A Letter About Hair

8 min read
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Dear Ryan,

Auntie Lian told me you asked her why people have hair. Some people think it’s to protect the top of your head from the sun… but actually there is a much more important purpose. It is what is called a “fitness indicator.”

What is a fitness indicator?

Basically it’s a signal to other people that you are healthy. So why do people need to know if you are healthy? Because when a person decides who they want to marry and have babies with, they want to be sure that the person they choose is healthy so that their children will be healthy.

Actually not many people know about this… about fitness indicators. They will just tell you if a person is attractive or not. When we say someone is attractive, this is just our brain telling us that a person has lots of fitness indicators which let you know they are strong and healthy.

It works the same way in animals. Why does a leopard have spots? Camouflage perhaps? Maybe… but leopards live in essentially the same environment as lions and yet lions do not have spots. So perhaps the spots are fitness indicators for leopards… ie if a leopard has nice dark spots which follow the proper pattern, the other leopards will know that it is fit and strong. But if the leopard’s spots are washed out, dull or missing then the leopard isn’t so fit. 

For the lion, on the other hand, he has a big mane of hair – not unlike humans. A lion with a small mane of hair will not be attractive to the female lions. But the lions with thick long hair will be considered fit and strong and the female lions will be attracted to him.

You can actually see this very well for yourself. Look at these two pictures and tell me which dog is healthier? It’s easy to see right?


The dog with a patchy uneven coat looks sick compared to the dog with the nice even coat… even though the face of the one below looks more nasty!

OK now look at the pictures of these two people? Who looks healthier?


You can tell instantly without thinking about it!

The other interesting thing about hair is how it changes as you get older. When you are young and the most fit, your hair is thick and dark. When you get older what happens? Many men start to lose their hair and both men and women’s hair turns grey. For Caucasians who have blond hair, as they get older, first their hair becomes less bright. When I was young my hair was a shiny gold colour. Now it is turning brown and eventually it will turn grey. That is a good indication that I am not as fit as when I was 20 years old.

Remember when we talk about fitness indicator we mean one very specific thing: how good you are at producing strong healthy children. It’s possible that when I am 60 years old, I still might be stronger than somebody who is only 20 years old because I work out at the gym every day. But I will not be young enough to have babies and my body will let the whole world know this by turning my hair grey!

Humans have lots of fitness indicators. Here are some:

HairShiny, Thick, Deep ColourDull, Thin, Missing
SkinClear, Radiant, Even toneOily, Spots, Patches of discoloration
HeightTaller is better within certain bounds
VoiceSteady, Stronger and Lower is better
TeethStraight, WhiteGrey or Black, Missing Teeth
BreathNo SmellBad Breath
Body OdourSmell NiceSmells Bad
SizeLean, MuscularVery Fat or Very Skinny
PostureStands Straight, Walks StrongStoops over, shuffles feet
StyleHas clothes that are fashionable and suited to themWears old and sloppy clothes
EyesPerfect EyesightNeeds Glasses
PersonalityIs friendly, gets along with 
people, good sense of humour
Can’t get along with people, doesn’t know how to make others feel good/happy

Smarter is better


The list goes on. Hair, like body odor and breath, doesn’t have much value other than as a fitness indicator. The others obviously all have important functions – being a fitness indicator is not their primary purpose (eg teeth are for chewing, eyes for seeing). 

Now some of these things are actually under your control… for example you can choose how you dress. Some people would argue that style and personality are not fitness indicators, but actually they are indications of how socially aware a person is (this means how well they get along with other people – which is form of intelligence) and that tends to be an important characteristic when you are choosing someone you want to marry and have children with.

Your ability to assess a person’s fitness is actually one of the things you will develop quite strongly when you are older. You start to develop this when you are 12-13 years old and over time you will develop your own likes and dislikes about how people look. This is another way of saying that when you hit this age, you will start to notice these things in girls and you will start to find girls attractive.

Now you won’t look at a girl and think, “Hmmm… OK she’s short but she has good hair and she’s not fat so I think I find her attractive.” No Way! Your brain has an instant calculator to work this all out faster than you realize. You will look at a girl and in less than half a second you will either think “Wow! She’s attractive” or “Nope! Not Interested!” 

