Home Business NewsOlympics The psychology of sideburn success, or, how Bradley Wiggins won

The psychology of sideburn success, or, how Bradley Wiggins won

2nd Aug 12 3:02 pm

Sure, he’s good at cycling – but that facial furriness does something special for a man

Charles Darwin. Abraham Lincoln. Elvis. Doctor Spock. Throughout history, the most superlative minds and talents of the human (and Vulcan) race have chosen the sideburn as the path to greatness. I would fail in my social duty as a journalist if I didn’t now tackle the question aflame in all our minds: could Bradley Wiggins really have achieved all this if not for his sideburns?

Let us examine the psychology at the heart of the matter. It is not straightforward, dear reader, let me tell you that. For a start, we must understand there is a deep reasoning here that goes beyond our usual superficial understanding of facial hair. I shall explain: Wiggins is a professional cyclist, a man so intent on becoming aerodynamic that he waxes his legs and dresses in a head-to-toe shrink-wrapped nylon condom to increase the effectiveness of his athletic performance.

Yet, beguilingly, apart from a full beard, sideburns are really about as un-aerodynamic as you can get in the facial adornment department. i.e. HIS SIDEBURNS SLOW HIM DOWN.

Why would Wiggo take that risk?

Let us begin at the beginning. The sideburn is, of course, a statement – that much is clear to us all. I’m bold, I’m different, it dares to declare. I don’t give a toss if society expects me to be clean shaven. Could you imagine Liam Gallagher without his in-yer-face facial furriness? Of course not. He would simply have to act more diminutively. And, resultantly, Oasis would never have become a success.

So we can safely conclude that for our Bradley, the ’burn (in part) plays a role in intimidating his opponents. “I’m daring, sure,” it whispers through its wispy fronds, “But Brad is so fast he doesn’t even care that this un-aerodynamic unshavenness will shave microseconds off his time. Ha! That’s how fast he is.”

The sidey is athletic arrogance, facial fear-mongering of rivals.

But wait – because the defiance of the sideburn doesn’t quite work when we remember that Wiggo clearly has a huge amount of natural talent. His rivals surely already knew he was a masterful cyclist. Wiggo was already a god on a bike before hitting puberty, let alone growing pubes all over his face. So why did he feel the need to don the ’burns?

Perhaps it might be helpful now to retrace the steps of one of the greatest psychoanalysts of our time: Sigmund Freud. Freud believed that the act of weaving, of knotting threads together, was a method of subconsciously compensating for genital deficiency. Now, if we are to take a Freudian reading of our favourite athlete’s face, what else is the sideburn than a mass of matted hair, a weaving of follicles and fuzz? Indeed. You are there already. Our friend Freud would surely conclude that Wiggo’s sideburns are compensation for the lacking in his Lycra. After all, we never talk of Wiggo’s Wanger in the way we did Lynford’s Lunchbox.

But – wait a minute. I feel the tide of our psychological examination turning again. For we all know Freud’s theories are widely disputed today. Bradley Wiggins himself must surely, even on a socio-culturally subconscious level, eschew Freud’s beliefs, because he is a member of a society that has eschewed them. Are his sideburns, then, a mocking defiance of genital deficiency? Is Bradley in fact so well-endowed that he dare laugh at the cultural heritage of psychoanalytic theory? It is all possible, dear reader, all very possible.

If Wiggo is so damning of the great thinkers of the first half of the twentieth century, we may assume he is a man more modern in his mental methods. In conclusion, the acutely contemporary is clearly his cultural cup of tea.

So, then, who in modern history might it be that Wiggins trichologically aspires to? Who has inspired him to get hairy in the cheek region? I have already mentioned Elvis, Spock and Liam from Oasis. All are accomplished in their fields.  We should not discount Ronnie Wood, John Lennon and Lemmy from Motorhead either.

But, for this author at least, I feel that a person of Wiggins’ sporting statute would only really be able to identify with a true athlete. I believe he really can only have been inspired by one man, whose hirsuteness is as much a part of his legendary status as Bradley’s sideburns are of his.

That man is, of course, Wolverine.

The parallels between the two are obvious. Wolverine is the master of athleticism. He must control and deploy his great testosterone surges daily with aplomb. He must, with perfect precision, pick the opportune time to bring out his special physical tools, expending his body’s unique structure to win each fight. He must understand inherently how to do battle alone, yet also in a team. In short, he is quite obviously Bradley Wiggins’s idol.

Wiggo decided to grow these ridiculous lamb chops upon his smacker because of Wolverine.

The psychology of sideburn success – sorted.


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