Beards Are Trending

John W. Pinkerton

Beards are trending (I bet you didn’t think I knew what “trending” meant.).  A few years ago, bearded men were rare.  Today, they’re pretty common.  In the latter half of the  Nineteenth Century, pictures of our Presidents looked like ancient statesmen because of their hirsuit faces.  Today I’m a little surprised none of the current candidates for President aren’t sporting beards.

Benjamin Harrison was the last President with a full beard, 1889-1893.  The first was Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865.  In between were Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield.  It’s been well over a hundred years since our last bearded President; not so much as a mustache.

Part of the reason for this absence of beards is the razor industry.  Beards are obviously not good for their business.

However, beards have stormed back in the last few years.

I joined the bearded bunch about ten years ago.  Linda kept complaining about the cost of razor blades---problem solved.  I also needed a hook for my role as an artist---problem solved.

Now, when I was in college, I sported a goatee (a Maynard G. Crebs) briefly.  It was brief because  a fellow classmate, a young lady, commented that it was awful.  Off came the beard and back to the daily drudgery of shaving.

Speaking of shaving, I missed out on the straight razor age, but the early “safety” razors were quite capable of slicing and dicing one’s face.  Safety razor, my butt.

Why are beards becoming increasingly popular among men?  Well, duh, they’re masculine.  It’s one of the few things that women can’t do.   Cavemen probably never trimmed their facial hair until it tripped them up while chasing mastadons; besides, I’ve never heard of a sissy caveman.

Oddly enough, 95 percent of women prefer beardless men.    Ladies, think of all the crap you put up with from men---their nasty habits, their childish behavior, et cetera; a beard is the least of your problems.

My beard is simply a beard, no frills.  I only trim it when it interferes with my slurping soup or it takes on a little bit too much of a ZZ Top look…no trimming or shaping.

I found that there are a lot of names for different types of beards: stubble (short, medium and long), French fork, duck tail, circle beard, goatee, extended goatee, imperial, Van Dyke, anchor, Balboa, mutton chops, friendly mutton chops, Verdi, Garibaldi, Dutch, and Bandholz.  Look, if you have one of these, you’re spending way too much time fiddling with your facial hair.

Of course, testosterone stimulates facial hair growth.  However genetics determine how thick and dark facial hair will be, not hormone levels.

I’ve had my beard for close to ten years now.  I suspect if I’d shave it now, folks wouldn’t recognize me.  Come to think of it, I suspect I wouldn’t recognize myself.

So, here’s to the beard, one of the few things women can’t do.


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