The beard has been sprouting up on everyone from hipsters to rugged royal Prince Harry. But apparently, it’s not exactly the look of love.
Shaving giant Gillette’s research shows that women aren’t falling head-over-heels for those fashionable follicles, with 93 percent of U.K. women preferring clean-shaven men. Yes, chaps, we’re in stubble trouble with the missus.
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Oxford University psychology expert Rafael Wlodarski explains why bearded men face a hairy dilemma.
Is the beard killing a man’s love life?
[Laughs] Potentially, but it doesn’t have to.
Are you clean-shaven?
I have a very small underbeard.
So why haven’t you taken heed of your own advice?
My wife prefers me to be clean-shaven, which is similar to what the Gillette research has found. But for me, it’s a looks-versus-sensation thing – and she’s not too impressed with a mustache.
You mention that kissing can act as an intimate method to judge the desirability of a partner. Is this a kind of try-before-you-buy technique?
Yeah, it seems like it. Our research states that females are typically more selective when it comes to relationships. The most likely reason that kissing is important is down to pheromones. The initial kiss gets you close enough to make a subconscious assessment of whether a person is compatible with you and whether you want to continue this relationship.
Is it fine to have a beard once you’re in an established relationship?
Once a relationship is considered established, kissing seems to be associated with relationship quality, so anything that interferes with that is not an ideal situation.
I know a lot of women who find stubble and beards attractive, so is this not a case of women saying one thing and wanting another?
These are two different things. It’s attractiveness from a distance versus the sensation of partaking in a kiss. There are multiple things going on and they can conflict. It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons.
You also say that skin-to-skin contact is important. Does an Eskimo kiss work just as well? What are the alternatives?
An Eskimo kiss always works very well in the early stages of a relationship. The Eskimo kiss involves deeply inhaling the scent of another – it’s one of the most popular forms of kissing around the world.
What are the other skin-to-skin alternatives?
Any kind of hugging, holding hands or cuddling can release neurohormones. But a kiss on the lips is more sensitive and it’s the most efficient method of getting an extreme amount of intimate contact in a very simple package.