Do you love beards? Have you ever felt your jaw swing open like a surprised, turned-on snake at the sight of a particularly fine face pelt? Have you ever cracked your skull open on a coffee table in a dead faint after having been exposed to Jon Hamm’s gorgeous chin warmer? I’m doing that shit like all the time! Since it’s a very, very, very important topic to me, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to why I love dudes with beards so much. These are my insights.
Beards are a visual reminder you are not accidentally sleeping with a child, and who doesn’t like that?
Look, some of a bearded man’s appeal is rooted in biology, but I’m not going to pretend it’s some kind of all-consuming Truth. Why are you and I so attracted to beards while other people could go either way? Why anything? Why chair? Why lamp? On the other hand, there’s a reason Justin Bieber has a smooth, hairless mug. The Bieb’s demo audience is young girls who are more inclined to swoon over boys who look like the hairless, baby-faced kids they crush on in real life than, say, Joe Mangianello sporting a salt-and-pepper lumberjack look. As a grown-ass 29-year-old woman, a man’s beard says to me, “I have fully completed puberty, and as such am prepared to breed.” This message is implicit, of course, because guys can’t be walking around saying it out loud on, say, a first date or at your coworker’s birthday party. It would be gauche. It just isn’t done.
A man who cares for his beard, cares in general.
A well-groomed jaw muff is sort of like a really nice suit or an adorable dog. A guy with any or all of these things can point to them and say, “See, this isn’t all scraggly and messed-up. I can take care of things!” Additionally, beyond the time and attention it takes to actually maintain one’s facial landscape, a healthy groomed beard conveys a basic message of bodily health that, for me, travels directly through my lizard-like brain stem and down into my persqueeter. I can only assume this goes back to when early humans were constantly dealing with parasites and insects and worms all the time. Some part of our brains still look at beards and think, “Hmmm, his body hair isn’t crawling with mites or affected by any sort of visible lesions. That’s pretty hot!” Of course, you always run the very small risk of admiring someone’s delightful beard, only to later find yourself confronted by open lesions or bug-infested pubic hair. But hey, no one ever said the road to romance was easy. Or not covered in open lesions.
Beards are the eyeliner for the face.
Just as a cat’s eye is different then an every day look, a man’s beard can be styled a dozen different ways. Or, if you live in Bushwick, hundreds of thousands of ways. A man reconfiguring his beard is like he’s giving himself a built-in makeover. The beard can gift a man a chin, make him look like your dad, make him look like Jafar from Aladdin (a look which would also require the use of actual eyeliner), you name it! Damn, have you ever seen a man with a beard wearing eyeliner? Good god. Someone better move the coffee table before I get started down that road.
Beards are magic.
Perhaps most intriguingly to a non-beard haver, beards are constantly in flux, even when they aren’t being consciously trimmed down. If you were to stare at a man’s face all day, you would probably be asked to leave the DMV. You would also see his stubble slowly emerge from his skin as if by magic. But it’s not magic! It’s that sandwich he ate for lunch being turned into fuel to grow hair out of his chin. When you think about it, beards are basically an ever-changing shadow constantly shifting across a man’s face. Which: cool.
Beards are a cold weather treat.
It’s entirely possible this is just the guys I happen to know, in the climate I happen to live in, but a lot of my male friends and exes shave off their beards during the hottest summer months. As a result, I’ve personally come to associate beards with pumpkins, scarves, and layers upon layers of blankets, which is a better connotation than sweaty pits, chafed thighs and the heat death of the tri-state area.
Beards sometimes make guys look friendlier.
Lumberjack and Paul Bunyan connotations aside, I feel like guys with beards often look friendlier. Maybe it softens their faces? Maybe they look like they might be more relaxed about body hair, which is always a plus? Maybe it’s just because my dad had a beard? Oh I went there. Your dad had a beard too. Don’t front.
Terrible beards are the scourge of the earth.
The final and perhaps least important reason beards give me and people like me that lower stomach lightening is because behind every beard lurks the possibility of a truly heinous facial disaster. For example, what would Guy Fieri look like if he didn’t have a goatee with a bleach blonde strip down the center? He would still look like an absurd turd burglar, but maybe less so? To use another example, an overgrown, bushy prospector beard can imply that a man is a rebel, or it can imply that he is the guy who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart.
Body images via Veer
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