BikeMonkey Guest PostWe all know about the struggles young and even not-so-young women professors go through to gain the respect of their students and peers. A youthful appearance can in some cases be a bit of a handicap. Men are not immune as has been described by Prof-like Substance.
I was asked to give a 5 minute
dog and pony showresearch explanation to a political candidate for some district somethingorother. She brought along a contingent of people, including two interns who appeared to think their job of making sure the schedule was adhered to was a life or death posting, and toured the lab. I talked about what we do, including how our science is both good for the state from a job and application perspective. She took this all in as I described the cool equipment we use and how state infrastructure is blah blah blah. A few questions were asked, suggesting the candidate had at least listened. And then... "So, are you a student here?"
Well, some of Prof-like's peers have been adopting a little protective camouflage to fit in.
Young assistant professors in Ivy League towns have stormed the salons with an interesting request: to add a little gray to their perfectly-colored heads of hair.
P. Nus-Whimple of the Crimson Locks, a men's salon and spa in Cambridge, MA explained that grayness adds gravitas.
"We've had that request quite a bit," Nus-Whimple said. "Assistant professors are under tenure stress and need be taken more seriously in their field. At a conference they look around the audience at all the gray manes and wonder how they are being perceived. Twenty years ago, only 2 percent of our business was hair colour, now it's 22-23 per cent. And of the colouring we do, 80 percent is gray blending."
This is by no means limited to the NYC-Boston-New Haven axis area either.
A continent away, in Palo Alto, Tre Fishrax has started to offer a process called Full Professor, which tints most of the temple hair gray, but leaves some as is for the natural look. Beards can be either salt-and-pepper or full raincloud.
"I even had a guy say, 'Can I have a little on the eyebrows?'" Fishrax remarked.