So You Say You Hate Facial Hair? (Secretly, You Like It.)

A study shows that no matter how much we chicks claim to hate facial hair--and *I* certainly do--we actually find it really sexy.


A few months ago, I found myself smooching a man who had a full beard. It wasn't long, but it did cover every bit of his flesh below nose-level. "You know, I don't dig on facial hair." He wanted to know why. "For one thing," I said, "I have NO idea what you look like under there. You could be hiding a small child beneath your chin, for all I know. What's more, I have very sensitive skin, and I've actually started to bleed in the past, thanks to a few reprobates with too much scruff." (100% the truth.) The kissing bandit pointed out his beard was very soft; he invited me to stroke it; he was right. So I was like, Ah, what the hell, and we kept smooching.

Now, if you asked me today, I'd still say I hate beards. But apparently while most women would agree with me, we secretly love the Grizzly Adams look, as a study by Robert Pelligrini at San Jose State University found. When ladies were shown photos of men in different stages of hair growth—a John Doe fully bearded, same John Doe with moustache and goatee, with moustache alone, John clean-shaven—they rated the fully bearded men as the most attractive, mature, confident, dominant, courageous and creative. As each man got progressively less hairy, the women lowered their ratings. Researchers theorized that the women were subconsciously responding to the fact that facial hair signals high levels of testosterone.*

Hair, Facial hair, People, Hairstyle, Eye, Social group, Moustache, Beard, Style, Brick,

(Image credit: Local Natives)

I'll also admit that the guys in one of my favorite new bands--Local Natives**--have

made me re-consider the whole hairy-man issue. Mostly Taylor Rice (who

does vocals and plays guitar) the all the way to the left--the one who

looks a tiny bit like Salvador Dali, or a highway patrolman from the

70's. I have to say that I find his incredibly thick moustache almost

unbearably sexy. That prominent Adam's Apple might also have something to do with it.




-Secret Agent, I think you were smart to stay in. First off, you wouldn't have been at your best. Secondly, maybe the dude would've been annoyed that you were spreading your germs to him. Don't beat yourself up.

-Rob: you know I was talking about YOU in #2. (Although I am suspicious of Eckhart Tolle, etc. )

-Rina: Report back! Let us know what happens.


*The study is cited in Judy Dutton's 2009 book, How We Do It: How the Science of Sex Can Make You a Better Lover.

**These guys do the kind of vocal harmonies that Vampire Weekend is known

for, but their music--like their moustaches--is quite masculine, in a

good way: a bit tougher, a bit grittier and a lot more soulful than

squeaky-clean (but of course very talented) VW.