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What a beard does for you East Lancashire ladies
DAVID Beckham has one, so too does Jeremy Paxman, although the effect isn’t quite so attractive. Some women think they make a man look older and aggressive, while others find them irresistible.
Beards have been in and out of fashion for centuries. George Clooney kicked off the trend in 2005 in the film Syriana with the first of the designer stubble crops, but today’s version is bigger and bushier than ever before.
There’s a belief that the re-revival is a macho backlash against the re-emergence of feminism. But when the trend inevitably returns next time around, our menfolk will look like members of ZZ Top.
Throughout military history beards were seen as a sign of strength, says Antonio Centeno, a former U.S. Marine Corps officer and founder of the website RealMenRealStyle.com "But we've been clean-shaven in the military since World War I, thanks to the need to form a seal when wearing gas masks," he says.
That quirk of technology soon trickled into civilian life and the workplace and within a generation our grandfathers were sporting smooth faces.
The Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at the University of New South Wales showed 350 straight women and 250 straight men pictures of the same guy with varying degrees of facial hair.
Women judged faces with heavy stubble as most attractive while heavy beards, light stubble and clean-shaven faces were considered less so.
In contrast, men rated full beards and heavy stubble as most attractive, and clean-shaven and light stubble as least attractive. Men and women rated full beards highest for parenting ability and healthiness.
Masculinity ratings increased as facial hair increased, more so when women were in the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle, although attractiveness ratings did not differ according to fertility.
In short –– or long, as the case may be –– Gandalf chic is hot, women think not, unless they’re hormonal.
Caroline Wilkinson-Hall, 32, owner of Polished in Rawtenstall, is very particular about male grooming habits. She likes a man to be well turned out, but not to the point where he’s hogging the bathroom mirror and stealing her moisturiser.
“A short, trimmed beard can look good, but I’m not into anything too bushy. Beards can attract parasites that feed off dead skin and I don’t want to think about food getting caught up in there.”
Self-confessed pognophobic Jaki Platt, 47, from Chorley, cringes at the very thought of puckering up for a Grizzly Adams type.
“Ewww. I think big beards are absolutely hideous even if they are fashionable. They get sweaty and the thought of that morning’s breakfast being lodged in there makes me shudder.
“But, more worryingly, you can not see a man’s face, or more importantly his expression, when it’s covered in hair. I’m a big fan of David Beckham, but not his latest bushy look.”
So boys, to beard or not to beard, that is the question. In my humble opinion, if you look like Hugh Jackman or Brad Pitt, grow, grow, grow because even if you were bald and dressed in a puppy dog onesie you’d be attractive to women. The rest, unfortunately, will just have to take the chance.
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