Bad hair days are worse than we thought

Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2000

It's now official: Having a bad hair day can be hazardous to your self-esteem.

We know this is true because a Yale psychology professor has done a study, paid for, as it turns out, by Procter & Gamble, maker of products like Head & Shoulders and Pert shampoos.

Procter & Gamble got its money's worth. The study says when our hair looks bad we feel dumber, less competent, more self-conscious and we don't want to socialize as much. Basically, when our hair goes bad on us, we want to crawl under a rock. This applies to both women and men, if we're to believe the Yale results.

We're not sure about whether we'd hang our reputation on such a study, but if an Ivy League university says so, it must be so and we're booking our appointments with the hairdresser just to be on the safe side. You don't want to be messing with your self-esteem, folks: This is serious stuff, so much so that schools devote entire curriculums to improving our children's self-esteem. There's an entire self-help industry built around the concept.

The list, as far as we can tell, from self-esteemologists, includes these admonitions: Don't smoke, don't do illegal drugs, don't overeat, use alcohol (if you must) in moderation, don't let others put you down, don't have self-destructive habits, eliminate stress, don't hang out with losers, don't think bad thoughts about yourself, and now - whatever you do - take care of that mop you call a hairdo.

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