Last year, an amusing study, conducted by researchers at the University of New South Wales, claimed to have conclusively found that “Women REALLY don’t like beards,” as it was reported in the Daily Mail.
The trials in questions involved 227 women who were asked to rate the beauty of a sample of men when they had just shaved and then again after 1.5 months of beard growing – no trimming allowed.
The shaven men beat their own bearded selves, even if only slightly.
However, the researchers, Barnaby Dixson and Robert Brooks, have now updated their findings to allow for a third state of male facial hair existence: stubble. In the journal, Evolution and Human Behavior, they contend that the more facial hair a man grew, the more “masculine” he was perceived to be by both men and women. But, long or bushy beards were still found less “attractive” by women. According to the study, women found men most attractive when they carried “heavy stubble.”
The researchers came up with a pop psychology meaning for the demonstrated preference. They argued that the men with heavy stubble, much like Goldilocks’ lukewarm porridge, were neither too hairy nor too bare faced. They appeared, as they put it, on the “threshold of masculinity.” “Indeed,” Dixson and Brooks note, “little is known regarding the socio-sexuality of men who typically choose to wear beards.”