male pattern baldness

Lynne Murphy M_Lynne_Murphy at BAYLOR.EDU
Fri Nov 12 19:40:59 UTC 1999

"Bethany K. Dumas" wrote:

> I listened to a description of a male suffering from "male pattern
> baldness" the other day and wondered why the description did not say
> simply that he was "bald." (It was clear from the context that he was
> male.)
> Then I wondered: would fat women sound more attractive if we described
> then as suffering from, say, "female pattern fatness"?

When you say a guy has MPB, you are saying that he has some hair.  It's
in a horseshoe pattern on his head.  If you say he's bald, then it sounds
like he has no hair, or at least less than a horse-shoe's worth.  So, by
saying he has MPB you're kind of saying that it's not necessarily that
he's old, but he doesn't have as much hair as he used to.  You're also
saying that it's a genetic thing that is not self-imposed.  I don't know
that it actually makes him sound more attractive than if he were just
bald.  In fact, I think it conjures up images of pathetic George Costanza
types, rather than sexy Jean-Luc Picard types (I think Patrick Stewart,
who has a horseshoe fringe, would not be described as having MPB, but
would just be bald--and sexy).  You often (well, sometimes) hear women
say "I think bald men are sexy", but not "I think men with male pattern
baldness are sexy."

I assume that female-pattern-fatness would be bottom-heaviness (tummy,
hips, and thighs).  And since I don't think MPB makes men sound more
attractive, I also don't think that FPF would make women sound more

Lynne, who was once complimented by an African man that she has "the body
of a woman who has had MANY children"


M. Lynne Murphy, Assistant Professor in Linguistics
Department of English, Baylor University
PO Box 97404, Waco, TX 76798 USA
Phone:  254-710-6983     Fax:  254-710-3894

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