They’re stylish, manly, and the look that just won’t go away – but just why do men grow beards?
It has often been assumed that facial hair is designed to attract women, but the truth could be somewhat different – ask any sample group of the female population, and you’re sure to get mixed answers. The beard may be popular with those who love the warm and fuzzy look, but the smooth feel of freshly-shaven skin is equally – if not more – appealing to many.
So if it’s not about the ladies, then just what is going on here – and why do men possess the natural ability to grow a beard or moustache?
As it turns out, it could be down to good old male rivalry – and not only that, but the natural born urge to procreate.
Now, we’re not saying that every man out there is in a hurry to settle down and start a family, but men are naturally driven to seek out the opportunity to do so – whether they realise it, or not. And being attractive alone is not enough to be in with a chance – you also have to compete with the same sex for the chance.
Studies have repeatedly shown that both sexes perceive men with beards to be stronger and more mature than their clean-shaven counterparts – including the smooth-skinned themselves. So, it seems, the bearded man may also be perceived as the dominant male, thus affording him more mating opportunities thanks to his unwitting intimidation of rivals!
Hardly surprising, when you think about it, with men being the naturally competitive species that they are. On average, men are more likely to think that their bodies should be more muscular than women are, proving that men compare themselves to their peers rather than concerning themselves with what the opposite sex really think! Another case of survival of the fittest? It very much looks that way!
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Top image: Hair by Braid Barbers. Photography by Robert Braid