

Seems a bit extreme!

Gyrate
08-26-2010, 06:58 AM
I'm less bothered about someone doing something with their hair that actually improves their appearance, because there are aesthetic grounds for it. But the bad toupee, the blatant combover - it fools no one and makes you look like an idiot.

Next week's rant: fake tan and botox.

Paul in Qatar
08-26-2010, 06:58 AM
Masculine beauty is supposed to be effortless. A man who is good shape is attractive. A man in insanely good shape in vain and an object of ridicule.

A hairpiece should never even be noticed. If it is, then is it a comedy prop.

UltraVires
08-26-2010, 07:21 AM
The worst problem is people over the age of 60 wearing thick, luxuriant, hairpieces with no grey. They just look ridiculous.


I think that this is the main thing. As a man ages, his hair naturally thins, but wearing a (cheaper) toupee leaves one with the impression that he has the hair of a 16 year old.

My Dad was almost completely bald by his early 20s. He wore a toupee until he died at age 58. Nobody that I talked to ever suspected that it was a toupee because, I think, when you see a man in his 20s, 30s, and even 40s with a full head of hair, your mind doesn't associate any difference from the norm.

Now, when he got into his 50s, he started getting rugs with flecks of gray blended in and ones that had the hairline receding in the two front corners. It always looked natural.

But, then again, since he was my Dad, maybe I just didn't notice it, but I never talked to anyone that did.

Random Design
08-26-2010, 08:35 AM
I'll go for the "liar" option.

Toupees fall into the same category as combovers. Either the person is so deluded that he thinks it really looks natural, or else he thinks everyone else is too clueless to notice that it's fake.

In short, he's either lying to you or himself. Neither conveys trustworthiness.

How about women who apply their eyebrows with pencil? Or wax their upper lip? People who whiten their teeth? They're all liars and should not be trusted?

DrFidelius
08-26-2010, 08:42 AM
I'll go for the "liar" option.

Toupees fall into the same category as combovers. Either the person is so deluded that he thinks it really looks natural, or else he thinks everyone else is too clueless to notice that it's fake.

In short, he's either lying to you or himself. Neither conveys trustworthiness.

How about women who apply their eyebrows with pencil? Or wax their upper lip? People who whiten their teeth? They're all liars and should not be trusted?

Liars and painted Jezebels, every one. One step above harlots, although at least the harlots are truthful about their deceptions.

Whatever. For the OP -- the hairpieces which are ridiculed are the cheap hairpieces, not the quality ones.

Fiveyearlurker
08-26-2010, 09:19 AM
I'll go for the "liar" option.

Toupees fall into the same category as combovers. Either the person is so deluded that he thinks it really looks natural, or else he thinks everyone else is too clueless to notice that it's fake.

In short, he's either lying to you or himself. Neither conveys trustworthiness.

How about women who apply their eyebrows with pencil? Or wax their upper lip? People who whiten their teeth? They're all liars and should not be trusted?

Or hair extensions for women, which are pretty much the same as a toupee, and just about required for any woman on television or film right now.

Ninja_Lauren
08-26-2010, 09:22 AM
Well what's the difference between a bald man wearing a hairpiece and a woman wearing a wig? Many women have wigs in different lengths and styles to wear, and they are wearing them for the same vain reasons as the man (not happy with the hair that's on their head). I just don't understand what the big deal is. People will pick on you for looking bad, but then try to fix it and people laugh at you still. I say live and let live. I don't care if your bald, or want to wear a toupee. Just get a good one, so no one laughs!

Diogenes the Cynic
08-26-2010, 09:40 AM
Women losing their wigs is a comedy staple too. Seeing someone's hair unexpectedly come off is always a reliable sight gag because it always makes our monkey brains laugh, just like farts or fat guys falling down.

In general, though, it's also expected that women will do artificial things to alter their appearance, but not men. It's expected that women will wear makeup, but not men. Vanity is seen as a de facto feminine trait. Therefore vanity in men is seen as effete and unmasculine -- as weak.

