Stubble: The Best of Both Worlds

Photo: time.com
 Stubble: The Best of Both Worlds

Women love the five o'clock shadow, says a new study.

Call it the new mullet. The in-between facial-hair grooming trend look has women swooning, according to a new study reported in The Telegraph.

Stubble is more attractive to women clean-shaven faces or full beards, finds a new study from Northumbria University that will be published in the journal "Personality and Individual Differences."

How exactly, was this determined? Women ages 18 to 44 were shown images of men. Those with clean-shaven looks "finished bottom for masculinity, dominance, aggression, and social maturity, and they were the least favored choice as a long-term partner. They came second-to-last for attractiveness." Evolutionary biologists link this to a signal of sexual immaturity.

And how would Grizzly Adams fare? "Faces with full beards were judged to be the most masculine, aggressive and socially mature. They were also thought to look five years older. They were rated the least attractive and the worst choice for a short-term relationship." Poor guy!


And the winner is…stubble by a landslide. Take a little sexual maturity from the facial hair, but scale it back a bit so there's not so aggressive–and you've got George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

Semi-unrelated side note–but fascinating: "The explanation for the preference is not clear, but experts in human evolution say that that facial hair may be a signal of aggression because it boosts the apparent size of the lower jaw, emphasizing the teeth as weapons."

Wow. Forget knives, guns, and other weapons. I guess I want a guy who can tear into someone for real. Not sure about that one. Mike Tyson? Uh, not so much.

Ok, back to the topic: Who would you choose? Clooney with stubble (above)–or without (below)? Exactly.