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Clean-Shaven? Bearded? Stubble? What do Women Want?

Growing stubble is like reinventing the light bulb! Growing stubble is like reinventing the light bulb!

There was a time when a full beard was a sign of a man’s virility. Then everything shifted, and the clean-shaven look reigned supreme. Now beards seem to be creeping back - but a lot of them get stuck halfway. Is the scruffy, unshaven, perpetual three-day-shadow look the new ‘norm’?


In a UK study, researchers asked women to rate a series of photographs of a group of men in various stages of facial hair growth. The in-between look (light to heavy stubble) was ranked most highly as the choice for a short or long term sexual relationship, while clean-shaven men were viewed as less mature and fully bearded men ranked last on the sex appeal scale.

Actors have reflected this trend for the last decade, with many of the sexiest stars trading in carefully shaven cheeks for manly stubble. Among those famous for their shadowed cheeks are big screen stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Robert Downey Jr., Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp, as well as Ben Affleck, Ashton Kutcher, Matthew Fox (LOST) and the dynamic duo from Grey’s Anatomy - Patrick Dempsey (otherwise known as McDreamy) and Eric Dane.

But do the ladies really like the feel of stubble? Actor James Marsters has trouble believing it. Asked what it was like to kiss gay co-star John Barrowman on the British sci-fi series Torchwood, James commented wryly:

“Personally, I’ve started shaving a LOT more carefully. Honestly, ladies, I don’t know how you do it… Guys, shave UP.”

The UK study didn’t ask one of the most important questions - how does it feel to get kissed by a guy with stubble? Plenty of US woman are willing to weigh in on that note, with the majority agreeing that it depends on several factors. Here are some tips straight from the ladies: we find your stubble adorable - but not when it hurts us!

  1. The first three to five days are the worst. Be very polite kissers, and as much as we love it when you go ‘down there’ - don’t. We’ll give you a week’s free pass.
  2. Conditioner isn’t just for the hair on your head, dude. If you expect to rub that lovely face of yours on ours, you’ll be doing everything you can to make it feel soft and sexy. Lather up, man.
  3. Brush it. No, seriously, get a short bristled soft brush and spend a minute making sure all the pointy bits are pointing the same way. It makes all the difference in the world.
  4. Kiss your arm. I know, you just went What?? Come on, boys, test drive that stubble. We are not guinea pigs.
  5. Ask if it hurts. Don’t assume the little squeaks and squeals we are making are good ones. Don’t give up hope, though; if you’re still a few days away from kissable, try going for the side of our neck - it’s a lot more forgiving and every bit as erogenous.

Bottom line: we find your rugged facial hair manly and endearing - but you have to tame the beast. Stubble doesn’t have to be a pain if you make an effort. Just ask yourself - would YOU like to kiss a hedgehog?

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Johnny Depp--perhaps the most unkempt facial hair in history!
Last modified on Thursday, 18 October 2012 18:57

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