back to article 10-day stubble: Men's 'socio-sexual attributes' at their best

Science can plumb the mysteries of the universe, cure disease, and reveal the origins of man – but can it provide insight into the age-old mystery that troubles every man, namely: What Do Women Want? Yes it can, dear Reg reader, yes it can. According to research conducted at the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre of Sydney's …


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  1. Don Jefe

    Beards are Best

    They're like a machine gun for your face.

    1. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Re: Beards are Best

      I've had my beard since the mid-90s, ever since I overheard a feminist co-worker say she thought beards were a disgusting symbol of patriarchal oppression. So I grew it out to spite her and by extension all feminists and I've kept it ever since. So yeah, I suppose you could call mine a machine gun for my face!

      I do keep it fairly short though, around 1 cm, because it gets annoying if I let it get too big. I end up chewing on my moustache and constantly twisting my chin hair with my fingers after a couple of weeks of no trim. Also, the part on my jawline either side of my chin seems to grow twice as thick and fast as anywhere else on my face, eventually resulting in the appearance of my chin looking wider than my forehead, which as you can imagine just looks daft. So I trim around once a week, which is a lot better than having to shave every day.

      In my middle age, parts of it have gone grey, while the sideburns are vivid ginger, and the rest of it black. I've been compared to skunks and tortoiseshell cats more than once because of it!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Beards are Best

        Similarly my current beard is as a direct result of my manager asking me "are you growing a beard?" after me not shaving for a couple of days....... "you know what fuck it, why yes I am".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Beards are Best

        >I overheard a feminist co-worker say she thought beards were a disgusting symbol of patriarchal oppression.

        Why might this be cause for concern... oh, never mind!

      3. Beau

        Re: Beards are Best

        AN up vote for you Sir, I agree entirely, 1 cm works well for me as well.

        I've had my beard since the mid-60s. Sadly no longer gray, now almost pure white, mind you, it still seems to work!!!

      4. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Beards are Best

        "I end up chewing on my moustache and constantly twisting my chin hair with my fingers after a couple of weeks of no trim."

        I found that the best part of having facial hair. I used to love playing with it (read whatever you want into that, LOL)

        It's backfired now I've got rid of it, though. My other half is constantly telling me off for pulling at the skin under my chin. It's a subconscious thing, I'm trying to stroke my bears, but it's not there.

      5. teebie

        Re: Beards are Best

        "I overheard a feminist co-worker say she thought beards were a disgusting symbol of patriarchal oppression"

        Most feminists don't employ this level of, shall we say, recreational schizophrenia.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Beards are Best

      My daughter cries when she sees a man with a beard, my wife won't let me near her if I haven't had a shave, something to do with leaving a rash she says.

      It's a great way to get a bit of peace.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Beards are Best?

      Beards add years to your age and are an environmental toxic hazard as they collect food debris during the day.

      1. NogginTheNog

        Re: Beards are Best?

        "Beards add years to your age".

        There is something in that: in my younger days facial forestry of any sort looks naff, but now I'm in my forties I've had a goatie for a couple of years and think it really suits me. I think my face has 'aged' in to it!

        Oh and if you ask me 10-day old growth is NOT stubble?!

        1. Yet Another Commentard

          Re: Beards are Best?

          re: beards and age

          You need to be careful, as a couple of young chaps when I was at school tried the facial hair thing to buy fags and booze, but all they could manage was a Barry McGuigan - esque couple of lip-hairs that fooled nobody.

          Is it safe to assume that this study was not sponsored by Gillette?

          1. John Angelico

            Re: Beards are Best?

            I have maintained a beard since the 70s, and it even survived for a short while (as a trim goatee) whilst I was working for Gillette Australia.

            The company and I parted company (amicably) after a short while though: I was not a world-wide enterprise, office-politics kind of employee and they were looking for a workaholic-type of person. Sadly, both of my bosses lost their families to divorce (I heard later from a former colleague), so I am not sorry to have left - 36th anniversary coming up soon! :-)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Beards are Best?

              Much more dangerous than food debris (I eat like a human, and food very rarely touches my beard...don't want to waste food, mostly) are the dangers of short cigarettes (roll-ups) and a predilection for the most dangerous Chinese lighters I can find on eBay...quite often end up setting bits of my beard on fire.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Beards are Best?

        Environmental hazard, ages ... Just like the rest of life. That food could save it one day. Or you could just learn to eat properly.

        I grow when occasionally, though I am at an age when it is less of a good idea. However, women do seem to react in various ways: mother usually against, colleagues and wife for or neutral

        Comes and grows. Hair today, gone tomorrow.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Beards are Best?

