Razors at the ready folks; a new scientific study claims to have proven that your chin chaff is about as attractive as draping a mangy cat over your face and then combing yesterday’s porridge through it.
OK, so that may be a tad extreme, but there’s a fair amount of research backing up the anti-beard brigade this time. Haven’t we spent the last few years following in the footsteps of bands like Kings of Leon and Fleet Foxes with a “back to nature” look? What else goes with the wardrobe full of plaid shirts and hunting accessories we’ve all been collecting for the last half a decade?
Without going too deep into the specifics of the Behavioural Ecology journal, which has re-ignited the debate, cultivating all that fur seems to have been for naught. The journal’s researchers asked 127 New Zealand females and 100 ladies of Polynesian decent from Samoa for their opinions on the facial hair of 10 men each from their own race (apparently the island of Samoa hasn’t been all that westernised over the years, and produces good subjects in terms of those who haven’t been too influenced by western media views on beauty). Though the Samoan test subjects were more forgiving, on the whole, the study showed that beards are out.
The conclusions drawn were, as you’d expect, a hodge-podge of evolutionary theory (there was mention of the importance of lions’ manes at one point!), finding that, on the whole, beards merely “augment perceptions of men’s age, social status, and aggressiveness, but not attractiveness”.
On the totally non-scientific filpside however, having a chat with my female friends suggested that the blokes used as bearded/non-bearded examples in the study weren’t exactly Brad Pitt to begin with, which may go some way towards explaining why so few found the guys attractive in the first place.
Which compelled us to do a short study of our own. Called “Good Beard, Bad Beard” we’ve pulled together a handful of celebrities who, for better or worse, have donned or dashed facial hair over the course of their careers.
Scroll down for our verdict on their beardy looks!
Sir Ian McKellan
He’s Gandalf, man! That’s ALL GOOD BEARD.