This may have occurred to you after a couple of days at the cottage. Or after a guys’ get-away weekend in the wild, where washing and shaving was not a priority. Did your face with that 5 o’clock shadow staring at you in the mirror the next morning give you pause for thought? The thought being, that maybe you should just let that stubble evolve into something more hirsute?
Well, for better or for worse, facial hair apparently is very much in. On men’s faces, that is. We can go down the long list of hot male celebrities currently sporting some form of bristles around the jaw area: Ryan Cosling, Jon Hamm, Jamie Fox, to name just a few.
And there just maybe something scientifically based to this beard trend. Last year, researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia did a study to find out if male facial hair played a role in sexual attractiveness. The bottom line? Yes, it does.
The study found that facial hair is a ladies-magnet, and that the length of the whiskers is the deciding factor in the nature of the attraction.
The findings published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology revealed that women in the study found men with a stubble the sexiest, and saw them as a fling or a one-night-stand target. (Men with a scruffy light stubble being apparently the bulls-eye.) And men with full beards or a clean shave? Not so much.
But there is still some good news for men with full beards. Well, good news if these bearded men are in the market to get tied down (metaphorically speaking, of course). Asked to choose the best candidate for a long-term relationship, the women in the study pointed to men with much more hair on their faces.
Go figure! And the authors of the study did try—they theorized that more ample beardedness is seen as a sign of “male’s ability to compete for resources.” Or, to use a more hackneyed expression, they are perceived as “better providers.” If you believe we are all slaves to our evolutionary biology, that answer may be acceptable.
Does this study help you in your decision to keep shaving or let your facial hair follicles go wild? Just keep in mind that these facial hair signals give men an edge in the attractiveness competition only when beards are relatively uncommon. “When beardedness becomes too common, it is less attractive than when it is rare,” Dr. Bernard Dixson, one of the researchers involved in the study wrote. (It may be salient to note that Dr. Dixson does sport a full beard.) In other words, when there is a room full of scruffy, stubbly and bearded men, everyone’s back to an even playing field in the pursuit of sexual victory!