I remember a while back when I was fawning over a picture of a man with thick , dark facial hair (my usual passe-temps) and a friend of mine thought it necessary to comment on what he considered an obsessive preoccupation with beards and although his accusation was accurate ( I was clearly infatuated with the picture ) I did not want to accept his insults and so replied ” I’m not obsessed, I’m simply admiring”. I then attempted to explain the science behind my attraction to men with beards and he looked at me with a worried look on his face and left the room. I knew he would never get it, I knew trying to explain the female attraction to beards to a beardless man (or any man for that matter) would be a waste of my time and his but I tried anyhow. I think a part of me wanted him to understand so he could validate my obsession but seeing as he was not remotely interested I thought I would use this platform to air my (outlandish) opinion.
I am writing for every woman that has ever been taken aback by a man’s facial hair, both the thickness and fullness of the beard. I am writing for every woman who has ever been tempted to stroke “the beard”. I am writing for every woman who has ever just stared at the wool like textures that grow from the end of his nose to the tips of his chin and fallen slightly in love. More importantly, I am writing to every man that refuses to grow a beard. I am using this article to beseech you to have a change of heart. I attended a wedding on the weekend and a few of my old university friends were also in attendance. I greeted them all, asked them how they were and what they were up to as you do with friends you have not seen in a long time and one of them had a beard. Hopefully by now you can understand how pleasantly surprised I was and throughout our conversation I felt myself staring and complimenting the beard. Some might describe what I was doing as male objectification but I would argue I was not disregarding his dignity which is in essence what objectification is.
Our(speaking for women who are attracted to beards) attraction can be pinned down to the the way we associate beards with masculinity, maturity, ruggedness and assertion which implies that by contrast we see “beardless” men as less masculine, less mature and not necessarily rugged. I looked to Google to diagnose my obsession ( I have a great fondness for Google as well) but also because I was eager to prove to myself that I was not alone in my preference for beards and I stumbled across a study that sought to uncover the mystery behind the female attraction to beards. The research was conducted by Barnaby J. Dixson and Rob C. Brooks, professors at the University of New South Wales (Australia) and the sample were presented with images of ten men smiling. Each of the ten men were photographed clean shaven, with 5 days of growth, 10 days of growth and with a full beard. The professors then asked their sample, which comprised of 177 heterosexual men and 351 women, to rate these men according to their preference. The majority were attracted to the 10 days of beard growth look than any other stage of beard growth. The comments made by the professors were particularly strange,
“Our findings confirm that beardedness affects judgements 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.”
So the question I found myself asking myself was, am I attracted to these men with beards because I believe they will be better fathers and I concluded that even the the thought was preposterous. The correlation was too uncertain for my liking. Although the professors had tried to reveal the science behind my attraction and the attraction of millions of other women to beards it still appeared somewhat vague. However, I should talk about how the study revealed that women are attracted to things that are considered rare. The group who were only shown images of clean shaven men preferred facial hair more than the group who were shown men with heavy beards. This trend compelled the researchers to find that women are attracted to things that they see less often or consider a rarity.
I then found an earlier study conducted in the UK which had similar patterns. The British equivalent was carried out on women between ages 18 -24 and again men with stubble were rated far highly than men who were clean shaven . In this study pictures were shown to 76 women (I wish I could have been a participant)and they voted men with stubble as the most attractive, preferring them because they are perceived as more aggressive and mature. Again , the researchers spoke of the results and concluded that ,
“Facial hair may have been sexually selected by females on the basis of associated male success, despite its threatening appearance. Clean-shaven faces therefore may suggest appeasement, as well as being an obvious sign of sexual immaturity.
Both studies revealed firstly, that I am not alone and secondly women are far more similar than I imagined. Moreover, I was elated because now I had a defence if my friend ever dared to question my sanity because of my obsession with beards again.
I guess the point of this article was to validate my preference for beards and reveal that there might be some science to our preoccupation. Does that mean we will turn down a man because his follicles are under-performing? No ladies. Why? Because we are better than that. A woman once compared a clean shaven man to a mannequin, although absolutely hilarious , the comparison is unfair especially as we are far more than aesthetics. However, men you have been warned and the science only validates our attraction to beards, so grow one!
I should probably write an article about what the men want to counteract the bias that features heavily in this article but in order to do that I will need male opinions. Leave a comment pretty please.
Love Cris x
p.s with Christmas coming, I might tell Santa to bring me a man with a full face of hair as a gift. Kidding.
p.s.s if you are part of the male population whose follicles are under performing it is fine as there is somebody for every clean shaven man.
p.s.s.s Idris is my featured picture because both him and his beard are yummy.