We all have our little bugaboos. Some people hate their "crooked" noses and others bemoan their "weak" ankles. Remember that scene in Mean Girls? ("My nail beds suck!") But, lately we've noticed a rising trend among the weirdly specific body-part complaints: Big Head Syndrome. What started with a casual comment about my difficulty finding a hat that fits turned into an echo of agreement throughout the office, and soon devolved into a dog-pile of big-head havers insisting that, no, their noggin's really huge.
But, like, I really do have a big head, you guys. Hats sit atop my giant melon like the cherry on a sundae. If I do manage to jam the thing down, it will slowly slip up the sides of my hair, buckling against the mammoth circumference of of my skull, and finally fall to the floor. But, when no fewer than 27 of my coworkers responded to my "Do you have a big head?" email, I had to wonder if there was a conspiracy afoot. (Or ahead.)
There was! The US national average is estimated to fall between 22 and 23 inches, but there is no current government data on adult head size. Science has other stuff going on, guys. But, there is at least one head-related profession that's sure to have the facts: hatmakers. I called on Molly Yestadt of Yestadt Millinery to see if she'd heard this complaint before. Instantly, she replied: "I hear it all the time. Often, it's not actually true."
So, was it us, or were the hat and sunglass industries engendering this new form of body dysmorphia?
"A sample size — a women's medium — is 22.5 inches. But that's actually kind of small. I make some of my samples 23 inches. If you can fit into a sample, you don't have a gigantic nog."
Ah-hah! But, we haven't even considered evolution. Yestadt explains that "people are bigger in general," these days. "It's very likely that the industry just hasn't caught up. Think about it. How many people can fit into their grandmother's clothing?"
Yet, we all continue to see gigantic domes facing us in the mirror. So, I rounded up 14 staffers who claimed to suffer from this affliction (myself included). I asked each participant to explain their experience of big-headedness — their woeful tales of too-tight glasses and moon-faced selfies. Then, I whipped out a measuring tape to see where we really stack up.