The Return of the Sexy, Brilliant, Bald Guys

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.  Note the lack of tie and untucked shirt.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. Note the lack of tie and untucked shirt.

This whole question of the sexy, brilliant, bald guys popped up the other day because my colleague Paolo Santalucia and I were trying to get out of an assignment. It was Friday afternoon in the office and Paolo called across from his desk to me and said, “Hey Trisha, I’ve got the perfect assignment for you, a romantic weekend in Venice with your kind of man.”

That got my attention and I asked for more details so he forwarded an email to me from our beautiful, talented, super-mamma colleague in Athens, Teodora Tsongas. Teodora was informing us that the new Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis would be attending a conference in Venice on Sunday. We needed to send a cameraperson and a journalist to Venice to stand outside the conference all day and try to get a comment from Varoufakis on the ferocious negotiations going on with Germany over the Greek debt.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis with leather jacket, jeans and no tie.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis with leather jacket, jeans and no tie.

If any of you blog readers outside of Europe are not familiar with Yanis Varoufakis, he is the Greek Finance Minister in the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who came to power at the end of January. Varoufakis has taken Europe by storm with his confident manner and his brazen challenge to his nemesis German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble. While Greece has been struggling to hold up its head amidst its humiliation in the Eurozone, this guy oozes ego. No humble pie for Greece with Varoufakis. He has become the star of anti-austerity movements in Europe, and made Greeks proud.

But as sexy, brilliant and confident as Varoufakis may be, that did not mean I wanted to ruin my weekend standing around outside a doorway in Venice hoping for a thirty-second soundbite.

So I emailed back to Paolo and Teodora something along the lines of: “I am not into brilliant, sexy, bald men, personally I prefer them hirsute. So, I guess someone else will have to do the romantic weekend in Venice, Paolo???”

Paolo shot back: “I am not into men. And besides, didn’t you marry a sexy, brilliant, bald man??? How can you say you’re not attracted to them???”

And then an email from Teodora popped up with something along the lines of: “Don’t worry Trisha, we’ve got hirsute for you. Our new Prime Minister Tsipras is headed your way, he’s certainly got a full head of hair and with his government’s “no-tie” policy you are free to enjoy his chest hair as well.”

Oh good grief. I hope our AP bosses aren’t reading our internal emails, this could get embarrassing!!

Let me first explain Teodora’s response. For those who are not aware, the Greek government has created a fashion revolution in Europe. Prime Minister Tsipras has declared that they will not wear ties until the debt crisis is resolved. This fashion statement has probably sent more fear through European capitals than concern over Greek default. In Italy, where elegance is everything, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promptly presented Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras with a tie on their first meeting. British and German officials have appeared quaky and queasy when Varoufakis shows up to meetings in leather jackets, no tie and shirts untucked. But the key to Varoufakis’ rock star success, is that he clearly thinks he is gorgeous. He exudes confidence and seems convinced that he is the hottest guy in town. No insecurity about lack of hair on his pate.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi presents tie to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the Prime Minister's office in Rome.  February 3 2015

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi presents tie to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the Prime Minister’s office in Rome. February 3 2015

So that explains Teodora’s email. On Paolo’s email, what can I say? Yes, I do happen to be married to a brilliant, bald guy who is similarly convinced that there is no need for hair on your head to be hot.

I met my husband, Gustavo Piga, while we were both graduate students at Columbia University in New York. Back then – age 26 – he was already well on his way to baldness and it did not seem to bother him a bit.

My husband, Gustavo Piga.

My husband, Gustavo Piga.

I didn’t have a lot of experience with bald men. After all, my Dad had a full head of hair (and still does at age 81—you can see a photo in this blog post “Keep Your Eye on the Ball”). Although, I do remember once my mother mentioning that she thought Yul Brenner was “quite something.”

Actor Yul Bynner - bald and beautiful

Actor Yul Bynner – bald and beautiful

But back to Gustavo in New York.

