Men's Beards - A Choice or a Fashion Statement

You know how sometimes things seem to have a kind of synchronicity in how they play out. They then take on a life of their own, like this article for instance. I got up one morning, got coffee and turn on the computer.  I found myself on Facebook, watching a lumberjack of a man, with a long unkempt beard wearing only long John pant bottoms. He is outside in the freezing snow, moving around in this crazy funny dance screeching like a banshee. underneath the post was this comment “Who's that woman with a beard?”

I then turned to my E-mail post for the day, I found a comment from my web-e-zine reader asking me why I had that coffee mug up to my mouth (in the February web site picture.) Followed then by the comment “You look like you’re hiding.” I was taken aback by this because my perception of the picture was that I was giving a salute or toast to getting up getting moving with that morning cup of java.

Later that morning I was seated at a small bistro table, in earshot of a table of women who after ordering their lunch, had their conversation turn quickly to men: Talking about guys who wear beards, agreeing on the statement “you can’t trust the unkempt bearded guy. They are usually trying to put off doing something or they are hiding something.” Of course, these ladies could have been easily dismissed as Pogonophobia (those with the fear of beards) and that would have been the end of it.

Getting back to work, that afternoon at my computer, I find additional E-mail post. These e-mail post, in essence, are asking why I had that coffee mug up to my mouth, followed by, in essence, comments to the effect of: “You don’t look open and welcoming,” “You Look as if you’re trying to hide.”

Which then gave me pause, grist to my mill so to speak in thinking about the connection between having something in front of, or on the face that causes a reaction, that may be perceived, not as the perception you had intended it to be. My thoughts went back to those comments from the ladies at lunch and the conversation on men’s beards.

Which is how this article came into being. Thus, this issue is about the perception of image and how that might play out. More importantly, it is about making your choices, in a way that reflects your innate being. Your uniqueness rather than a one of the herd consciousness. This can be one of those moments for you to be clear and honest (to nobody but yourself), on why you came to your choice to have or have not facial hair. We know that some of the drivers for this decision have to do with wanting to be trendy, hip, cool, popular, sexy, and finally into those deeper issues of successful, relevant and or happy.

Trends and fads within the last four decades, we have seen Male hair grooming go from (on the top of his head) short to long to bald. Hair is like the only beauty regiment some men will allow themselves and with it disappearing off the top of the head, I am not surprised that it had moved to the face.

Within the last ten years’ Facial hair has become the trending part of the new Gen-XY male sexual persona, with various schools of thought advocating on how much or little to trim of facial hair. The Downside to this is, I have found that these same men, who will not shave beards have no problem shaving armpits and pubic hair evidenced at public showers such as alethic club, circling around the shower drains.

Why even Duluth Trading Company has a great Advert out – Tame Your Pelt Sasquatch – ‘Simply Great Beard Oil’- the difference between the beards of Greek Gods and Hobos.  It seems these oils have names such as Datenite (classy and bold), Dirt (earthy and fresh), Leather (smell of leather), and Lumberjack (fresh split pine and cedar). the oil, come highly recommended as reported by user Sal of Nashville, I paraphrase his comments - “softens the straw hedge, prevents skin irritation and what I really got a kick out of “the scent barges into the room and bellow man coming through!"

In the mid to late 1900’s….say up until 2006, before the Beards fashion trend really took off, critics had hinted at a psychological connection between a man and his beard, as hiding his true nature under the guise of cover to bolster those with less aggressive trendies, those who were shy, self-conscious, or in need of a little self-confidence.  It is a fact, that for many men a beard can make you look Older and More Aggressive.  The rub comes when the reason for the beard, it cannot predict your standing in the group, or with either the love of the ladies or feeling successful in business or life.

Ancient Wall Man with beard.jpg

Move this fashion trend forward to 2016, were beards have propagated like rabbits, brings the new dilemma for the beard owners, how to stand out with confidence from the crowd in going forward, or in bringing about the success that should be yours in your life.  It may mean going back to basics, looking at your strengths and weakness in your job or personal life- trim out the useless, massaging the skills that could take you forward, considering your range of options for change, now these options might require some genuine courage and determination on your part, but well worth it in the dividends. Think about it, the True trendsetters are off starting something new, hell that could be you.

In the end, it should not matter what your message is, as long as you and your persona are in line with each other, saying the same thing and you are happy with it. Like anything else in Life, it is about the enjoyment of expressing your creativity and character. Even if someone else mistakes your manliness for a screaming naked woman in the snow. Enjoy the irony, breathe and laugh. Enjoy your life. Take a tip from Maya Angelou - “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”