What gives with all these unshaven men on TV commercials?

What gives with all these unshaven men on TV commercials?

— D.W., Ashland

Whether or not you consider yourself a fashionista, dear reader, there comes a point when a trend hits heights that it can no longer be ignored.

In years prior, beards were more fitting for rock bands looking for a folky, scruffy chic such as Mumford and Sons, and the young people who want to show themselves as hip and creative.

By 2014, that neo-counterculture look has hit the mainstream, and has since been adopted by press secretary Jay Carney at White House conferences, and movie star George Clooney on the red carpet.

Other sources of Americans' current fixation on beards stems from the stars of reality television shows such as A&E's Duck Dynasty, which follows the grizzled Robertson family, and their duck call business.

But studies point to another reason for the facial follicle fad of late ... women dig it.

In 2013, an Australian study published in "Evolution & Human Behavior," the official journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society titled "The role of facial hair in women's perceptions of men's attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities."

We're likely overlooking something for brevity's sake, but the study gave 351 women four photos of smiling men ranging from clean shaven to fully bearded. In the study, women's preference leaned toward heavy stubble, about 10 days growth.

If you long for the days when men would ride the Gillette train to Cleanshaventown, you might be in luck, D.W.

Another study released last week claims that we may have hit "Peak Beard."

Another study at the University of South Wales in Australia published March 24, 2014 in the journal "Biology Letters" with the title "Negative fequency-dependent preferences and variation in male facial hair."

The title is another mouthful, but subjects rated photos of clean-shaven men as more attractive when their 24 sample photos were mostly bearded men.

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