Fiona Macrae:

It is a finding that Brad Pitt might do best to take on the chin: women don’t find beards attractive. Men were rated more highly when they shaved their beards off, a study found. Being bearded also made them seem older and more aggressive. But there is some good news for gents who are fond of their facial hair – having a beard commands respect, particularly from other males.

Fine with me. Let the naysayers have their irrelevant opinions so long as they fear me. I even prefer wearing sunglasses as much as possible to create extra tension. For God’s sake, dear, avert your eyes! You can’t see what he’s looking at! You don’t know what he’s thinking, his face all swathed in mystery like that! He might snap at any moment!

But let us move away from the realm of idiosyncratic taste to the objective territory of science:

Science gives us various theories as to why men are able to grow beards, from protecting the delicate facial skin from sunlight to buffering blows to the jaw in a fight.

Two questions. One, women’s facial skin isn’t susceptible to the damaging effects of UV light? And two, has any man outside of a Chuck Norris joke ever grown such a magnificent bramble patch upon his face that it could absorb punches? This is something I would surely like to see.

It is even suggested that a beard is a sign of a strong immune system. The theory goes that disease-carrying parasites thrive in body hair and so if a man can sport a beard without getting ill, he must be extra healthy.

This is true; my immune system is so strong that it started beating itself up for want of any viruses or bacteria worthy of posing a true challenge. Still, this slanderous association of hair with disease is, unfortunately, all too typical of the propaganda you’d expect from Big Electrolysis. Those bastards won’t rest until all men look like giant walking thumbs.

I have severe reservations about the methodology here, though: this study defined a “full beard” as six weeks of growth with no trimming. No trimming? I’m sorry, what kind of clinical depressives or barbaric hill folk are we talking about here? Is this really representative of the population? I trim mine every week! I daresay any fellow who lets his beard grow that wild and unruly encounters more wildlife than human females in a given day, or he’s simply given up on life altogether.