        > an environmental toxic hazard

        Then again, habitat for endangered species?

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Beards are Best?

        Beards add years to your age"

        That's precisely why I've grown a beard at the age of 50. In a couple of years I'll shave off the grey bearded and "lose" 10 years :-)

      5. toadwarrior

        Re: Beards are Best?

        Yeah, if you eat like a pig. For people who eat like humans it's not an issue.

      6. Ru

        Re: Beards are Best?

        Beards add years to your age

        I don't think the relationship is purely additive or linear. A gentleman of my acquaintance first started sporting a beard in his late teens, and rapidly ended up looking like he was in his thirties... and has stayed looking more or less the same age, and is now actually in his late thirties

        If he actually stoops so low as to dye his hair and beard, I expect he'll carry on looking much the same for the next couple of decades, too.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Beards are Best but what about women

      Would we put up with women moustaches, hairy women's armpits or legs.

      If you do then you must be European.

  2. GBL Initialiser

    But a beer belly sticking out from under one's t-shirt whilst having a can of lager in hand is still a nono I presume?

    1. wim

      Maybe if the beer belly has a 10 days worth stubble it is acceptable ?

    2. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Beer belly sicking out from under a t-shirt with can of lager in hand, definitely a nono.

      Beer belly filling out an Armani suit with glass of Chateau d'Yquem in hand, not so much of a problem.

  3. Michael Thibault

    Curious to know...

    At what point does a beard become ticklish? Just askin'?

    1. frank ly

      Re: Curious to know...

      In my experience, it's about the 10 day mark that is the most ticklish and irritating. Maybe the judgement of 10 days growth as most attractive is because the women can figure out they are looking at a man who can tolerate adversity and irritation well?

      1. VinceH

        Re: Curious to know...

        Yeah, ten days sounds about right to me. I typically only shave once every couple of weeks, and it tends to be the last few days of that it gets a bit itchy, and that's my cue to shave at some point over the coming weekend.

        1. Michael Thibault

          Re: Curious to know...

          There's itchy, and there's ticklish.

    2. teebie

      Re: Curious to know...

      When it's long enough that stray hairs find their way up a partners nose when you kiss, its long enough to provoke complaints.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps this explains

    As someone who has normally kept clean shaven and all the women I've formed long term relationships with (include both my first and current wives') have complained if I've forgotten or haven't got around to shaving.

    But a couple of times when I've been away from normal civilization for a while and haven't been able to shave, nor even get near soap for a few days, I've been damn near jumped on by very attractive women.

    Perhaps this is related to the reports that suggestion that women are genetically programmed to find the ideal father for their offspring, and then to go and find the ideal mate to sire them.

    1. LarsG

      Re: Perhaps this explains

      And then you woke up and found it was all a dream!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perhaps this explains

        Lars, you may dream, while I can reminisce

    2. William Wallace

      Re: Perhaps this explains

      I think you've inadvertently cottoned on to something here - i.e. women find bearded men more attractive, hence wives and girlfriends like their men to be clean-shaven.

      By the way, how many current wives do you have?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perhaps this explains

        > By the way, how many current wives do you have?

        Just the one, these last 24years, hence the need to reminisce.

      2. John Angelico

        Re: Perhaps this explains

        Surely he can only have two: AC & DC.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Perhaps this explains

          > Surely he can only have two: AC & DC.

          I fear you may have hit the nail on the head.

    3. Danny 14

      Re: Perhaps this explains

      indeed. clean shaven = mrs lets me near her. 10 day growth and i'd be kicked out of the bedroom :(

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clean shaven downside

    I had a beard in my passport photo some years back, but was clean shaven at a time of a visit to Israel. Airport security were not happy, oh no, so not happy, that a visual discrepancy stood^H^H^H quaked before them. These days, She Who Must Be Obeyed disallows anything older than 2 days. Must be 'cos I'd be so attractive to others...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clean shaven downside

      Woah, buddy, I don't want to hear anything about your downside, let alone if you shave it or not!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not more of this pseudo-science....

    This is typical evolutionary psychology pseudo-science. They take some people in one society at one time in human history and assume that their views represent all people ever since the Pleistocene. Never mind that most human males on the planet now do not produce beards anything like those of hairy Europeans (many human groups have men who produce no noticeable facial hair through the course of their lives). Never mind that people's ideas of beauty and attractiveness can easily be demonstrated to vary from culture to culture and over time in the same culture. Seriously, science is about dealing with the facts that are out there--not by denying them. This is just more fake, non-scientific junk people who want to live in ignorance propagate. :)

    1. BlueGreen

      Re: Not more of this pseudo-science....

