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Is It Now Moot to Be Hirsute?


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Is It Now Moot to Be Hirsute?


“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man. He that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.” -Much Ado About Nothing

New study claims the appeal of bearded men may have reached its peak!

Beards for men are like cosmetics for women—they can pleasantly augment a man’s face and raise attractiveness while masking flaws or, like an orange-based foundation in a cloudy jar, they can go horribly, horribly wrong. In April 2013, researchers in Australia announced the results of a study on bearded preference and perception. “Our findings confirm that beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring.” Basically, a few well developed chin follicles are biological shorthand that tells the whole world a man is able to grow crops, slaughter mammoths, and successfully procreate and parent. When polled, male study subjects preferred full beards over light stubble or a clean shaven look. Women in the same study, however, preferred men with heavy stubble over clean-shaven or a heavy beard.

Toronto-based actor Kris Holden-Ried in Sex After Kids.

Toronto-based actor Kris Holden-Ried in Sex After Kids.

Last week, a new study, also by researchers at the University of New South Wales and published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, suggested society has now achieved “peak beard” among men in social classifications not normally associated with furry faces (the guys on Deadliest Catch are good as is.) The bearded trend has become so prevalent in society it’s diluted its impact and effectiveness at attracting women. This is called negative frequency-dependent sexual selection. In other words, having too many hirsute men in society has negated the mojo of the beard.

 

Try not to blame the hipsters too much.

Try not to blame the hipsters too much.

Beard enthusiasts maintain that the Biology Letters study has no evidentiary proof for its claims and is mostly based on assumptions. “Men have beards for reasons entirely unrelated to sexual attraction,” Keith Flett, founder of Beard Liberation Front, told Complex.com.

 

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Make a furry first impression


Make a furry first impression


A well-tended beard of some length, specifically a 5- to 10-day growth or more, makes a man look older and thus makes him more likely to command respect from other men. But when asked, the overall response from women in our straw poll toward the attractiveness of a man with a full beard was not good.

“Not a fan of beards. Okay with a light five o’clock shadow but no full-on beard.”

“Not a fan. It’s like kissing a walrus.”

“Scruff is okay, but I’m not really a beard fan. Too scratchy.”

“My hubby looks much better with his (short) goatee…not full bushy beards or mustaches, don’t like at all.”

“Three to five days growth. Perfection.”

“It all depends on the face, though I always like a little scruff.”

 

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down to the follicles


down to the follicles


Ultimately, the attractiveness of male facial hair is, like chemistry, subjective. Our own multicenter, randomized, totally-blind, uncontrolled study of women on Facebook and Twitter and one random chain eatery revealed that male facial hair is perceived by women to elevate masculinity and can often season a man’s appearance, adding some gravitas to an otherwise baby face, for example. We asked our subjects to break it down to the nitty gritty.

· Overall, to the right woman, a beard sends a signal to “take your clothes off.”
· A neat and trim beard tells a woman that the man knows how to take care of things. Like her.
· How a beard grows is important. A wild beard may be sexy in an animalistic way, but too bushy and all a woman will think is bear and not in a good way. Similarly, how a man tends his beard is key. No bits of food or fuzz allowed. “A man who keeps his beard neat cares about his appearance,” said one Facebook poster subject.
· The appeal of kissing a bearded man depends on texture. Whether the beard is coarse or soft makes all the difference, so if you’re investing in product, gents, soften those bristles to get more lip action with your lady. Similarly, stubble may be the sexiest visual choice, but it’s hell on a woman’s face. Or as one woman put it,

“I don’t mind looking at the scruff; hate kissing the scruff.”

Kris Holden-Ried with Lauren Lee Smith in The Listener.

Kris Holden-Ried with Lauren Lee Smith in The Listener.

· Short side-burns are attractive, but resist the urge to grow them long. Come on, guys. You’re not an extra in Tombstone.
· Now for styles. Scraggly Duck Dynasty beard? Not if you ever want to feel the touch of a woman again, no. Amish-like, chin-only beard? No. Soul patch? Hell no. Goatee? Hell yes, as in, where’s-the-nearest-surface-on-which-I-can-lay-down-for-you yes. “A man with a goatee knows how to…eat, or at least is inclined to do so,” said one waitress subject in our study. “A little longer, at least an inch or two under the chin, makes oral sex extra freakin’ amazing,” replied a woman on Twitter queried study subject.

Above all, “don’t do it if you can’t do it.”

Strapping good looks.

Strapping good looks.

 

 

Special thanks to Toronto's Kris Holden-Reid for allowing us to use his pictures from the entire C-TO team

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