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Looking for a Strong Relationship? Grow a Beard

beaded man black and white

For the past few years, it seems like you can’t throw a stick without hitting a swath of bearded gentlemen. Once touted as a fleeting hipster trend, the beard made it’s comeback and seems to have stuck around. According to recent research, there might be a scientific explanation for the continuing popularity of the beard: a lot of women find it very attractive.

A recent study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology found that women perceive men with full beards as more desirable for long-term relationships.

To arrive at this conclusion, researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia asked 8,520 women to look at a number of photos of men, and provide ratings for physical attractiveness.

The images of men were orchestrated to include a full range of facial hair length, from clean-shaven to full-on beard. Facial features such as cheekbones and jawlines were altered to make their appearance more or less masculine.

Interestingly enough, participants in the study rated feminine faces as being less attractive than unaltered faces when both were clean-shaven. Faces with extremely masculine or extremely feminine features were judged as being the least sexy.

While fully bearded faces were judged as more attractive for long-term relationships, men with stubble, on the other hand, were viewed as a better bet among women looking for a short-term fling. In other words, if you’re looking for something serious, it might be worth it to grow a beard and tap into your inner Seth Rogan. However, if keeping things casual is your priority, you might have better luck growing out your stubble a la David Beckham.

But for some people, beards just aren’t their thing – myself included.

Personally speaking, I’ve reached what I like to call “peak beard.” While I don’t mind a bit of stubble (as long as it doesn’t feel like I’m cuddling a piece of sandpaper), if I see another guy with facial hair reminiscent of a Civil War general, I might scream. There are so many men in my local dating pool who are rocking the urban lumberjack look that I’ve dubbed my favorite dating app Timber. 

Beards used to be considered brave, unique and edgy. Now, they’re the norm. If you’re clean shaven, you stand out – in a good way.

So, what kind of brave hairdo should you rock if beards aren’t your thing, but you still want to capture women’s attention? Easy: go bald.

According to a new study by Dr. Frank Muscarella at Barry University in Florida, going bald (or just shaving all your hair off) is actually one of the greatest things that can happen to your love life. Apparently, bald men are perceived as more intelligent, dominant, and overall sexier than men who have a full head of hair – a perfect explanation as to why some of us find guys like Jason Statham and Maharshala Ali (a part-time bald dude) totally irresistible.

In his study, Muscarella and his team asked participants to rate a selection of men based on four categories: physical attractiveness, aggressiveness, appeasement, and social maturity, which included traits like honesty, intelligence, and social status.

What he discovered: generally speaking, people perceive bald men as more honest, intelligent, and dominant, which are all traits you want in a long-term partner.

Although bald men were perceived as very slightly less attractive than their full haired peers, there are other factors that help balance that out.

For example, women found bald men to be more socially dominant, a positive thing apparently. As Muscarella told the Daily Mail,  “Studies have shown baldness in men is seen as a non-threatening form of social dominance. There is a large body of literature that shows that, although women like physically attractive men, they are also very attracted to signs of high social dominance.”

Just some food for thought for those of us out there who are bearded out.

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