Donna Kim-Brand

Beards – Women Tend to Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em

The famous line about the month of March, “in like a lion out like a lamb”, somehow makes me think of hair flying in the wind… and in this case, men’s facial hair. That’s why in the next two Hairchatter blog posts, we will talk about facial hair.
Beards, like uniforms, do get noticed, and tend to divide people into two distinct camps: love ‘ems or hate ‘ems.

Naysayers have a range of rationales for their dislike, claiming:

·        Beards are, to quote one avid cynic in Elle Magazine, “an evolutionary LIE. They lend masculinity to the weak-chinned, gravitas to the inconsequential, and ruggedness to the totally useless…. Men who look significantly better with beards should have to carry around a small card to warn you that your male children will be unattractive until they hit puberty.” Ouch!

·        Beards, to quote another hater, “make men look like vagrants—and that’s an undesirable trait in a man.”

·        If men can only grow a “patchy, desperate jowl jacket, …it seems scratchy and overwrought”, claims another doubter. “There’s nothing effortless about a perfect beard. That sucker takes work”, she continues.

·        Then there are those women averse to ‘scratchy face’ syndrome and ‘breakfast on display’ disdain. They’d rather keep their distance than end up with beard rash or secondary food offerings from too close contact with a bearded partner.

Here a bearded guy weighs in: “If you are a man with a beard and you can’t build something or fix things with your own two hands, then shave… You should stop trying to look like a man since you apparently can’t act like one.” Oooh,…I say, do ya think he has a point of view?!

I know for myself, until my post-Army-officer-son sculpted his newly grown laissaz-faire facial hair, he did look like the Abominable Snowman. Ok, fair enough, he had just spent a few weeks climbing to Mt. Everest base camp. But I felt that look didn’t showcase his chiseled facial features and welcoming demeanor, and secretly hoped that he would come to his senses and shape it up or shave it off! It wasn’t anti-beard, just pro- his best look- and “that beardy look” wasn’t it! (IMHO – in my humble opinion)

But, of course, there’s the flip-side to those arguments! Plenty of women swoon and think of beards as nothing short of manly and sexy incarnate – though interestingly the sentiment sweeps through pegging beards as sheer suaveness (think George Clooney), wholesome, handy woodsman (Think Duck Dynasty), or total badass (maybe Sons of Anarchy actor Charlie Dunnam as Jax Teller comes to mind?)   Here’s what those women are saying:

·        “There is something sexy about a dude rocking serious facial hair: it’s bohemian, free-spirited, and masculine.“

·        “Nothing is creepier than a guy with a clean-shaven face—like he’s going to try to sell me some stocks…Who wants a pretty boy who has to spend all that time in the bathroom?”

·        “Beards are also fun to scratch while you’re laying on the couch watching TV together.”

·        “Beards remind me of all things masculine and strong, even if the man wearing it is neither of those things. It’s a longing that’s been cultivated over years of watching movies with insanely sexy leading men wearing them.”

Beards are also making a come-back in the boardroom, where they were once forbidden as too maverick and contrarian. Perhaps it’s that the workplace is becoming more casual, or that rugged individualism is being embraced in the form of swashbuckling or bourgeois beards.

In any case, the trend towards male facial hair is here for now, until the pendulum
swings back again… as it has… every few decades.

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