A recent study at the University of Western Australia analysed 154 species of primates to see how they use physical ornaments and badges to stand out. They found that males that lived in larger societies (such as we do as humans) use more flamboyant and conspicuous markets to signal ‘identity, rank, dominance or attractiveness’ to females. The claim is that these same findings can be applied to humans and in particular blokes. And what have become the visible markers of dominance, attractiveness, identify and rank in today’s society – according to the researchers it is beards and tattoos.
The study even goes as far as to suggest that the men of today face even more competition with densely populated urban centres and online dating, as a result the facial hair is becoming more ornate, the tattoos more visible and the piercings more daring and unusual. Put simply, on a primitive level men believe these features give a sexual advantage that may amplify mating and dating success – and further articles we have explored about how attractive women find men with beards would support this!
“In large groups where individuals are surrounded by strangers, we need a quick, reliable tool to evaluate someone’s strength and quality, and that’s where these elaborate ornaments come in,” lead researcher Cyril Grueter told the University of Western Australia’s University News. “In the case of humans, this may also include phenotypic extensions such as body decoration, jewelry and prestige items.”
Standing out has never been so popular. A 2010 study found that nearly 4 in 10 millennials currently have a tattoo with 1 in 4 millennials having a piercing in a place other than their ear lobe. As the fashion and trends change though, so do the badges and ornaments we adopt to impress. The long and the short of it seems to be that us men will always look for ways to impress our mates, turning to badges and ornaments to do so. Although these fashions and trends will change, it appears that beards and tattoos on men are certainly here to stay for the near future.
Great, I don’t have a beard or tattoos…
The key here isn’t that you need a beard and tattoos to be considered attractive by the opposite sex. The key is individualising yourself with your own badges and ornaments – clothing, jewellery, facial hair, piercings, tattoos, hair – whatever you have at your disposal, use it to build the image you want. The conclusion is not necessarily that beards and tattoos are sexy – it is individualism and uniqueness that will attract the opposite sex.
If you do have a beard or any facial hair for that matter – we certainly have one way you can stand out from the crowd…