Monday, May 16, 2011

Negotiation Secret # 103:
Facial Hair - Trust, Fear and Intimidation

Rod Beck was an accomplished relief pitcher for the Giants, Cubs, Red Sox and Padres. Like all relief pitchers, he sough to intimidate the batters he faced.  Many relief pitchers seek to do this, in part, with facial hair. In this image, Beck sports a dramatic Fu Manchu mustache. No doubt about it - facial hair intimidates. Those who have it are feared more and trusted less.  The last U.S. President to be elected with any facial hair was William Taft in 1908 and, at least in the U.S., the higher the political office - the less likely a candidate will win if he has any form of facial hair. Children and adults also trust those with facial hair less and a much higher percentage of those entering incarceration have some form of it - when compared with those in the general population.

A mustache, particularly a Fu Manchu, is shaped like a frown - and since they're above, to the sides, and beneath the mouth - mustaches tend to give the impression of a frown, and the corresponding emotions to onlookers.  Most professions would not want to project these feelings, but relief pitching is one great exception.  So while there are plenty of trustworthy, happy-go-lucky, non criminals with mustaches, beards, etc. - it's a STATISTICAL truth that you will be trusted less and feared more if you have any facial hair.