As we enter perhaps the most heavily bearded World Series in history, with the heavily facial haired Boston Red Sox duking it out against the newly furried Cardinals, this week the American Mustache Institute (AMI) and Wahl Trimmers embark on what should be the most important scientific endeavor since 1991.
Indeed, concerned about widespread claims of facial hair discrimination in the workplace, AMI and Wahl launched the Workplace Mustache Study (MustacheStudy.com), a definitive examination of the state of facial hair in the U.S. work environment.
Now, clearly, the Sox nor Cards have work environments to worry about, although we cannot recall the last time Cards GM John Mozeliak sports good looking face fur. But the timing is curious.
“We’re proud of what we are seeing on the faces of the Red Sox and Cardinals,” said AMI President Adam Paul Causgrove. “With the Sox’s beards deeper and thicker, equating to greater cocksmanship in our experience, we’d have to give Boston the edge.”
Developed by a team of AMI sociologists, national leaders of Mustached American descent, and reality TV stars with no relevant skills whatsoever, the study seeks further clarity on the acceptance of workplace facial hair and identifies workplace habits and characteristics most associated with people of facial hair.
“We still hear weekly from members of our community that they face discrimination in their work environments,” said Dr. Adam Paul Causgrove, AMI president and chairman. “Clearly this is not the case in the MLB clubhouses in Boston or St. Louis. But more broadly, on its face, this is utterly unacceptable. And yet, before we take action we must have data to support these concerns and thus we are partnering with Wahl to determine if there is, in fact, a deeper pattern of discrimination to address.”
The most recent examination of facial hair in the workplace came in the 1991 study “Effects of Cranial and Facial Hair on Perceptions of Age and Person,”published in the Journal of Social Psychology. In it, authors J.A. Reed and E.M. Blunk found managers tended to hire men with facial hair while suggesting mustaches were not favorable to all professions, with clean-shaven men seen as more reliable in roles such as salesmen and professors.
Since that 1991 study, AMI research has shown acceptance of a facial hair-enriched lifestyle rose from 19.6 percent of Americans in 2000 to 48.2 percent in 2010 – a dramatic increase, although workplace perceptions, in particular, were not taken into account. To investigate the issue further, the AMI and Wahl are inviting the public to participate in the Workplace Mustache Study by going to mustachestudy.com and filling out the survey. The results of the study will be released in mid November.
“The American people understand that living a sexually-dynamic Mustached American lifestyle is not a choice, but a civil liberty,” added Dr. Causgrove, as he was removing a pair of white satin tear-away pants. “We will get to the bottom of this and report back to the American people.”
To promote the study, four members of the AMI — including myself — are embarking on an eight-city tour Oct. 23 – 26.through what the Institute refers to as the “Mustache Belt” — St. Louis, Nashville, Louisville, Indianapolis, Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. The Institute will discuss the issue at hand, as well as congratulate “MUSTACHE POSITIVE” employers in these communities, which the AMI has identified based on positive feedback from Mustached Americans.
The AMI’s list of MUSTACHE POSITIVE employers include the St. Louis Rams — due to Coach Jeff Fisher’s presence — as well as the U.S. Postal Service, the City of Cleveland, CMT Network, H&R Block, Primanti Brothers, CafePress, Ford Motor Co., Exxon-Mobil, Eli Lilly & Co., Harley Davidson Motors, the University Of Pittsburgh, the Cincinnati Reds, Sabre Holdings, Foursquare, Limited Brands, and Pizza Hut.
Where the beards net out in the World Series is anyone’s guess. Where America nets out in our deep-seated culture of facial hair discrimination is another case altogether.