A rug, in particular. is seen as effete because it shows vanity over a particularly "feminine" issue -- hair. There's another kind of male vanity based around caricaturing or exaggerating masculine traits like muscles (see Jersey Shore or Google "Guidos"), but that just makes guys look like assholes. Baldness signifies vulnerability. That's what was striking about it with Ralphie on the Sopranos. Here's this ultra scary, cold-blooded mobster sudddenly looking ridiculous and vulnerable when his hair comes off. It showed an unexpected insecurity beneath the tough facade.

DigitalC
08-26-2010, 11:38 AM
It's the same problem fake boobs have. People only notice the really obvious ones, and they tend to look bad. Nobody ridicules a good toupee/boob job because you are not suppose to ever notice it isn't the real deal.

TreacherousCretin
08-26-2010, 12:13 PM
On the old Today Show, Willard Scott would appear on camera with or without his hairpiece. I thought it made him seem really confident.

.

Lobohan
08-26-2010, 12:28 PM
Masculine beauty is supposed to be effortless. A man who is good shape is attractive. A man in insanely good shape in vain and an object of ridicule.That's really insightful. I've never thought of that.

Diogenes the Cynic
08-26-2010, 12:31 PM
I saw David Letterman saying someplace once that the network made Willard Scott Scott start wearing the piece against his will. So he wears it, but basically does it in such a way as to make no secret that it's a piece. He intentionally slaps it on there crooked and the like. According to Letterman, he'll amuse the crowd during breaks by taking off his rug and tossing it up in the air like a pizza, then slapping it back on right before he goes live again.

dzero
08-26-2010, 12:39 PM
Digital - you read my mind - which is pretty impressive considering how scary it can get in there.

My dad had thinning hair and a receding hair line on the right and left sides but not the middle. By the age of 40, it looked like he had a mohawk. I've been fortunate. My hair has thinned but I won't be going bald for at least another couple decades - if ever.

Most men in my family however ARE bald so it was something I worried about in prior years. I always felt that hair transplants would be the way to go. If that meant selling my body to rich old widows to get the cash, then so be it.

Hello Again
08-26-2010, 12:45 PM
[You could apply the same logic to just about anything anyone does that affects their appearance.

...

By your logic, anyone who uses any technique to make a receding hairline less obvious - or any woman who uses subtle makeup - is a liar.

Seems a bit extreme!

No, it applies to people who TRY to improve their appearance but do it so ham-handedly that it looks awful, in fact, much worse than if they had just left things alone. The equivalent is a 80 year old woman who slaps on foundation with a trowel, and puts on so much cheap pink lipstick she looks like $2 hooker.

It shows bad judgement and self-delusion in an extreme way.

kunilou
08-26-2010, 12:55 PM
Frank Sinatra made no secret about his wearing a toup. He owned dozens of them, and had a full-time employee dedicated to their upkeep.

That's actually a big part of it. People don't make fun of good toupees, they make fun of bad toupees, and most toups are really bad.

Look at actors like Shatner and Burt Reynolds. Back when they had good toupees, no one really cared. Then they suddenly had curly hair and more hair than before.

On an old episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show, Alan Brady was outed as wearing a toupee. On his desk he gathered all his different models, including the "you need a haircut" style and the "ooh, he's losing his hair" style. Few men make that kind of effort to keep their toupees looking natural.

Gyrate
08-27-2010, 05:51 AM
No, it applies to people who TRY to improve their appearance but do it so ham-handedly that it looks awful, in fact, much worse than if they had just left things alone. The equivalent is a 80 year old woman who slaps on foundation with a trowel, and puts on so much cheap pink lipstick she looks like $2 hooker.

It shows bad judgement and self-delusion in an extreme way.Exactly the point I intended to make.

There is "making yourself look nice" and then there is "thinking that you're making yourself look nice when actually you're turning yourself into Scary Clown Lady".

qpw3141
08-27-2010, 06:01 AM
[You could apply the same logic to just about anything anyone does that affects their appearance.

...

By your logic, anyone who uses any technique to make a receding hairline less obvious - or any woman who uses subtle makeup - is a liar.

Seems a bit extreme!

No, it applies to people who TRY to improve their appearance but do it so ham-handedly that it looks awful, in fact, much worse than if they had just left things alone. The equivalent is a 80 year old woman who slaps on foundation with a trowel, and puts on so much cheap pink lipstick she looks like $2 hooker.

It shows bad judgement and self-delusion in an extreme way.

