For me, the words sexy and beards are mutually exclusive. However, being someone willing to be converted, I set about this assignment for hirsute hotties and bearded babes with an open mind. Of course, sexy does not have to mean classically good looking…
Beards have signified wisdom and dignity in many cultures for thousands of years and some thought beards represented virility and proved a man was a ‘real’ man. Alexander the Great may have agreed, but he still ordered his armies to be clean shaven in case enemies used beards to grab and hold onto a soldier and kill him.
Some famous men have always been seen with beards or moustaches, others grow them and shave them off periodically. Full beards, whiskers, side burns, moustaches, goatees, chin curtains and even the ‘three day growth’ will pass the facial hair test for the purposes of this incredibly unscientific study.
Clarke Gable was a sexy leading man for decades of movie goers. His moustache was almost ever present, albeit slightly more clipped at times. His quintessential Southern manliness in his most famous film, Gone with the Wind, won him legions of fans.
A man almost as famous for his beard, as his many other legacies, is one of the great American writers, Ernest Hemingway. Lookalike competitions take place around the world every year, although the earlier years were the best for sex appeal for the man himself.
If literary genius gets you going, then the great bard himself, William Shakespeare had a snazzy line in facial hair.
Who said money can’t make you happy? Richard Branson is always smiling behind his carefully crafted look. Laughing all the way to the bank, I wonder if it is insured as a vital part of the Virgin brand?
A brand unto himself is Russell Brand. His just got out of bed, rock star chic is gimmicky but working.
Tom Selleck was the man with the mo that set the standard for ‘80s man’. Still looking good, Tom.
David Beckham is pretty and handsome and he scrubs up well. He has flirted with many hair styles on both head and face, although for my money shorter and neater is better.
Aragorn, son of Arathorn, better known as Viggo Mortenson sports a beard which grows ever more dignified as he accepts his destiny and becomes King. There are some serious wizard and dwarf beards in Lord of the Rings which may be sexy to other wizards and dwarves.
‘Beards are epic’ according to John Lennon who grew hair in every direction in the Yoko years. In one of the photos taken with him in bed with Yoko, there are signs above their heads saying ‘hair peace’ and ‘bed peace’. Says it all really.
Hugh Jackman – bearded or not, this man is sexy, even as a wolf. He can sing, act, dance, he’s funny, a loving husband and father… Need I go on?
Rebels and idealists can be charismatic, which is definitely sexy and Che Guevara created an unkempt appearance that somehow appeals.
Robert Pattinson, as Edward Cullen in the Twilight series has set hearts aflutter with his unshaven look. Whether this actually counts as a beard is a moot point, as many women and teens seem adore him.
Billy Connelly has the quirky factor, often seen with purple-dyed facial hair. Funny is always sexy somehow.
A list of this kind always has to include George Clooney, and he has had his share of beards, short as well as shaggy.
Number one on this list is in no doubt. The sexiest man alive, according to People magazine in 2009, is certainly my vote, Johnny Depp. Pirate, musketeer, whatever look you call it, it suits. OK, I’m convinced and clearly couldn’t stop at ten.