In Praise Of Beards

Apparently 60% of women in an Australian survey prefer dudes with facial hair. They may be onto something.

Women aren't the only ones who prefer hairy faces — Australian men attribute all kinds of virtues to their beards (reaching for synonyms, ANI comes up with "chin rugs," which I can bring myself to use only in quotation marks). Seventy-five percent of men said a beard made them feel more attractive, 76% said it made them more interesting, and 68% thought it gave them more personality. This last, especially, seems like a stretch, and of course the beard can be misused. But it also has its virtues.

For a long time, I was deeply anti-beard. My argument — and I still think this is a good one — was that I liked dudes' faces, and I wanted to see them. Lately, though, I've realized that beards have a unique effect — they make men seem nicer. Beards soften the jawline, they recall memories of Santa Claus, and they make the guys see him appealingly low-maintenance — remember, Patrick Bateman spent a lot of time on his shaving routine. Of course, most clean-shaven guys are not serial killers, and a beard is a good way to alter your appearance when you're on the lam — but these days when I see facial hair, I think less "something to hide" and more "charming country-rock balladeer."

Of course, you can still go way wrong with facial hair — inexplicably, coverage of the Australian study says "women also think styled facial hair means you are wilder in the bedroom." Does this mean Aussie ladies are taking home men with waxed mustachios in hopes of a good time? Guys with piratical braided beards? Australian preferences aside, I think we can all agree that soul patches are creepy, goat-beards are ugly, and a mustache alone usually means you're an asshole, especially if you're under thirty. A nice, normal, unstyled beard, though, says, "in the time I saved not shaving, I wrote you this song about an old schoolhouse." You know: nice.

Aussie Men With Facial Hair 'Have More Sex' [ANI, via Sify.com]