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Live overseas for long enough, and you’ll start to experience reverse culture shock on your visits home. On my last trip back to L.A., I was surprised to see how popular beards have gotten in the States, and judging from the foreign travelers I see here in Japan, they’re just as trendy throughout western Europe.

As someone whose Arabic ancestry means every day is a battle against a phalanx of facial hair, I have to say I can see an upside to this new golden era for beards. But, as with any decision a man makes, it’s important to first ask yourself that critical question, “Will this make women think I look cool?” To help answer that question, today we’re looking at the results of a survey asking Japanese women whether or not they like a guy with a beard.

Internet portal My Navi Woman recently polled 133 of its female users between the ages of 22 and 34, asking them the simple question “Do you like guys with beards?”

Unfortunately for those who dress up as the Wolfman every year for Halloween just by throwing on a flannel shirt, 85 percent of the respondents said they prefer their men clean-shaven. The anti-facial hair camp cited two major reasons for its stance.

Thorough grooming goes a long way in making a good impression in Japan, and to many women, a beard doesn’t gel with that. Aside from giving a guy an overall messy aura, some of the respondents went so far as to say it looks unclean. “Beards just seem unsanitary. Hardly any guys look good with one,” explained one woman. “It looks dirty,” chimed in a second women, while yet another added “I like the clean look of a guy who’s smoothly shaved.”

That also doesn’t mean that the women in the survey are fine with a beard as long as it’s neatly trimmed and freshly washed. While Japanese couples, on average, aren’t as big on physical affection as their counterparts in many other countries, they do still kiss, of course, and many of the respondents find a man’s beard to be an unwelcome third party in a make out session. “It’s prickly,” complained one of the many women who find a guy’s beard to be a literal and figurative pain when going in for a smooch. “I don’t like how it hurts when a guy’s beard scratches me,” lamented another.

Still, one out of every six or seven women surveyed are down with a guy growing it out. “If a beard suits a guy, it makes him look wild and cool,” said one advocate. “Fashionable” was also another term tossed about by supporters, and one respondent gushed that a man with a beard is shibui, using one of our favorite Japanese words.

Still, these numbers show that in general, smooth-faced is the way to go if you’re looking to score points with the ladies in Japan, which probably shouldn’t be such a shock when you consider that the country has a whole industry of male hair-removal salons. If you’re planning to play the percentages, you might want to get used to using not only chopsticks and the Japanese language, but one of these as well.

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Source: Excite News via Otakumu
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