Beards (and the Emancipation of “Man”)

My other half opined, yesterday, that there was something rather lovely about a man with a big, raggedy beard. She wouldn’t want to, as she said, “go out with one” (by which I presume she means the owner of said beard, not the beard itself), but there was something inexplicably satisfying about the fulsome unruliness of such a facial adornment.

The above observation occurred during the viewing of a music video of some rock band or other. I am afraid I am unable to recall which particular rock band it was, but further commentary was proffered regarding the fact that this band, although not especially “hard,” had the appearance (on account of their profuse profligacy of beardage) of a “harder” musical guitar-based group – like Metallica, for example. Which commentary inspired me to further extrapolate that there is something rather primal about a beard – I mean a proper, big bird’s nest of a beard, not one of these poncey, trimmed-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life Craig David jobbies.

Cave men wore beards – by which I mean to say that they had them. Usage of the term “wore” seems to suggest that it was a conscious act on the part of our prehistoric cousins, born of a desire to desist in the curtailment of their natural growth, for reasons deriving either from practical considerations (keeping the chin region warm, creation of a natural and easily “maintained” repository for the storage of food, etc), an antediluvian sense of style, or a combination of both. I am more inclined to believe, however, that in this context, beards just happened and were not thought of in any sense of the possibility that they could not-happen, on account of the fact that razors and the like were some millennia short of being invented.

Whether or not cave men chose to “wear” beards (and I hope I am not being too presumptuous in intimating that they did not), I reckon it can nevertheless be said that they are imbued, where they exist, with a highly symbolic primeval aspect… and again, I am referring more to the Jim Morrison in the ’70s variety than that of this chap…

Neatly Trimmed Beard

Beards (fulsome ones) represent wildness, non-conformity, manliness, agelessness… whereas being clean-shaven is concurrent with youthfulness, smartness and a desire to please (we shave when we go for a job interview, go out for a romantic meal, and so on). We are far more likely to choose to “wear” a beard these days (as opposed to having them just happen upon and in the general vicinity of our chins), but those who so choose are still often tainted with such stigma as laziness, scruffiness and not-caring-about-their-appearance-ness. Especially when the beard is accompanied with long, unkempt hair and inelegant attire…

But I say, no more! When did we become so out of touch with the ancient, beastly core of our nature? Is it right that we should not feel comfortable arriving at our place of work, or a restaurant or a library, in full shabby regalia, bursting with follicular profusions, proudly displaying and symbolically announcing to the world our unwillingness to confirm to the shallow cultural artifices with which we have dressed our feral human souls? I say it is not! I say shed your shoes of shame! Untie your tie of internment! Remove your socks of similitude!

Grow a beard!

And be free!

(although personally I find them a little itchy)

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One comment on “Beards (and the Emancipation of “Man”)

  1. this is an excellent article on beard-age. I love beards and I love this piece.

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