Beards, glorious beards

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Sam Wendell, 19, of Johnston, strokes the beard of Casey Drees, 19, of Exira. It was Drees’ beard that brought these friends together. “I just tried to touch it one day,” Wendell said.

By Anna Duran.

Take a look around. Do you see them? Magnificent? Patchy? Beards are more popular than ever, and DMACC is a participating example.

A study published in 2011 may shed some light on why the male facial trend is here to stay – women and men agree a face with hair on it is more attractive and perceived as more masculine when compared to clean-shaven faces.

The study by researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia says women prefer ‘heavy stubble,’ described as ten days growth, while men find the full beard most attractive. DMACC students seem to agree.

“Long beards that cover their whole face, two inches long or more, are gross,” Erica Meinke, 18, said. “You could get your fingers stuck in there.”

“His beard is majestic,” Sam Wendell said of his friend Casey Drees’ beard.

An earlier study by Robert Pellegrini in the 1970s also showed women appreciated the clean beard or heavy stubble look, and went on to further postulate that “the presence of hair on a young man’s face is associated with an idealized image of the male personality.”

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Tyler Phares, 22, of Altoona

Men do or do not grow their beards for a number of reasons. The motivation for beard growing on campus was varied, and ranged from rebellion to weather.

“It’s something most people don’t like,” Drees said. “I’m standing up for the power of man.”

Tyler Phares, 22, grows his to stay warmer during hunting season. His face suffers when he doesn’t have one.

“Normally I get rid of it in March,” he said.

No matter the reason, facial hair gets these guys noticed.

“People come up to me and compliment my beard all the time. I get a lot of questions,” Drees said.

Some guys don’t (or feel they can’t) grow beards because it would interfere with their profession. This is true of Lloyd Belt, 27, who is in his second year of Hotel Restaurant Management classes.

“In culinary classes we can’t have facial hair, so if I don’t have cooking classes, I don’t shave. Hide my razors, no need for shaving cream,” Belt said.

Belt said he also keeps his beard trimmed close to his face, which is what ladies prefer according to the study.

“Lots of guys don’t know how to keep it properly trimmed. I definitely don’t like long beards, but I can appreciate a short trimmed beard,” Kelsey Gladow, 21, said.

Scott Hoifeldt takes his beard trimming to another level, reshaping it into a goatee with a mustache.

“When I’m not working or in school I grow it out, but in professional environments I clean it up,” Hoifeldt said.

Keeping the beards kept up seems to be important to these men, and Gladow can tell us why.

Lloyd Belt, 27, of Des Moines

Lloyd Belt, 27, of Des Moines

“I don’t think big dirty beards are masculine. I think taking care of them is the more masculine thing to do,” she said.

Gladow’s opinion of cleanliness isn’t far off the mark.

“My beard was four inches long at its longest; I was in Iraq, and it was kind of dirty,” Hoifeldt said.

Granted, the sandy desert is far and away from DMACC but it’s a point of contention with others, too, like Brandon Sourwine’s family.

“I look better with a beard, but my grandpa highly disagrees. He says it’s scruffy, but I’ve decided to keep it anyway,” Sourwine said.

These guys are serious about their scruff. The study says men with beards are taken more seriously, probably because they look older. The study says that men can appear as much as ten years older in a full beard, which can be a good thing.

“When guys have baby faces, they should grow beards. I don’t like baby faces,” Meinke said.

Madison Rice, 18, agrees. “I don’t want to look older than the guy I’m dating. If we’re the same age, facial hair isn’t a requirement, but I don’t like when they look younger than me,” she said.

According to www.beards.org (yes, an organizational website dedicated entirely to whiskers), there are six parts to a man’s facial hair structure, and there are as many styles as there are men to grow them.

As with all appendages, facial or otherwise, there is a danger element. They can get caught in machinery or clothing.

“I’m concerned about zippers,” Drees said, “but I haven’t hurt myself, yet.”

By Ryan Meier

By Ryan Meier

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