Seeing a lot of hipsters sporting mustaches and beards these days?

Wondering why those hippies don’t just go get haircuts? Are you wondering if the Beard Czar competition is in your city?  But then taking a closer look and realizing that those handlebars, mutton-chops and soul patches are meticulously groomed?

As it turns out, I happen to have an anthropological perspective on that.

Meticulously groomed facial hair and much care and attention given to trim pubic hair (even if only evident among the fringe creative types, hipsters and “metrosexuals”) is an indicator of more pressing gender issues.

Referring back to another recent blog on access to sex (, I had noted how gender equality is, essentially, making men stay on top of their game a bit more.

Personal grooming is a big part of this.  The mating game is getting increasingly more competitive for the guys out there.  They can’t just rest on their “good provider” laurels to impress the ladies. “Sisters are doing it for themselves” these days and have more earning potential as well as self-confidence.  Women are also increasingly more educating and taking a closer, critical look at the decisions they make in their lives.  That means they are paying closer attention to the details to help them assess their ideal partner.

A man who is well groomed pays attention to the details.  He cares about cleanliness and the comfort of his partner.  He cares about being appealing to his mate as much as he might expect his mate to care.  He is saying that he sees the responsibility of keeping up appearances to be equal among the genders, and that he doesn’t feel entitled to mating rights just because he has a nice job and a hot car.  J

This ethos is starting to become more prevalent in American male culture overall.  It’s not uncommon to see a man with a manicure, or a shiny new barbershop that offers a range of grooming and spa-like services.

Lets also consider that in this increasingly competitive mating landscape, personal expression with regard to style is also important in order to stand out from the sausage-fest.  And let’s face it…mens’ clothing options are far more limited than women’s.  Although, you do see a lot more happening these days with men’s accessories such as bracelets, earrings and even necklaces.

But lets consider one final point that makes mustaches and facial hair the ultimate male self-expression accessory for attracting a mate.  The ability to grow a mustache is (for the most part) something only men can do.  It requires testosterone.  It’s the one accessory that, by nature, is about as masculine as it gets.  So, despite having to work harder to appeal to the ladies because they are stepping up and taking charge, a guy with a stache can still maintain his manhood and look super-spiffy doing it.

Mustches can also apparently spiff up a host of household items and accessories:

And what could be more mainstream than that?

Categories: Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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