My stance on facial hair? Keep it, but keep it under control. If Brad Pitt can't pull off the full beard—remember the dark, hairy days of the first half of 2010?—then neither can most men.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but it seems most women agree with me, if the results of a recent survey are any indication. Recently polled by dating site Gorgeous Networks, women agree that beards and mustaches were their top two turn-offs (followed by pierced ears, combovers, and cowboy boots). 5 Fashion Trends Men Hate
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What does science have to say about this? Turns out, we can blame our preferences on evolution. One study tells us that the facial hair sweet spot is stubble or a light beard—and that a clean-shaven face is just as undesirable as a full beard. The study, carried out at Northumbria University, asked 76 women to judge men's faces on masculinity, aggression, dominance, attractiveness, age, and social maturity. The men's facial hair situation fell in one of five categories: clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble, light beard and full beard. "This indicates that females are not selecting faces displaying relatively high or low masculinity, but are rather preferring males who are clearly mature—post-pubertal—but not too masculinised," the researchers write. Stubble: The Best of Both Worlds
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Admittedly, the thinking behind my personal preference isn't quite that evolved—I just appreciate a nice jawline and find that a bushy beard makes me suspicious of what's going on underneath all of those face pubes—but that logic makes sense. Smooth-as-a-baby's-bottom lacks any edgy sexual appeal, but a beard long enough to braid gives men a distinctly unhinged aesthetic.
The bad news? We still need to get the guys on board: 75 percent of men say that sporting facial hair makes them feel more attractive to women, while 68 percent going as far as saying they thought their beards gave them more personality. We say, if you have to dig through a dude's chin 'fro to find his personality, it's time to look elsewhere.