Most women hate beards, but men insist on wearing them
Originally published at the New York Daily News in Aug. 2014
Beards — men love ’em. And women … not so much.
The distaff side won another battle in the age-old war against male fuzz this month when new Yankee pitcher Brandon McCarthy was forced to shave as a condition of joining the Bombers.
“I win,” his scruff-hating wife Amanda gloated on Twitter, dissing that “nasty thing” that once grew beneath her husband’s mouth.
The 80-character missive spoke for women everywhere. Sure, pop culture is filled with bearded men in exciting positions — the millionaires on “Duck Dynasty,” the occasional whiskers on Prince Harry, the Red Sox — but no matter what season of the year, a woman’s fancy turns to naked cheeks and chins.
“I hate beards and mustaches, my husband never had facial hair and I would never want him too,” says Michelle Virks, 40, who has been married for 20 years. “If he had it when we first started dating, I don’t know if we would have even made it this far.”
Andi Meyers, 26, has a similar distaste for beards, and constantly berates her boyfriend to shave.
“It is disgusting to hug and kiss a man with a beard,” she says.
Jase Robertson of TV’s “Duck Dynasty,” like most of the show’s male cast, sports a very full beard.
But if Freud’s question is answered — What do women want? Whatever it is, it ain’t covered in hair! — why do so many men continue to sport something that they know is pushing away the opposite sex?
Because men like themselves when they have beards — and they like the women who like them when they have beards.
“There are women who love beards and only seek men out with beards,” said Matt Rainwaters, author of “Beard: The Book.”
That said, the science is clear.
A seminal 1993 study found that women who looked at men with beards believed the wearers of facial hair to have lower “mental competence,” said the study’s author, John Krantz.
And when researchers from New Zealand and Canada showed 200 women pictures of the same 19 men with and without beards, the results clearly showed women prefer their men clean-shaven.
Of course, there is a big distance between “Fear the Beard” relief pitcher Brian Wilson and the “6 o’clock shadow” look of Don Johnson. That’s why Rainwaters advises restraint.
“If you approach bearding from a responsible standpoint, there is no reason you can’t find a happy medium,” he says.