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.
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.
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.
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.”
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