The cult of bald men is one of the more outspoken straight lady cabals we’ve ever encountered: bald men aren’t for everyone, but for the women who love them… they really love them. Surely you have a few friends that think Vin Diesel is the sexiest guy ever, right? We did. Or Patrick Stewart? Or Taye Diggs? We think we know a few of these types.

…Apparently that may have to do with some weird genetic conditioning: men with shaved heads are perceived as more dominant. According to a study published in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science conducted by Alfred Mannes, we see bald heads as indicators of traditional “manliness.” The study involved showing 60 participants pictures of different men–some with hair, some without–and bald guys consistently ranked higher for “masculinity, strength, dominance and leadership potential.”

“I was surprised,” Mannes said, “That perceptions of dominance and masculinity extended to concrete, physical characteristics such as height and strength.”

Of course, there’s a catch. Balding men don’t get quite the respect that men with shaved heads do. Per Mannes, “Whatever a man gains in dominance directly by shaving his full head of hair will be offset to some degree by his diminished attractiveness.” Still, “The shaved look is more attractive than the visibly balding look. So men suffering natural hair loss may enhance both their dominance and attractiveness by shaving.”

Seems like a great time to poll our man-liking readers:

[b5poll id=”c5a539331bb447d462a5a8b6618bfe57”]

(via Time, photo of Bruce Willis at the Moonrise Kingdom photocall via Wenn)