      "many human groups have men who produce no noticeable facial hair through the course of their lives"

      Oh, if only I was one! I hate beards/tashes/sideboards slightly more than I hate shaving.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "I hate sideboards"

        Hey, what has the dining-room furniture ever done to hurt you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Size doesn't matter"

          In fact, we have been misled all along, it's not the size, or what you do with it that matters. No, as revealed exclusively here at el Reg: it is in fact where you put it that is most important!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not more of this pseudo-science....

      Says the man who can't grow a decent beard.

      Size doesn't matter either amirite?

  8. Fihart

    Boy Beard Ban, please !

    IBM used to have (or allegedly had) a rule of no pipe smokers, no beardies. I think they assumed that both wasted a lot of time fiddling. Mrs Thatcher had a similar prejudice.

    I can't quite understand why older men going grey (or white) would want to multiply the problem by growing grey/white facial hair. Presumably to make up for thinning on top. I'm wary of men who sport beards and heavy glasses -- clearly they are hiding behind these contrivances !

    But maximum odium for young hipsters with wispy beards -- the sort who may also wear skinny trousers that hang around the crotch and beanie hats. I guess the sought effect is to look like one of Garibaldi's guerrillas, though this seems less than convincing when seen with iPad in manbag around coffee shops in Hoxton.

    1. Irony Deficient

      multiplication exegesis

      Fihart, in my case, I grow a “salt-and-paprika” beard because I’m finally able to do so; there were a couple of patches on my face in the typical beard zone from which no hair grew until I was in my 40s. Up top, my forehead (called the “fivehead” by Mrs. Deficient) started receding when I was 16; without a beard, I look like an extraterrestrial trying to blend in as a human, despite the dead giveaway of an unusually protruberant cranium. (No grey up top yet; it falls out before it gets a chance to go monochromatic.) I’m only partially hiding, though: my spectacles have thin frames.

  9. Andrew James


    So thanks to testicular cancer and chemotherapy I'm less manly with one nut, and an inability to grow facial hair for the time being making my masculinity nose dive.

    It just doesn't get better than this!!

    1. Irony Deficient

      Re: Brilliant

      Andrew, your ability to survive testicular cancer and withstand chemotherapy makes you exponentially more manly than most of us here. If I ever face similar circumstances, I can only hope to meet them with the same grit that you’ve got. Fight the good fight, sir.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brilliant

      After having radiotherapy due to a lymphoma in my neck I can now grow a perfect goatee without shaving. Nothing grows elsewhere on my face.

      The only problem is I look ridiculous with a goatee so I'm stuck with being clean shaven.

  10. John Tserkezis

    Doesn't help me.

    Tried it, I'm equally unnatractive to women whatever the facial status.

    The study is bunk, I want my money back.

  11. RonWheeler


    Pah! Call that facial hair growth...

    2 days = heavy stubble

    5 days = beard

    10 days = sky fairy fanatic

    1. Captain Save-a-ho

      Re: Time

      I thought the same thing. I keep my beard well trimmed, but I have to shave the rest every couple of days or it looks like I'm straight down off the mountain from hunting Kodiaks with my bare hands. The researchers clearly culled the more swarthy among us for their research.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Time

      Exactly. I have to shave twice a day, if I'm going out again in the evening.

      <-- Some pirates had beards.

  12. Sosman

    This is not so much "evolution and human behaviour " , more like fashion.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wierdie Beardies

    Lots of elderly programmers posting here I see. Facial hair is quite revolting and does indeed add 10 years to your age.

    You need to remember that this is an Australian survey, and all the women there are descended from intellectually challenged convicts and later immigrants.

    1. Irony Deficient

      à chacun son goût

      Anonymous Coward, my beard adds ten years to my age? Excellent! I look forward to receiving my retirement benefits ten years early!

      But seriously, what do you have against Australian women who are descended from later immigrants?

  14. caz
    Paris Hilton

    Unkempt and dirty

    That's what all these stubbled fashionistas look like to me and it suggests that they are not too familiar with soap and water. I wouldn't let them anywhere me for fear of what might be lurking in their facial hair as well as provoking a rash from their sandpaper faces.

    This female prefers a manly clean shaven male with no facial dandruff. Paris because she likes smoothies too.

    1. PJI

      Re: Unkempt and dirty

      Umm, re sandpaper: actually, though clean shaven just now, I grow a beard now and then. One of the positive results is that women are pleased NOT to have the sandpaper effect as a full grown beard, even neatly trimmed, is soft, unlike stubble a millimetre or so long.

      As for cleanliness: I take it you shave your head and pubis too. Ugh. Do you also prefer men to be hairless all over, insisting on no more hair than on a small baby, shaved chest, legs ..?

