I would not include Patrick Stuart in a sex symbol category. Part of if it is you are so used to seeing him without hair, that it can feel odd trying to picture him with it. Part of it is also that he is older and people tend to give older people more leeway. Again, being bald looks more appropriate when you’re older.
But ultimately, you’re only proving my point. Baldness is always bad, but there are better (more tasteful) ways of handling it than others. There are people who are fat, that can do the tasteful thing and wear clothes that obscure the rolls and divert attention from them being hideously obese. Or there are people who are fat and wear shit that makes you want to throw up in your mouth. They should do the former, but it doesn’t change the fact, they are fat.
It’s hard to name current sex symbols because the average shelf life is so short. New hot chicks show up on the internet every day and who’s “hot” changes as a result. As recently as a year or two ago people said Paris Hilton was hot. Now, not so many.
Yes, I’ve seen Pulp Fiction. And just because Stuart chose to make himself look like a Miami Vice reject, doesn’t discount my point.
Think of it like negative trait with a -X modifier to charisma. There are things you can do to reduce it and even other traits which in combination give you a +modifier to charisma… but baldness still gives that initial -X modifier*.
Some balding guys can still be hot, but on average the negative modifier is large enough that most average guys aren’t going to overcome that, no matter how tastefully they deal with it.
Shit, go back to the OKCupid poll, where most women rate 80% of men as less than medium. In that environment, baldness is pretty much always working against you. Pulling out celebrity outliers as proof is pretty ridiculous.
*Look at mmalloy’s post, the baldness doesn’t work against him because, OMG have you seen him without a shirt? That’s my point. Collectively, other attributes can overcome the effect of baldness, as long as it’s tastefully handled. Tastefully handling it though is just mitigating the damage. Short of getting into fetishism (which in videogame terms breaks the rules) , baldness is not a positive attribute.
Jewel’s cute, but Morena Baccarin is dead sexy, as is Portia di Rossi. Salma Hayek was my first thought, but I don’t know if she counts as current or not. I still think she’s insanely sexy now, but I don’t know if she’s crossed some magic “too old” line for pop culture or not.
Jessica Alba (mentioned in the OP) is my only real celebrity hawtness go-download-pics chick. Also Sarah Chalke, the blonde in Scrubs, makes me feel kinda funny. Otherwise I don’t generally follow each year’s hottest set of legs.
Nicole Kidman, however, is still the most glamorous woman in showbiz IMO. Like in the 1940s-50s Betty Grable, Audrey Hepburn sense of the word.
He’s won at least one write-in poll asking female viewers to name the sexiest man on TV. (The one I remember was for TV Guide in the 90’s.) It wasn’t a poll with age brackets, either, he beat out guys who were significantly younger at the time.