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Wmb Why bearded men make the best husbands; Bu ut not hipsters, and definitely not Leo DiCaprio.

Byline: ASHLEIGH RAINBIRD

Afew months before my wedding, my husband-to-be merrily plonked himself down in the living room, with a broad smile stretched across his freshly shaven face.

I was horrified. "What have you done?" I demanded, with a scowl.

James had, he explained, decided to remove the face fur he had been cultivating for the six years we had been together - in fact, ever since I had encouraged him to grow it.

He wanted to see if he should expose his facial features on our wedding day, given his image on that day would be immortalised in family albums.

As handsome as he is - and he really is handsome - the answer was definitely NO, which stands FUR-EVER & Ashleigh's to reason now that researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia have discovered that women prefer to marry men with beards.

A study of 8,520 women showed that clean-shaven men appear less attractive to the opposite sex, while the handsome hirsute fellas prove popular, for those looking for long-term relationships.

And blokes with stubble fare better for a fling, apparently.

This makes total sense. Not only are beards an outward display of masculinity and virility, they also serve as an important coming of age milestone for a man's face.

There are two distinctive phases of beard development - when a man can first grow a beard, and when he should.

When wispy little whiskers start to poke out during puberty, a lot of boys go full steam ahead and attempt to cultivate a chin crop. But - just so you all know - that is a surefire repellant to the opposite sex.

James big day In adulthood, there comes a time when a man just starts to look more ruggedly handsome with a bit of a beard. At that point, they become marriage material.

It's not a modern phenomenon, despite the recent popularity of the beard.

According to a study by the aptly named biopsychologist Dr Nigel Barber, when e are fewer females in the British riage market, beards come back into on as desperate men try to woo a wife. his 2015 book, Of Beards and Men: Revealing History of Facial Hair, Chriser Oldstone-Moore says they first me popular as a style statement in , when Charles Darwin and Abraham oln gave them a bit of street cred. ut fashions come and go, and Vice azine - the bastion of hipster etiquette there marr fashio In The R toph becam 1850, Linco Bu maga - published a typically sardonic article titled "Beards aren't cool any more" back in April, after the Wall Street Journal said 67% of men in New York were wearing one.

This should have come as a relief to proper beardies, because nothing has done them more disservice than the lumbersexuals with Rasputin-length face fuzz. Because married men, who, let's face it, don't need to try to be cool any more, can transcend trends and let their face fur flourish. Just look at Brad Pitt, 52, and George Clooney, 55, who have been hiding those chiselled Hollywood jawlines ever since they got married to Angelina Jolie and Amal Alamuddin respectively.

A sexy bit of stubble will snare a woman, with the Queensland survey revealing that women find the five-o-clock shadow to be the most attractive look. But for the long term, stubble rash is a deal-breaker.

A well-groomed, coiffured, conditioned and beard-oiled face has a pretty pleasant feel, and the modern man is adept at keeping it nice and tidy, not leaving it unruly, like Brian Blessed.

The Valet barbers, in Croydon, offers an epic PS35 styling treatment for "weightier beards", including a geranium gel soak, a camphor oil wax and an application of sandalwood beard oil accompanied by a cold blow dry, to set the styling.

Which sounds like a bit of a faff, but shaving every day is pretty time-consuming. And, apparently, bad for the psyche. US psychologist Robert Pellegrini, claims that "inside every clean-shaven man there is a beard screaming to be let out".

But, just occasionally, that screaming beard bloke should stay inside.

There is always an anomaly, and Leonardo DiCaprio looks absolutely terrible with a beard.

Leo, 41, has even admitted it feels "like a Brillo pad" despite his best conditioning attempts, which probably explains why he is a perpetual bachelor.

And, of course, there are women who buck the trends. Victoria Beckham once saw a picture of David sporting a full face hedge and messaged him: "There's no way I'm kissing you unless you shave that off."

Auntie doesn't seem keen on beards either. Jeremy Paxman, 66, accused the BBC of pogonophobia, a fear of beards, when he decided not to remove a summer's growth for his return to Newsnight in 2013.

He said: "Unless you're lucky enough to be Uncle Albert on Only Fools And Horses, Demis Roussos or Abu Hamza, the BBC is generally as pogonophobic as the latelamented Albanian dictator, Enver Hoxha." Hoxha had outlawed beards in Albania during the 1970s.

But for me, and most women, facial fuzz is the distinguishing mark of a gent worth marrying.

And, fortunately, my husband James's beard returned to form at an incredibly fast rate, so we didn't have to delay our wedding to wait for the regrowth.

ashleigh.rainbird@mirror.co.uk Alasdhair Willis Facial hair is always in fashion in wife Stella McCartney's eyes Brad Pitt Actor is clearly wife Angelina Jolie's hair-o.

Tom Hardy Wife Charlotte Riley is wild over Revenant star Joshua Sasse Kylie's not always been so lucky in love, but her fiance looks the part David Beckham Trimmed is OK, but Posh drew line at a bushy beard Kit Harington Game of Thrones star's rugged look snared co-star Rose Leslie George Clooney Lawyer Amal has clearly made a case for George staying hirsute

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 15, 2016
Words:971
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