I recently took a journey by train across country and half way through my journey I found myself admiring the beards of 2 men on my carriage. The next thing I realised was although one of the men was middle-aged, the other man was a young man in his early 20s. I then took a poll with my eyes, scanning over all the men on the carriage, I shockingly found about 50% of the men sported beards. Surely I didn’t accidentally miss the sign on the carriage that said “Bearded section.”? So I assumed this was a good average for most of the train, perhaps even the UK? Was this new beard trend restricted to the London area being about 5-10 years ahead of fashion in general? Had I just noticed this trend because at this part of my journey there was an abnormally large number of hairy men around me? Then I realised that I had indeed been noticing beards my whole journey.
Don’t worry I have not got a strange beard fetish I am in fact the proud wearer of a beard and have a close relationship with my facial hair. I believe most men that sport a beard do. So just like a woman might notice a nice pair of shoes from across a train so too a man can recognise a good beard when he sees one. Especially considering my inability to grow what I call a nice beard. I love my beard but I seem to be only able to grow a beard that helps make me look a lot like a scruffy vagabond which does often force me to covet my neighbors beard on a regular basis.
So what has brought about this new trend? Many American sports stars now sport a beard, some very long beards, some movie stars have been seen in the press wearing their big bushy facial accessory ie Brad Pitt, was it this? Perhaps the large increase of religious men that sport a beard as part of their religion? I think these have an introductory aspect to them but I don’t feel it’s the whole reason for this new beard craze. I think, and I may be wrong, I think it’s the Movember movement. Yes, since Movember has been encouraging men to grow their facial hair for a whole month I have seen a social change towards “The Beard” perhaps because like me men find they actually become attached to it or it to them 😉 or perhaps their partner happens to like their new look, for a change, seeing as they may have never grown a beard until Movember so she never got to see if she liked her man “in a beard” so to speak.
Inside the beard – I’m not talking about the food that gets caught in it at meal time, or the sparrows you find nesting there during cold snaps, both stereo types that any beard wearing man deeply resents. I’m speaking about the mentality behind a beard.
There is a lot more to a beard than meets the eyes, the roots run deep, all the way to parts of the brain that make a beard an emotional attachment. Speaking as a man who has worn a beard through most of his adult life, I can honestly say any time I shaved, for various reasons, I gently mourned my loss. My friend had gone and would take a long time to return, or at least the way he once was. A 5 o’clock shadow isn’t good enough, that’s more like a comb over to a bearded man, just pretending, or a field goal after being at the 1 yard line missing out on a touch down. For a beard to truly be present once more it must grow to it’s last full length or it’s never quite there.
A bearded man has an instant connection with other bearded men that shaved men don’t even have with each other let alone with other bearded men. There is a clear divide between the beardless and the bearded which cannot be explained but it is there, we can sense it. When a group of men with beards stand talking and a beardless man enters the group the atmosphere changes and likewise the other way around.
Those without beards quietly mock those with beards and gang up on the bearded man once in numbers, saying silly comments like those stereo types I mentioned before. When bearded men get together they get their own back with comments such as “how long until you hit puberty?” or “this is the men’s section, boy’s sit over there.”
Is my mustache enough? I’m afraid a mustache or goatee isn’t enough, it’s more of a half-hearted attempt at facial hair but it never really gets accepted in either of the two groups, creating a sub group floating in the middle much like Cyclists (beardless) on one side, Bikers (bearded) on the other side and mopeds and scooters (goatees and Mustaches) in the middle.
Anyway that’s my take on the subject, Hair today done tomorrow? Only time will tell perhaps.