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If You’re Ready to Commit, Grow a Beard

Women think it means you’ll have a baby and stick around

Ladies have been parsing male behavior for eons trying to discern when the cab light is on and you’re ready to settle down. Signs include: listing her as your emergency contact, getting a pet together, talking to her parents on your own without being forced to, and telling her private shit. However, a new study has cut the work down to something as simple as grooming: Growing a beard is a signal to a woman that you’re good to go on the parenting/long-term commitment front.

We know this because researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia asked nearly 9,000 women to play hot-or-not with pictures of dudes with no facial hair, light stubble (five days’ growth), heavy stubble (10 days’ growth), or a full, luscious beard. They all rated pictures of the same guys, just with different facial hair growth. And they had to rate them three ways: fuck, marry or kill. Kidding: General hotness, one-night stand, or long-term love.

Even though women rated the facial hair based on what they were looking for in a relationship (and, presumably, individual physical preferences for facial hair), generally speaking, for overall sexiness, heavy stubble was considered the most generally attractive. Next after that was light stubble. No facial hair or a full beard was the least attractive in the overall sexiness category. But! And here’s the thing that matters: Scruff (light stubble) was what the ladies wanted for a one-night lay, and beards were what they wanted for going the distance.

Now you know, and you also know that knowing is follicularly important. Of course, maintaining heavy stubble at all times takes some effort. As does shifting into beard growth when you meet the one. All this hinges on your ability to grow facial hair in the first place. But assuming you can, this is all still easier than getting a pet.