Men of the Bay - there is a reason why we women declare war on every hair follicle that is not on our heads.

There is a reason why we regularly pay to be tortured - painstakingly plucked, tweezed, waxed and lasered.

Quite simply, excessive hair, whatever your gender, is just not attractive.

Pogonophiles take note. Most women I know do not find beards attractive. We deplore the current trend for beards, which has planted its roots so deeply among Kiwi males that whereas once it was the norm to be clean-shaven, now men are almost the odd one out if their chin is not cultivating a big bush.


Beards, once the domain of hobos, hippies and Santa, have become mainstream. I'm not talking about a five o'clock shadow, but fleecy displays that would put Gandalf to shame.

The trend is even affecting the economy. Financial analysts in the US last year noted that "an increased interest in facial hair" was contributing to a fall in sales of razors and blades.

Men might view the beard as a symbol of masculinity - stealing Grizzly Adams' style even though they are more at home with a mochachino than a machete.

But the truth is, if the shaggy look puts us off Brad Pitt and George Clooney, then it's going to put us off you.

For as my colleague Juliet Rowan put it baldly, writing in indulge magazine, beards just remind us of your armpit.

Or worse.

So I wasn't surprised to read a story that recently went viral about some beards being dirtier than a toilet, with headlines such as the UK Daily Mirror's "Some beards contain more poo than a toilet, shocking study reveals".

The story started after a report on a US news channel where swabs of a handful of men's beards were sent to a microbiologist who found traces of types of bacteria you might find in faeces.

Gross. While some may poo poo the story as unscientific, for me it confirms what I had already feared about beards.

This is not deterring a bearded Christchurch student whose mother claims he was sent home in breach of his school's facial hair policy.

This week NZME. reported that Kay Peebles said her son - whose name she wants to protect (but a clue could be that he's the one with the beard) was sent home from Hornby High on April 30 in breach of its clean-shaven rules and had not returned since.

Peebles said she had written to Education Minister Hekia Parata and the Human Rights Commission over the school's rules.

But Ministry of Education and principal Richard Edmundson denied the school stood down or suspended the pupil and that he was "able to return to school at any time", reported NZME.

The ministry said facial hair was not grounds to stand down or suspend a student but that if a student repeatedly refused to comply with school rules, that could amount to "continual disobedience".

"For this to result in a stand-down or suspension, the continual disobedience must be a harmful or dangerous example to other students at the school," the ministry told NZME.

"In making any rules, such as those setting out a prohibition on facial hair, the board would be required to consider other laws such as those relating to human rights.

"For example, there may be cases where exceptions are made in relation to facial hair to take into account a student's genuinely held religious beliefs."

What is it with parents taking on schools in defence of their children's hair?

The story is reminiscent of last year's "hairy student versus the school" saga about Hawke's Bay student Lucan Battison who, suspended after refusing to cut his hair, took on the school in the High Court. A judge ruled the ban unlawful.

In this latest battle to stay hairy and still get an education, it sounds like the school and ministry want to avoid a similar legal stoush.

Although if taken to court, the school could summon a team of scientists with swabs to try to prove beards were in fact dirty and therefore harmful to other students.

But this would be costly. And ridiculous.

Someone should tell Ms Peebles to just buy her son a razor. If the school doesn't allow beards then quite simply he should just have a shave.

And if he cannot be convinced to shave by the school, someone should just tell him - and his mother - that it's not worth the fight to stay hirsute.

Because a beard is no more attractive in a man than it would be a woman. So guys, please do us all a favour and give the grooming industry a boost in the process.

Shave off the beards.