When you start to find girls attractive, it also means that it will start to become important to you how attractive you are to other people. As you will have probably observed, teenagers and adults are fairly obsessed with the opposite sex. Because of this, they tend to spend a fair amount of time worrying about their own fitness indicators… ie how they look. Stuff they try to do to look more attractive:

  • Get nice hairstyle
  • Go to gym to have nice body
  • Go on diet to be less fat
  • Wear perfume or cologne
  • Take breath mints
  • Get braces to straighten teeth
  • Sun-tan (Caucasians) or use skin whitening cream (Chinese)
  • Get contact lenses (pretend to have perfect eyesight!)

People can actually spend hundreds of dollars fixing their hair up at the best salons just because they think it will make them more attractive. That alone lets you know that hair is a very important fitness indicator!

Voice is also very interesting indicator. In some big cities, you can even take voice lessons so that your voice is deeper and stronger. In the same way hair changes when you get old, so does your voice. Very old people tend to have weak, shaky voices and their voice is a higher pitch than when they were younger. 

Having a deep voice tends to be more important for men than women. One big indication that you are reaching the age when you start to be attracted to girls is that your voice will get lower. It’s a weird thing that happens to boys (not girls) around the age of 13.

There are lots of animals that use voice as a fitness indicator: a good lion’s roar may be as important as a thick long mane. Plus many animals have songs – like birds, whales… even some insects! The stronger and louder the animal can sing its song, the more attractive it is to other animals. Humans are not so different: we tend to think that people who sing very well are attractive. A good voice can be very powerful. For instance there are several great, big fat opera singers with ugly hair yet women still adore them because they have beautiful voices!

It’s also interesting to note that for many people, what they own can be a fitness indicator. For instance some people think that if you drive a Ferrari, you are more attractive than if you drive a Honda. Why? Well because the Ferrari is more expensive, you can assume that the person who drives it is richer. And if the person is richer, then maybe it’s because they are smarter so their job pays more money. And if they are smarter, then their children will be smarter… so that makes them attractive because they will have smarter children.

The other thing about a Ferrari is that it is powerful and strong… and that makes some people think that the driver is also powerful and strong… Of course if the driver steps out and is a short skinny guy wearing glasses then that illusion is destroyed! But still SOME women will still find him attractive just because… well… he still might be smart and rich!

What is VERY interesting is that the things that women look for in men are not exactly the same as what men look for in women. 

Men are very interested in physical characteristics like hair, skin, weight, height and age. But for women, characteristics like intelligence and personality tend to be more important. Because of this, you will find that women put a lot more effort into looking good than men. Also, you will often see couples where the guy is fat or old but the women is young and gorgeous. You almost never see a young gorgeous guy with an old fat woman!

Women often get mad at men because of this. They think that it is wrong to be more interested in how a person looks than how they think. But really this is nobody’s fault – men cannot control this. The reason they think this way actually makes sense and is due to millions of years of nature (evolution). 

It’s because the younger a woman is, the more likely it is that her baby will be healthy. This is because the baby actually lives inside the mother for 9 whole months so obviously a young healthy woman gives a baby a better home than an old woman. But it just so happens that it doesn’t matter much how old the father is. It’s just one of those unfair things in nature that the age of the father has no effect on a baby’s healthy but the age of the mother does.

Because of this, men tend to look for young healthy fit women whereas women are not so concerned about a man’s age and body shape. Women are, however, quite interested in what men accomplish – almost like it is proof of fitness. For instance if a man is famous, if he is a good musician, if he has won some sports competition or even if he has won a chess competition, women can find this very interesting! All of these things are like proof that he is strong or smart.

Now don’t get me wrong, personality and intelligence are important to men… just not as important as they are to women. Because many guys don’t understand this, they think that if they are not perfect looking then women will not be attracted to them. They think women will apply the same judgements to them as they apply to women and will focus on their physical shortcomings. But actually a guy doesn’t have to be that good looking… as long as he’s funny, charming confident and smart!

Lucky for you, you are funny, charming, smart AND good looking! You will surely find many girls will think you have very good fitness indicators. That’s a long way of saying: girls will like you.


Auntie R.