      Now, all those nice pimples and minor infections in minute cuts from a sharp razor, or the coating of microbes from an inadequately maintained electric razor, that is off-putting.

      I think you are sadly lacking in actual knowledge.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unkempt and dirty

        I draw the line at hairy armpits and legs on a woman.... You must be a Johnny Continental if you like that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I draw the line at hairy armpits and legs on a woman

          I don't particularly mind hairy armpits, but I suppose I do prefer them to have legs. Although I might change my mind on that last point if it ever becomes relevant.

  15. Barry Rueger

    There are beards, and beards.

    For instance This Guy, who, unbelievably, is running for office.....

    you have to look. this is the photo on his campaign poster.

    1. cosymart
      Thumb Up

      Re: There are beards, and beards.

      Looks like a badger hiding on his chin.

      That cannot be a serious politician it all looks so faked, there again he is from Vancouver... What is all that crap about his wife being a "visual" artist, what other kind of artist is there? Oh and the bit about riding his bike...I need a new keyboard :-)

      1. Irony Deficient

        what other kind of artist is there?

        cosymart, how about artists who create works for the ear rather than for the eye? Wouldn’t musicians be “aural” artists?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: what other kinds of artist is there?


        Poets and authors, literary artists?

        Musicians, aural artists?

        Marketing, piss artists?

      3. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: There are beards, and beards.

        I wonder whether this Jon Johnson can keep a straight face while looking into a mirror...

        But can someone please explain me since I'm not familiar with the local topography: why does it take 19 hours from Vancouver to Seattle by bicycle? It's only about 150 miles.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There are beards, and beards.

          Send me an email, I'll give you the route that snakes through farmlands and scenic paved trails. About 10 hours of riding the first day, and about 9 hours of riding the second. Great exercise, highly recommended!


          I don't need a mirror to laugh at myself, I do it all the time!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There are beards, and beards.

      There is actually one valid reason for an individual to wear a beard. I used at one time to share an office with a chap who had one. He was always scratching it so I assumed that he had some eczema related problem.

      Then, he got married. And about 6 months later, after prompting from the wife, the beard came off.

      And we all realised why it was there. This was a thoroughly nice, and intelligent person, but the removal of the beard revealed him to have a chin which did recede very considerably and to whom the expression 'chinless wonder' would have applied had he not been who he was.

      But that kind of problem is the only reason why a civilised person should wear a beard. Unless they're a gay show biz star that is...

    3. Irony Deficient

      Re: There are beards, and beards.

      Barry, That Guy doesn’t hold a candle to Alfred von Tirpitz.

  16. Piro
    Thumb Up

    Works for me!

    My girlfriend dislikes clean shaven and prefers a few millimetres of stubble - she even bought me a beard trimmer to emphasise the point that she prefers it not shaven. (As well as explicitly stating the previous statement, "I have a beard fetish" is part of what she said).

    Works for me! What's that? I have to do less with my face? Jolly good!

  17. ITS Retired

    10 days?

    After 10 days my 5 O'clock shadow is just coming in. It took over 4 months for me to look as if I meant not to shave.

    1. Mr Young

      Re: 10 days?

      10 days without shaving means you're working too hard!

  18. toadwarrior

    Beards and masculinity go together because women generally can't grow beards. Some nations have a corporate culture that frowns upon facial hair but these are generally nations that are run by sexually repressed religious nut bags.

    And anyone saying facial hair is unhygienic is just butt hurt that they can't grow a beard.

    1. Drakkenson

      @"nations that are run by sexually repressed religious nut bags."

      What, like Iran? I, for one, don't remember when I las saw a photo of a freshly shaven Iranian...

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: @"nations that are run by sexually repressed religious nut bags."

        here's one... <>

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: @"nations that are run by sexually repressed religious nut bags."

        @Drakkenson: Brush up your predicate logic.

        "most nations that disapprove of facial hair are run by sexually repressed religious nut bags" does not imply "a particular nation (or even most nations) run by sexually repressed religious nut bags disapproves of facial hair".

        ∀a(MustShave(a) → RunByNuts(a))

        is consistent with

        ∃a(RunByNuts(a) ∧¬ MustShave(a))

        (Why can I paste these symbols into the message, but not enter them as HTML entities?)

  19. The Alpha Klutz

    what women want



    A good shag


    Did I mention Money?

