Straight women who don’t fancy men with beards might be put off because of a fear of lice, fleas and other debris – and we’re blaming Roald Dahl’s The Twits.
This bizarre study, by the University of Stirling and University of Queensland, found women who don’t go for beards are also more likely to be repulsed by lice, fleas, ticks and other ectoparasites. And the scientists reckon the link stems from “our evolutionary past”.
“In modern times, with increased grooming and overall better hygiene, this link between hairiness and carrying ectoparasites may no longer exist, but the evolved tendency may still persist,” noted researchers.
But we’re wondering if some of the 919 women surveyed were just scarred from reading about Mr Twit as a child, who famously has a bushy beard full “of disgusting left-over food like sardines, cheese and cornflakes”.
The researchers landed upon their conclusion by asking women to rank the attractiveness of different faces, some bearded, some clean-shaven. Women were also shown images of ectoparasites, such as lice, and quizzed about their level of fear or disgust.
Despite the mind-boggling bug finding, men with beards can breath a sigh of relief. The study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, found the hipster beard is still popular with the opposite sex.
When asked to rate the attractiveness of different faces, women still ranked men with beards more highly overall than clean-shaven men.
Just remember to keep the beards clean, lads.
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