I saw an article in The Guardian recently.
It was in an article titled “Have We Reached Peak Beard?”
The University of New South Wales carried out research on men’s beards.
It was conducted amongst hundreds of heterosexual, and homosexual, men and women.
The results showed that the attractiveness of beards was almost wholly dependent on context.
The fewer beards there were around, the more unusual, and consequently attractive, they appeared.
The more beards there were around, the more common, and consequently less attractive, they appeared.
The research assumed the entire process started when everyone was clean-shaven.
Someone wanted to appear different, so they grew a beard.
Someone else liked the way they stood out by being different, so they grew a beard too.
Some other people saw these beards and liked the way they stood apart.
They wanted to show they were different too.
So they grew beards.
Soon, the fashionable way to stand out and be different was to grow a beard.
So everyone grew beards.
And it wasn’t different anymore.
Now it was conformist.
And the reason for growing them disappeared.
They called this point “Peak Beard”.
The point at which the parabolic curve stops going upward and starts going downward.
The summary of the research findings was as follows:
“We discovered that, when people are confronted by a succession of bearded men, clean-shaven men become more attractive to them.
This process also works in reverse, with men with heavy stubble and full beards judged more attractive when present in a sea of clean-shaven men.
The more beards the group had already seen, the less attractive subsequent beards were, and vice versa with clean-shaven men.
This phenomenon is called “negative frequency-dependent sexual selection” and is present in several animal species.
It appears that beards gain an advantage when rare, but when they are in fashion and common, they are declared trendy and that attractiveness is over.”
So something that’s unusual stands out more, so it’s more attractive.
But something that’s common doesn’t stand out, so it isn’t attractive.
So being different is a good thing.