  20. graeme leggett

    can't just not shave

    I get stubble from my cheekbones down to my collar line. Even if I was to not shave to get the stubbly look I would still have to shave the perimeter to keep things neat and tidy.

    optimum masculinity stubble sounds like more hard work than clean-shaven.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5 o'clock shadow

    I used to work for a guy who could shave at 7am and have a 5 o'clock shadow at 9:30am. He had to keep a razor in his office so he could shave during his lunch hour. He'd then have a 2nd 5 o'clock shadow at 3:30 and be bearded again at 6pm.

    I don't remember him ever maintaing a beard, but I can imagine what his would have looked like after 10 days.

  22. Montreal Sean

    I told my wife about the study results.

    Her response was "Go out and find one of these women and sleep with her then."

    My wife hates facial hair. Fortunately I only need to shave three times a week to stay smooth-ish.

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      @Montreal Sam

      Her response was "Go out and find one of these women and sleep with her then."

      And did you?

  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So Sir Richard Branson had it about right all along.

    Is there no end to the reasons to find to dislike him?

  24. BornToWin

    They look stupid

    Those who have a 3-10 day facial hair look stupid.

  25. expat jan

    No sandpaper...

    So-called clean shaven is sandpaper.

    Stubble oft cropped is hard hair bristle brush = more sandpaper.

    Beard, even trimmed every few weeks, is gentle, as well as looking good.

    You must remember, shaving is in order to look like a baby, or at best a young boy. A really pointless operation. The Romans only shaved to show they were not barbarians.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A question that has intrigued man for as long as....

    Only thick ones.

    What do women want?

    Any pussy that advantages them, and as much as possible.

    Oh sorry, that's men. Replace pussy with thing, for women.

  27. Rattus Rattus

    If your Dad doesn't have a beard...'ve got two Mums.‎

  28. ElNumbre
    Thumb Up

    More Research Required

    I'd like to know the results for the 'ZZ Top'

  29. Stevie Silver badge


    The best thing about beards is other people's reactions when you change them up a bit.

    I've worn a beard since I could grow one, typically trimmed back to a number two comb length on a Wahl trimmer, but for a steampunk costume party a couple of years ago I grew the length out for a month and then carved out the chin so I could go all Nigel Green/Colour Sergeant Bourne. A red jacket and a pith helmet and I was done.

    The way the younger attendees who knew me freaked out you'd have thought I'd cut off an arm or gouged out an eye.

    I won the Best Costume contest, and the wife (a firm beard-lover) thought I should keep it that way "for a bit".

    So I did. The shaving is a pain, as my beard hair grows to the right, requiring a sideways sweep of the razor if I need to get a really close shave.

    On the downside it had been several years since I last cut off the beard. In the interrim Gillette stopped making the continuous band razor that had been such a joy to use, and for some reason the shaving world has decided if one blade is good, twenty seven are better. It took me quite a while to find a multi-blade razor that worked without carving up my face.

  30. All names Taken

    Hmmm - I wonder if women perceive men's facial hair much as men perceive women's mammary glands?

    The "Foo-waaah look at 'em" reaction?

  31. Flakey

    My beard

    is a reaction to being in H.M Forces for 12 years and shaving every day. On the day I left I said to myself 'no more shaving and no more haircuts' that was almost 30 years ago and I havent shaved off my beard to this day, just a trim every now and again. Thankfully the haircuts did continue to the point that there is now more hair on my face than on my head.

  32. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Sonny Crockett had the beard right??

    So can I pull my white linen suit and Wham! tapes out of storage, or does society need a few years to reach that level of enlightenment (again)?

    Wake me up before you go-go, and when the 80s are once more cool!

  33. The Nameless Mist

    Note the target audience

    "showed to 351 women and 177 men – heterosexuals all – who were asked to rate "

    interesting, does this denote that the survey team specifically excluded Gay Men because they thought we would give a non standard result?

    <no logo as you don't have a rainbow pride one>

  34. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    I'm a MUTANT!

    If I don't shave for 10 days then I have a beard. Not stubble, a measurable, grab-able beard. Am I a even more of a Mutant than the rest of you? As I get older it gets easier and easier to not shave for 1 day mid week as the grey stubble just doesn't show that well. No I'm not a beardy but one day I may well be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "10 days' stubble"

      Is a silly thing to quote because, as demonstrated in these comments - beard growth rate is widely variable from person to person.

      Maybe a more standardised measurement, like, oh I don't know, length maybe might have been easier to relate to?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was watching "Lincoln" ...

    Not long ago I was watching Lincoln (the film). Now I sport a beard which has been there since school - basically I couldn't be bothered with all that time spent shaving ! It wasn't long since I'd trimmed it to keep SWMBO happy, and as various characters appeared with "proper" beards I found myself stroking my No2 comb 'stubble' and going "hmmmm". "Don't even think about it" would be a short translation of what I got told :-(

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