Have you been watching sports this year? Has it occurred to anyone else that this is now the hairiest profession? Who put out the word that every guy on every team should grow some sort of facial hair? I have not seen so much facial hair since the movie Lincoln debuted. Historically, some teams have had the traditional playoff beards, but now all sport teams have taken facial hair to a new height. . . or length. Only the managers must have gotten the clean-shaven message from the front office.
I doubt that athletes or even the producers of Lincoln know that over the course of history, beards have been associated with attributes such as wisdom, sexual virility, masculinity or higher status. Masculinity I get, although there are women who have beards -- We'll get to that in a moment. But why would facial hair give one wisdom, or a better sex life? Beards are clearly not giving a bunch of teams much to cheer about right now. And regarding status? I would think that one who had a razor would have higher status than one who did not. Razors are not new, just more expensive.
In the 15th Century most European men were clean-shaven. A hundred years later they were growing beards with a passion for length and fullness. Then beards got smaller and somewhat artistic in the 17th century. To be contemporary with the Europeans, Russia's Peter the Great ordered all Russian men to shave off their beards and levied and tax against those who did not. Has Obama or Boehner thought of this yet? Remember the Bible story about Samson who was strong because he had a beard? Well everyone had a beard. When Samson was sleeping and had his head and beard shaved it was said that then he was captured, as his strength was gone. No. His BO was gone. According to modern biologists, women find men with beards more attractive than those without. Have you noticed that all biologists have beards? Kissing a beard or looking at one with food stuck in it does not make a man more attractive. It is itchy and dirty. How many men shampoo their beards before going to bed?
Hence the title of this blog, Did I Shave My Legs for This? That's actually the title of 1996 country song sung by Deana Carter pining away about lost promises from her sweeatheart. Well I'm not shaving anything for some scruffy guy. I realize that it sounds barbaric to consider taking a razor to scrape off your face every day, but just try your legs or underarms. And we'll skip the waxing part, although now guys think it is mandatory to wax their chests. Does a bald chest make one more virile than a hairy one? How about the stubble when it starts to grow back. Is that as sexy as a guy who shaves every three or four days? And if you cannot grow a real beard -- stop growing those sparsely populated patches on your face. It is just not attractive. It looks just plain dirty.
Now the promise of thoughts on women with beards. Only a small number of women have enough facial hair to grow an actual beard. During the 19th and 20th centuries bearded women were celebrated in the circus. It might not surprise you to know that many of those women were men dressed as women -- oh those clever Barnum and Bailey folks. How about a current performer, Jennifer Miller, who is a bearded fire-eating juggler in today's modern circus? Yes, some women like their beards. Oprah Winfrey once had an episode advertised as "Women With Beards." While perhaps not her shining TV moment, the ratings were huge.
Beards have names; so if you have one, make sure to name yours. You have the Full Beard (hair all over and a mustache), the Chin Curtain (a little slice of beard with or without a mustache), the Chin Strip (really a chin "stripe), the Balbo (can't figure out the geometry on that one), the Wide Goatee (takes longer to manicure than straightening your hair, ladies), the Door Knocker (a goatee gone wild), Manicured Scruff (why bother -- just shave the rest of it off), the Soul Patch (for those who can't grow a full beard), and more. My husband just called his Phred and shaved it off when told it made him look older.
Like dress lengths, beards will come and go . . . I hope mostly go. If Phred returns, I am not shaving my legs until the hair is as long as the beard.