Do Women Prefer Men With Beards?

A new and deadly serious study on beards is out. Canadian and Kiwi scientists asked Samoan and Kiwi women to judge the faces of men, both bearded and shorn. All the press coverage is focused on the result that women found the bearded men to be less "attractive", while the study itself seems to focus on the women finding the bearded men "to be older and ascribe them higher social status".

I suppose that this is important information in a divorce culture, when I might be expected to have to once again attract a mate when I'm 35. Meanwhile, I'ma keep rocking this thing.

From the study's abstract:
Women and men from both cultures judge bearded faces to be older and ascribe them higher social status than the same men when clean-shaven. Images of bearded men displaying an aggressive facial expression were also rated as significantly more aggressive than the same men when clean-shaven. Thus, the beard appears to augment the effectiveness of human aggressive facial displays. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the human beard evolved primarily via intrasexual selection between males and as part of complex facial communication signaling status and aggressiveness.

So the result seems to be that bearded men are more awesome. Like so many scientific studies, it took a lab and a small staff of beavering scientists to discover what is obvious prima facie to the rest of us.The Most Interesting Man in the World has a beard. Of course.

I have so many questions, which would perhaps be answered if I were willing to pay for a subscription to Behavioral Ecology, although of course, I am not. Questions like who did they ask? what did they ask? What did the single women say? what did the married women say? what did the women with kids say?

What does "attractive" mean?

So I thought I'd set up a completely unscientific survey for the ladies. Let's ask what women "prefer". I guess the study is telling us that all other things being equal, a woman would rather kiss a shaven man, but would rather hold the arm of a bearded man. I hope the phrasing in this survey, the results of which I will be sending to Oxford, help distill the question down to a "package deal". And I am confident the bearded package will rise triumphant.

(Women only, please.)

[polldaddy poll=6014153]


  1. My wonderful girlfriend prefers me avec-beard.

  2. Gee...people who read your blog won't be at all a skewed sample. ;-)

    I voted for bearded, but I just wanna say for the record that it's not a deal breaker!

  3. Note taken.

    I was actually disappointed to get a "no beard" vote. I was hoping to be able to claim that 100% of women prefer bearded men. Alas...

  4. Yeah, but it was probably someone who HAD to vote that way because her husband is follicularly challenged.

  5. I voted on behalf of my wife, not because I'm trying to skew the results in any way, but because I have only once in my married existence shaved my face clean. Upon seeing me, Heather screamed bloody murder, leaped into the air, hovered across the room to get away from me, and collapsed into a sobbing heap in the corner. I was not allowed within 6 feet of her until my beard returned (thank heavens for the Usain Bolt-like speed with which my beard grows!). In the interim, she generally referred to me as "Thumb", since the combination of a clean-shaven face and a bald head apparently lent me the resemblance of a giant opposable digit...

    I think I can safely register her preference.

  6. If I ever need to insult someone, I'll be busting out the phrase "giant opposable digit".

  7. My wife had me cast her vote. She loves the beard.

  8. [...] men. It’s the magic formula. This is a bite sized chunk. It is a bold offer. I am just guessing. There are several brand spankin’ new deal breakers in that area. That is an [...]

  9. Hmm... Obviously a bearded male is far superior but some men can't grow beards. We call them boys. I believe that the next social trend should be to grow what you got. Mustaches, goatees, or whatever you can muster.


  11. Heather is brilliant! Your wife really has a way with words.

  12. [...] because someone had “proven” that women are more attracted to men without beards. In this post I mentioned that the paper they cited got much less excited about things than the press did (big [...]


Post a Comment