So, you're only a liar if you lie so badly that everyone immediately knows it's a lie? :confused:

No, it applies to people who TRY to improve their appearance but do it so ham-handedly that it looks awful, in fact, much worse than if they had just left things alone. The equivalent is a 80 year old woman who slaps on foundation with a trowel, and puts on so much cheap pink lipstick she looks like $2 hooker.

It shows bad judgement and self-delusion in an extreme way.Exactly the point I intended to make.

There is "making yourself look nice" and then there is "thinking that you're making yourself look nice when actually you're turning yourself into Scary Clown Lady".

With all due respect, it wasn't.

You said:

I'll go for the "liar" option.

Toupees fall into the same category as combovers. Either the person is so deluded that he thinks it really looks natural, or else he thinks everyone else is too clueless to notice that it's fake.

In short, he's either lying to you or himself. Neither conveys trustworthiness.
You claimed that toupees and combovers indicate untrustworthiness.

Now you seem to be saying it only indicates untrustworthiness if it's noticeable.

I can't see the logic in saying that how good you are at covering up a lie can be taken as any indication of trustworthiness.

Peremensoe
08-27-2010, 07:11 AM
Toupees are seen as fake, and people hate fake and equal it to being a liar or untruthful.

Toupees are fake.

I hate fake, but I don't think that's a prevailing view. The prevailing view is that faking is pretty much fine if you can pull it off.

panache45
08-27-2010, 07:12 AM
It depends.

A former coworker had an "off the rack" toupée that didn't match his own hair at all. Plus, it had a part in the middle that didn't go in the same direction two days in a row. This was of course ridiculed and scorned. Actually everything about the guy was ridiculed and scorned.

On the other hand, one of my cousins wears a toupée, and it's totally natural looking. He spent a fortune on it (he can well afford to), and he replaces it periodically as his own hair grays. I have never heard anyone ridicule his toupée.

ralph124c
08-27-2010, 07:23 AM
I have a question..two actually: in the 18th century, most wealthy men wore wigs-they had their heads shaved, and wore wigs instead-why was this?
Second: does Rod Blagojevich wear a wig? He appears to have a dead animal atop his head..same for Donald Trump!

bucketybuck
08-27-2010, 07:48 AM
I have a question..two actually: in the 18th century, most wealthy men wore wigs-they had their heads shaved, and wore wigs instead-why was this?

Hair lice?

DrFidelius
08-27-2010, 08:14 AM
I have a question..two actually: in the 18th century, most wealthy men wore wigs-they had their heads shaved, and wore wigs instead-why was this?
Second: does Rod Blagojevich wear a wig? He appears to have a dead animal atop his head..same for Donald Trump!

Trump does not have a rug. He had an amazingly complex comb-over.

Gyrate
08-27-2010, 08:25 AM
With all due respect, it wasn't.It was indeed the point I intended to make. I just didn't make it very well.

You claimed that toupees and combovers indicate untrustworthiness.

Now you seem to be saying it only indicates untrustworthiness if it's noticeable.

I can't see the logic in saying that how good you are at covering up a lie can be taken as any indication of trustworthiness.Because of the aforementioned added layer of delusion. The person who engages in personal beautification presumably does so for aesthetic reasons. But the person who does so and only manages to make themselves look blatantly worse, as I said, is either self-deluding or thinks that you are too stupid to notice. It's not just "lying", it's lying about lying in the face of obvious truth.

I think that's Blago's actual hair. Trump's too. (http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01106/Donald_Trump_1106836c.jpg)

FoieGrasIsEvil
08-27-2010, 08:26 AM
It's not because people with toupees are equated to being liars. It's because they wear toupees out of vanity and conceit instead of accepting their age, yet most toupees don't fool anyone. Which makes them prime targets for The Funny, since they accomplish the exact opposite of their purpose, i.e. make someone who wishes to be more beautiful look ridiculous, and draw attention to the man's baldness combined with the fact that he can't deal with it and/or cares about his appearance.





In general, though, it's also expected that women will do artificial things to alter their appearance, but not men. It's expected that women will wear makeup, but not men. Vanity is seen as a de facto feminine trait. Therefore vanity in men is seen as effete and unmasculine -- as weak.

