The jury may still be out on whether beards are actually as gross as we all seem to think they are, but that's not stopping people from growing them anyway — and apparently, dudes in New York are even more particular about their facial hair than any of us might have suspected. Braun recently surveyed 1,000 New York men about their grooming habits, providing some valuable information on beards by NYC borough — with the biggest revelation being this: Dudes with beards in the Big Apple now outnumber their smooth-cheeked brethren. Sixty-seven percent of New York men have at least some sort of facial hair, whether it's a Dumbledore-esque trail of magnificence or just a little bit of five-o'clock-shadow.
Watch out, shaving enthusiasts. The beards are coming for you.
Just kidding — although the survey did also reveal a number of interesting factoids. For example, beards appear to be a big confidence booster for many, with 53 percent of respondents saying they felt more attractive to others than they did in the years BB (Before Beard). Forty-one percent said they felt more confident; 48 percent said they felt more mature; and 10 percent even claim their beards contributed to their success at work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, IT is one of the most popular careers for bearded New Yorkers, with seven percent finding employment in that particular tech-related field; engineer is also a popular pick for men with facial hair at 4.2 percent.
But how does it break down by borough? Do different areas of the city feature different types of beards or grooming habits? Interestingly, the answer is yes — although it still leaves us with something resembling a chicken-or-the-egg question: Do the boroughs attract the beards? Or do the beards grow once the residence arrive in the boroughs? Alas, more research is required before we can tease out the answer to this particular conundrum — but hey, at least we do know that men in New York tend to spend about $20 or less on beard grooming every month, regardless as to which borough they live in.
For the curious, here's what beards — and the people who love them — are like in each area of NYC, according to Braun's survey:
If you want to find a beard to caress in Manhattan, you're going to have the best luck on the Upper East Side: 64 percent of respondents live uptown, and over 60 percent of them live on the east side of town.
NOTE: Beard caressing should only be attempted with permission from its owner — I do not, under any circumstances, condone caressing someone's beard if you have not gotten express permission to do so first. Also, save it for people you already know; I would imagine dudes feel the same way about strangers asking to touch their beards as those of us with tattoos feel about strangers asking if they can touch our ink.
P.S. Does anyone else feel like Riker would live on the UES? Because I do. I definitely definitely do.
Queens is an interesting case: The survey found both that it is the beard capital of New York City — and yet, it is also the borough in which men seem to be the lowest maintenance with regards to their luxurious facial gardens. Fifty-three percent said that they only trimmed their beards once a week. To be honest, though, I can't really say I blame them; I mean, I can usually only be bothered to shave my legs once a week, so a once-weekly beard trimming sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
Beyond the shock that Brooklyn lost the title of Beard Capital of NYC to Queens, we have a few tidbits that I find intensely amusing. First, men in Brooklyn are most likely to get an ultimatum about their whiskers from their partners or their bosses; 13 percent of respondents reported that they'd gotten one from a partner, while 12 percent reported that they'd gotten one from their boss. And second? Brooklynites are more likely to ditch their beards when they're no longer a fashion trend.
I'm a terrible person for finding that funny. It's just such a perfect distillation of every stereotype about people who live in Brooklyn that exists — and I say this as someone who spent a not insignificant amount of time living their myself. Just, y'know, minus the beard.
I like to think of the Bronx as being the opposite of Brooklyn: The survey found that, compared to the other boroughs, men with blanket-chins in the Bronx were much more likely to keep their beards for life. Furthermore, these bearded gents' partners seem to be more intense beard lovers than anyone anywhere else in New York — 45 percent said they loved their partner's beards. Lastly, Bronx dudes with facial hair rated themselves higher in looks than in any other borough, giving themselves at least an eight out of 10 on average. Clearly people who are serious about beards — either wearing them or loving them — should move to the Bronx.
Alas, beards do not thrive in Staten Island. With fully one third of those surveyed from this oft-forgotten borough said that they tried to grow a beard… and failed. This figure makes it the least successful beard-growing borough. Cue the sad trombones.
Braun also provided us with a helpful guide to different beard styles, just in case you need helping spotting them in the wild:
Now go forth, my friends. May the beard be with you.