Doug the Rug

By skepticlawyer

If you’ve been following Australia’s cricketing efforts in India, you’d know that this bloke has been bowling exceptionally well and seems to be at the point where he’s moving onto bigger and brighter things. However, I don’t want to address his cricketing ability (of which he obviously has a considerable amount) but the ribbing he’s received for having had hair replacement surgery.

Among other things, he’s been called ‘Doug the Rug’ and ‘Rug Bollinger’ and had one journalist fantasize about throwing his hairpiece around the room (well, bus actually). Maybe the presser isn’t aware of the fact that modern hair replacements are, ahem, stitched in and — for the most part — manage to look like normal hair. People have commented that Bollinger’s doesn’t look natural, but to be honest, I can’t tell the difference. Some of the ribbing seems to be based on the fact that he got it done just before his wedding, although that said just about every prominent bloke who’s had a ‘hair job’ has copped a ribbing at some point.

It’s all of a piece with having a go at people for other forms of ‘vanity medicine’. Hair replacements are more obvious, of course — it’s a bit difficult not to notice a bloke who goes from baldy to thatchy overnight — but it seems any form of plastic surgery invites derision and amateur psychoanalysis (penis enhancement and boob jobs come to mind). I’ll no doubt regret using those two phrases on this blog as we’re deluged with plastic surgery spam…

I just can’t see the point of having a go at people for vanity surgery. There is no doubt that our society (and, to be fair, probably every society) has rewarded beauty. The standards are different between the sexes because of sexual selection in human evolution (hair and penis for men, breast and thighs for women), but the point is they’re not going to go away. Maybe — when you’re next having a go at Doug Bollinger — you can reflect on your good fortune. You got a full head of hair, hooray. Next time a celeb gets her boobs done, you can reflect on the fact that yours are a nice size (I say this because plenty of boob jobs are for reductions, not enhancements). 

Policing other people’s choices is really unpleasant and it’s long been my view that it’s getting just a tad too popular. Much of it is part of the modern desire to try to divine people’s motives from afar, usually with the assumption that those motives are somehow base or corrupt or psychologically weird or dog whistling (oh how I hate that accusation, having had it made at me) or whatever. Economists have long known that revealed preferences (what people do) are far more, ah, revealing than what people say they want to do. Enough of going after people’s motives already: leave that to the law courts, who only do it when it really counts (is this murder or manslaughter?)

And since Doug Bollinger has been bowling like a demon since acquiring the new thatch, maybe his preferences are having a positive impact on his cricket…


  1. Russell
    Posted November 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Of course celebrities are paid to be celebrities so they might expect personal comments, but I agree that it’s better not to make personal criticisms.

    But I think we should criticise a culture so obsessed by body image that people go under the knife because of it. “Revealed preference’ is mostly rubbish – it doesn’t include what options aren’t available or the powerful forces that influence decisions. We’re already at the stage where people going to job interviews know that to ‘compete’ they might need some botox, hair dye, teeth whitening … probably all you can afford! It’s all a ridiculous kind of dishonesty.

    It’s not OK that for so many women, and some men, altering how they look is their main hobby. Probably became their main hobby as a result of a billion dollar industry that tells them that to be attractive and successful they have to look perfect. The risks of surgery, steroids and they like is less well known.

  2. Posted November 10, 2009 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I disagree.

    Sportsmen are important role models and trendsetters. This is a social reality and it is beside the point whether sportsmen willingly choose these roles. As such it is almost obligatory for chaps to ridicule Shane Warne, Doug Bollinger, Graham Gooch and all the other sporty bozos who decide to wear a rug lest the rug become some sort of status symbol and the nude nut fall out of fashion.

    I would hate to see chaps trapped on the same oppressive, not to mention expensive, fashion treadmill that bedevils womenfolk.

    ps. I sport a nude nut by choice every summer as a matter of thermal comfort 🙂

  3. Posted November 11, 2009 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    Very droll Mel… nude nuts are still okay round here, but so are rugs 😉

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  1. By skepticlawyer » You wait days for a new post… on November 9, 2009 at 8:53 pm

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