A rug, in particular. is seen as effete because it shows vanity over a particularly "feminine" issue -- hair.

I think these two snippets pretty much sum it up for me. Us men are all going to age, and some of us will start losing hair. Deal with it.

Miller
08-27-2010, 03:20 PM
I have a question..two actually: in the 18th century, most wealthy men wore wigs-they had their heads shaved, and wore wigs instead-why was this?

When the king goes bald, everyone at court had better start wearing a wig, so he blends in. And in the 18th and 19th century, there was a lot of syphilis going around, which makes your hair fall out.

PunkyPoo
08-28-2010, 05:14 PM
Hhhhmmm. There are only a few things that socially we're allowed to make fun of -- toupees and people who are overweight. Not really sure I understand why making fun of either is appropriate.

Now let me get back to cleaning my rug and my hoho.

Zsofia
08-28-2010, 05:20 PM
a) Toupees are almost always very clearly a toupee, and as such look peculiar. See the uncanny valley effect.
b) Television can be quite forgiving. From what I've heard, KITT (http://www.alvionharris.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/mickael-and-kitt.jpg) from the old Night Rider show had nearly all of his panels held on with black duct tape. On TV, you couldn't tell. That Shatner is wearing a toupee may not have been obvious to you, seeing him on TV, but meeting him in real life it may be glaringly obvious.
Seen a candid photo of Hugh Laurie on his way to the grocery store lately?

The Second Stone
08-28-2010, 05:28 PM
Charlie Sheen. Good hairpiece, but I vote hairpiece nonetheless.

If you are going to be a liar about something, at least have the courtesy to the rest of us to put an effort into it.

drastic_quench
08-28-2010, 05:42 PM
I have a question..two actually: in the 18th century, most wealthy men wore wigs-they had their heads shaved, and wore wigs instead-why was this?
Second: does Rod Blagojevich wear a wig? He appears to have a dead animal atop his head..same for Donald Trump!
Blago is Serbian. He's genetically prone to having hair with the same density as a sea otter. See a google image search for Serbian hair:

http://www.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&biw=796&bih=652&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=serbian+hair&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

clarkstar
08-29-2010, 06:32 AM
because most look stupid

Guinastasia
08-29-2010, 01:51 PM
I'm guessing there are a lot more guys that DO wear toupees, but because they are better quality, you don't notice. But when they're cheap and bad, you DO notice. And it looks ridiculous. Unflattering.

Same with make-up. It's not meant to look "fake", but flattering. Yes, you know a woman is wearing make up, but it's not supposed to make her look like a clown, but to flatter her natural skin tone, shade of hair, etc.


It's not the fact that it's a toupee -- but whether it's a cheap, crappy looking toupee. Same with make-up, clothes, etc.

Combovers, however, almost ALWAYS look bad. I remember when I was in high school, and I worked at a local groccery store. We had this one guy who came in with the mother of all bad combovers. He only combed the FRONT PART of his hair over, so he had this big bald circle in the middle of his head, and since he was seriously balding, it looked so ridiculous.



People, it's not so much about fake, but fashion.

Angel of Doubt
08-29-2010, 08:00 PM
Another female's perspective:

If they're well-fitted and tasteful, why not? I'm personally sick of the bar bouncer bald look that even younger men have been sporting for several years now.
Yes, I have seen many atrocious examples of hairpieces. Technology and time will eliminate the dead animal look!

Stoneburg
08-29-2010, 08:34 PM
I really had to stop and think about this question, because I had never considered it before. What I came up with, before I read the replies was:

Maybe it is because caring about your appearance is considered un-manly. And men on some level find "un-manliness" or femininity in other men disturbing. So we use ridicule to distance ourselves. Basically we joke about men who are wearing toupees to signal that we're not vain, because being vain would be close to being feminine/gay.


Of course you can also make fun of toupees because they're of bad quality or just makes people look funny or stupid, but that's not as interesting. The interesting question is why we make fun of toupees that look good and realistic, or the phenomenon of wearing toupees.

Gangster Octopus
08-30-2010, 12:03 PM
I think it is funny that many folks are saying most toupees look bad, because seriously how would you know how many good toupees you have seen? My FIL wears a toupee and it looks pretty good.