Beards are intimidating

If he could intimidate other males [or wild predators] into backing off or away, he could win the female of his plots and dreams, either by demonstrating his capacity to dominate other males and therefore protect his mate, by simply terrifying or subduing her into compliance or by impress her by deterring predators. In equalitarian, monogamous democracies, beards haven’t fared as well. Since them, no president, candidate or nominee has sported a full beard.

In the entire history of the United States only 5 presidents had beards while in office—Lincoln [who was the first], followed only by James Garfield, Ulysses S. Not one, even though, presumably, many of them could have grown one. president to display any facial hair at all was William Howard Taft, who had a mustache during his term, March 1909-March 1913. Among the 14 presidents since and including Calvin Coolidge, 7 have been left-handed.

Sure, there were character actors with beards, usually portly, villainous or both—but virtually no pin-up, heart-throb male runway, beef-cake or role models.

As for why, the researchers speculated that bearded men look “more aggressive” and “less romantically attached”—which, to me, sounds consistent with a club-wielding, hair-pulling, beard-flashing cartoon Neanderthal’s mindset.

Males, on the other hand, rated beards highly because of the macho image—both gender results being entirely consistent with Professor Guthrie’s threat thesis that beards suggest intimidating power and menace, as well as chronological maturity.

In that respect, it may function like a can of paint in a jail cell: Spruce up the surface and maybe you’ll feel better about being stuck where you are.

The Sociobiology and Social Anatomy of Beards: What the Ladies Think In his intriguing pioneering 1976 analysis, University of Alaska Professor Emeritus R. Guthrie gave our understanding of human and animal beards—yes, animal—beards [of which there are many sorts] some very interesting twists, with insights of relevance to understanding why beards are staging such a comeback—make that “growback”.

Hence the mere look of serious menace, whether backed up with the tools and determination to put one’s money where one’s mouth is, i.e., to actually attack with a high probability of success, can suffice to spook and intimidate rivals. Emphasizing the importance of beards and other threat displays as evolutionary bluff in correspondence with me, Professor Guthrie noted that Species that fight with horns and antlers often have thick manes or wattles (elk, moose, etc.) as wrestling with locked horns generally favors those with thick necks (or necks that look thicker in bluffing).

So it should come as no surprise that recent research is closely aligned with the sentiments of the Japanese college girls.

As such, the beard signals dominance and a capacity, if not inclination, to do some serious damage to any challenger or subordinate—including any weaker female—that might be tempted to confront or resist such dominance.

–Even when actual physical aggressiveness is not communicated by the beard, it can still elicit deference to the power of the possessor, e.g., through rank-and-age associations, e.g., in a patriarchal gerontocracy [rule by powerful male elders].

The Menace Function of Beards: the Details In tackling that question of beard resistance, and substantially drawing upon Professor Guthrie’s research, some insight into how beards signal threat is in order: —The larger the jaw and/or the neck of an animal, the more powerful the bite is likely to be; the more powerful the bite, the more dangerous the animal.

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