Studies have shown beards equates to age, masculinity and dominance, and they are so hot right now! Or are they? A new study in the World Society Journal Biology letters will affect men from Brooklyn to San Francisco, from Portland to maybe Austin. The more beards there are, the less attractive beards are.
The study in biology letters found that once the number of beards peaked, clean shaving faces become more attractive to the ladies.
The study showed women pictures of men with and without facial hair, and when a clean shaved man was shown among lots of stubbly and bearded peeps, their freshly showing skin was a glow with attractiveness. Conversely in a sea of baby faces, bearded men were king. Are the ladies picky or is there something else at work?
The researchers determined that a famous bearded gent was to blame. Darwin’s theory of evolutionary sexual selection says females choose those males with the most desirable features, i.e. physique, intelligence, etc. But they’re not sure how they decide. Obviously we want the best genes to perpetuate and the crappy ones left out, but how do people know which are the good genes?
Scarcity my friends. This study finally revealed a long time evolutionary problem. Those who grow outside of the mainstream, who are rare or unique, are thought to have a genetic edge.
For example, people with blond hair and population of brunettes, fatter people and skinny populations, tall people amongst shorties, vice versa and so on. Scarcity equates to attractiveness.
The researchers use the example of guppies, which is such a good hipster comparison. In guppies, the fish with the most colorful patterns had the most mating success. Do they have the “best” genes? Maybe. The lady fish don’t know. The main thing here is they are different…and different is cool. You can also think of the “closing time effect.”
A study in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology found that at the end of a night out, people take stock of their patrons and assess attractiveness based on whose like, left at the bar. We determine attractiveness by who’s around, not just by genes and uniqueness alone.
Remember that week-long high school trip to Seattle where you bunked in with Jessie because Jessie was the hottest one on the bus? What happened when you got back home? Bye Jessie because there are other hotties around.
So to bring this article back to beards, we are hitting “beard peak,” where the novelty of a man with facial hair has lost its unusual quality however, it’s important to mention that there are different levels of beardedness.
The researchers in biology letters used four distinct levels: clean shaved, light stubble, heavy stubble, and full beard. A lumberjack in Brooklyn would be unique to the bushier Portland and thus perhaps, scarce. And thus hottie! Overall a lot of news is claiming that those men who shave are going to get the attention, for now. The beard struggle is real everyone.