After reading the question on female body hair, it occurred to me that the matter of male facial hair is similarly rooted in culture. While there are certainly many women who find male facial hair attractive, it seems that the majority of women prefer their men to be clean-shaven, or at the very least, without a thick beard. Naturally, this plays into what men do (i.e. they shave because they want to be seen as attractive).
Since facial hair is natural on men, however, why don't most women find it attractive? Shouldn't the norm be to find facial hair attractive, and the exception to prefer shaved faces?
I like both, with beards and without. A really messy beard is off-putting in the beginning but if I was already with a guy and he let his facial hair go crazy I wouldn't care. Kind of like you're less likely to hook up with a blind date if you show up with bed-head, but they'll see you with it later and it won't matter then.
By the way, a lot of the signals that say "bad mating partner" to primitive people are not as necessary now because we have better technology to know what's going on. For instance, we're educated enough to know that just because someone's face isn't perfect doesn't mean they don't have good genes. Facial development depends HUGELY on prenatal and early childhood nutrition. I tend to agree with the Weston Price folks that there's no reason for any human face not to look at least pleasant if not downright beautiful. If a person is ugly, something went wrong with them along the way. Doesn't say anything about their DNA code though. Your best defense, if you snag someone who isn't model material and you have kids with them, is to ensure your offspring are as well-nourished as possible from pre-conception onward.
Paleo as a defense against teh ugly? Maybe. That's what the evidence seems to say.
This is an interesting thought--the one issue that comes to mind for me, though, is that lack of facial hair makes more of the face visible, and there are several facial features (e.g., symmetry, jaw breadth, etc) that are reliably linked to genetic fitness, and thus predict attractiveness. So maybe this has something to do with the preference for clean-shaven men--they're more "transparent." ...?
This begs the question of hairstyle in general. I've already stated that I find women shaving bizarre, but I'm so used to bare-faced men that I don't blink an eye, and I don't have a strong preference, either. As for head hair, it's amazing that I don't find the vast array of hairstyles noticeably weird either -- in fact I quite like to see the diversity.
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