He had a little curl that was the last remaining holdout just above his forehead. As he spent long hours bent over his books working towards his PHD in Economics, he would distractedly roll that little curl around and around and around on his index finger. When he would jump up from studying and charge off to do something else, he would not realize that it looked like a lonely unicorn’s horn on the top of his balding head. I, who clearly had more hair hang-ups than he did, urged him to stop messing with that lone holdout or it would soon be lost forever. He ignored me and I believe that lonely lock went down the shower drain before we even got married. But he didn’t care. He knew he was a brilliant, beautiful, bald guy.

I have to say that I admire that. If you are going bald you might as well love it. You could be like former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who has spent so much on hair transplants that when you get near him, his head looks like a Christmas Tree farm. Or those sad fellows who wear toupees and actually think people believe that the strange looking mini-rug on their head is real hair. Or those poor suckers who spend fortunes on creams, liquids, drugs and other hair growth treatments hoping in vain for a little extra fuzz on top.

And for all those lucky men with full heads of hair, beware of the return of the sexy, brilliant, bald men with Greece’s Varoufakis leading the charge.

By the way, we sent a freelancer to do the door-stepping in Venice. (If you want to know more about door-stepping, check out this post (Doorstepping the High and Mighty)

p.s. If you actually want to read something intelligent about Greece and their economic crisis, you can check out Gustavo’s blog www.gustavopiga.it

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Trisha Thomas

Trisha is a TV journalist working for AP TV News in Rome. She is married to an Italian and is a Mamma of three.

16 Comments

  1. Nancy Rockwell
    2015/04/11

    Bravo! For you, for Gustavo, and for Greece! The new style of their politicians is a clear symbol for the new style of international economics Greece wants to bring into the world. I wonder what Gustavo Piga thinks about it? I don’t know economics, but clearly something needs to change.
    Meanwhile, in the US, we are caught up in debates about capital punishment, as the Marathon bomber awaits his sentence, and police shootings of black men continue unabated. This time, because of the video, there is scandal. But there was video in NYC, and the policeman, in the end, was exonerated, so that possibility still exists.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/04/11

      Gustavo thinks that it is Europe’s duty, and Germany’s duty to help Greece as a brother to get out of its debt. Gustavo says that when the Berlin Wall went down, West Germans treated East Germans with incredible generosity and East Germany is now thriving. He thinks Greece should receive the same generosity. A lot of others though say that is wrong. Greece (along with Italy) and other Mediterranean countries in Europe are criticized for being corrupt and careless, with enormous, wasteful bureaucracies and have a tendency to allow their people to evade taxes and never make a proper effort to balance their books. I am not an expert on all these matters though.
      On the Boston Marathon bomber, I have been curious about the whole death penalty question. Massachusetts doesn’t have the death penalty. I read somewhere that it is being considered a federal crime where there is a death penalty. I need to learn more. And on the police shooting of the man in North Carolina. I have seen the video and it is horrifying. When will this stop???

      Reply
  2. Alan
    2015/04/11

    Dear, oh, dear! Whatever is the world coming too? Guys chatting up birds with ‘I’m an economist, don’t you know!’ We’re doooomed, I tell you. Doooomed!

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/04/11

      Yes, it is definitely risky leaving ourselves in the hands of economists. Not to be trusted. But I think you are avoiding the point of the post Alan. Are you one of those guys with a lot of hair??

      Reply
  3. Ciao Chow Linda
    2015/04/11

    Oh this gave me a belly laugh this morning. I loved the correspondence back and forth and I have to agree with you on baldness. Men should embrace it and not try all those sad attempts at transplants. Your mom was on to something with Yul Brenner. And to me, sexy is an attitude and intelligent men, hairless or not, are sexy. Likewise a man who is kind, considerate and wants to make me happy. That’s sexy.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/04/13

      Thank you Linda — I am glad you got a laugh. I was worried I might be going over the top a bit revealing all our silly office repartee. And I totally agree with you sexy is an attitude. I never really thought of it as “sexy” but you are absolutely right — a man who is kind, considerate and wants to make a woman happy is also sexy.

