Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Aberdonians: Ugly Women but Beautiful Heads

"Whenever I have occasion to classify the people I meet into three classes, 'good, medium, bad,' I use a needle mounted as a pricker, wherewith to prick holes, unseen, in a piece of paper, torn rudely into a cross with a long leg. I use its upper end for 'good,' the cross arm for 'medium,' the lower end for 'bad.' The prick holes keep distinct, and are easily read off at leisure. The object, place, and date are written on the paper. I used this plan for my beauty data, classifying the girls I passed in streets or elsewhere as attractive, indifferent or repellent. Of course this was a purely individual estimate, but it was consistent, judging from the conformity of different attempts in the population. I found London to rank highest for beauty; Aberdeen lowest."
"Mr Gladstone was amusingly insistent about the size of his head, saying that hatters often told him that he had an Aberdeenshire head - 'a fact which you may be sure I do not forget to tell my Scotch constituents.' It was a beautifully shaped head, though rather low, but after all it was not so very large in circumference."
- Francis Galton, Memories of My Life

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