We may be past ‘peak beard’ but some facial hair still draws the ladies, science says.
Over the last 12 months, perhaps only Donald Trump has topped the humble beard as the internet’s favourite whipping boy, with headlines screaming ‘Sorry guys, beards are over’, ‘Beards aren’t cool anymore’, and ‘Why the beard will die in 2017’ as facial fuzz entrenched itself as the rule rather than the edgy exception.
Well before it buries the beard for good, the internet might want to become acquainted with a man by the name of Charles Darwin — because Australian researchers reckon they’ve found an evolutionary link between whiskers and sexual attractiveness.
A recent study by the University of Queensland polled 8520 straight women on how attracted they were to blokes sorted into four categories: clean shaven, light stubble (five days’ growth), heavy stubble (10 days), and thick beard (a month). The major take-away? You don’t want to be a clean-shaven baby face if you’re hoping to pick up.
The women were most drawn to men with heavy stubble, and loved light stubble for a one-night stand. But full-on beards rose to the top when the women were asked who they’d like a long-term relationship with — long story short, a great big bushy beard makes you marriage material in the eyes of admirers.
Is she thinking if you can commit to a beard, you can commit to a relationship? Not so much, says the study. It’s got more to do with “indicating a man’s ability to compete for resources,” according to the report. Co-author Barnaby Dixson — who, full disclosure, sports a thick beard — told the New York Times last month that a face full of whiskers is subconsciously associated with qualities like masculinity, age, confidence, and generosity, ideas grounded in evolution.
And there’s one group of people who love your facial fuzz even more than those Queensland women: gay men. Another survey of almost 1,600 people in Brazil and the Czech Republic this year found that “homosexual men preferred hairier stimuli than heterosexual women,” which is fantastic news for Dan Bilzerian if he ever tires of his gaggle of supermodels.