      Reply
  4. Kay
    2015/04/11

    Well oo la la, these guys can certainly add a little spice to my tzadziki any day, if you know what I mean *wink wink nudge nudge*
    But on a serious note, which one of these hunky descendants of the loins of Zeus was making a call the Germany owed Greece approximately 290 million Euros in reparations from WWII thus basically wiping out any EU debt that the Greeks had?

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/04/13

      Hey Kay — Mamma Mia, you make me laugh!! I believe it was the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who made that comment about reparations from Germany. Not too smooth. Tensions have been running very high between Greece and Germany in recent weeks!!

      Reply
  5. Joan Schmelzle
    2015/04/11

    Since I come from a family of “bald guys” who are also beautiful and often intelligent (I say often because when do families always agree), I am somewhat partial. No one is an economist which is probably good since I have enough trouble with insurance ideas. I must also admit that I thought Yul Brynner was “pretty hot”!
    I have a great nephew who swears he will be the first in several generations to keep his hair, but since G7 (yes the 7th of the name) is only 17 hope springs eternal I guess.
    Enjoyed the blog and hope for Greece’s problems to be solved by the tieless ones.
    A presto

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/04/13

      Thanks Joan. The big question in our family is whether my son –who at 20 has a head full of hair– will take after his father or his maternal grandfather. Everyone on his Italian side is bald, but some say the baldness gene passes through the mother. Anyway, the point is, it should not matter, as long as my son remains confident whether he is bald or hairy. And as far as my mother and Yul Brynner are concerned, only a 1950s Bryn Mawr graduate could describe someone like that as “quite something”.

      Reply
  6. Kathy
    2015/04/12

    Two world leaders who are actually very attractive! (or am I just getting old?). Matteo Renzi was here in Sydney back in November and the media talked more about his looks and beautiful suits than the Italian engineers who were building the rail link he was inspecting.

    My favourite sexy bald guy would have to be Andre Agassi followed closely by Bruce Willis. Thanks for this, Trisha – note to self – I must pay more attention to world economic news in future.

    N.B. – Trisha I wonder if the tie was from Marinella in Naples?

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/04/13

      Matteo Renzi is an attractive man, but he does sometimes look and act a bit like Mr. Bean. A bit too twitchy and always busy tweeting. And yes, the Italian suits are lovely. I must ask the Prime Minister’s office who made that tie. Maybe you are right. Will get back to you on that one. Ah, wish I were in Sydney.

      Reply
  7. Sister-in-law
    2015/04/14

    Great insights but how could you leave out your baby brother?? I think he might argue that he’s not quite “bald” enough yet but I wouldn’t mind too much if he adopted the “Greek” look!

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/04/14

      I didn’t want to drag my baby brother into all this bold, bald guys discussion for fear of offending of him but your right I think maybe a little of that Greek attitude might do him good!

      Reply
  8. Adri
    2015/04/16

    Oh, what a wonderful article! This one made me laugh. I have come to like the bald look – consider if you will Inspector Montalbano. He looks great. I love the bit about no ties, and then being presented with one. How is that for all in good fun? Gotta love it. Your politics are more fun than our politics.

    In all seriousness, I actually think it is everyone’s duty in Europe to give Greece a hand. After all, it is in the general good interest for all the Eurozone countries to have healthy vibrant economies.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2015/04/17

      Oh, how could I forget Inspector Montalbano — he definitely falls into the sexy, brilliant, bald guys category. As far as politics being more lively over here…I am not so sure. It gets pretty crazy and colorful over on that side of the Atlantic. I often am asked to be a commentator on US elections on Italian television. I have to explain to Italians funny things like why in the Caucuses in Iowa people go stand in a group in the corner of the room. There is also so much to explain about advertising and lobbies and polling. Sometimes as I explain US politics, it seems so absurd.

      Reply

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