Locks on the Vote

November 29, 2011

The New York Times claims to run “all the news that’s fit to print,” choosing the top scoops for its front page. Last week, the Times added RomneyHair (no, not Romney Care) — the candidate’s hairstyle — to A1 relevance, running a lead story on Romney’s longtime barber, Leon de Magistris.

It’s campaign season, so news can get a bit kooky. But, despite appearances, Romney’s “impeccably coiffed black hair” reveals much about the candidate and society.

Hairdressers know us. We routinely trust them to snip our numb-yet-visible appendage. This intimate ritual means we often reveal our deepest fears and hopes while in the chair. Romney and de Magistris, “talk about everything but hair.” What are they yacking about? The Patriots’ record? Tebowing? The man with scissors knows something.

Hair spotlights habits, tastes and peccadillos. Romney’s coiff is controlled and hasn’t changed in decades. Does it say something about his character? The Times thinks so.

Hair sells. Beauty mags that tease styling tips on their covers sell best. Romney’s hair may not get him votes, but it will move papers. Journalism is hurting. Give us a break.

Katherine Boyle reports on arts, museums and culture for the Style section.
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