28 September 2011
As you know, I'm generally not the kind of chap who would turn his nose up at a hairy puss. Not when the beard in question belongs to an angry Viking or mountain sage. Or HRH Prince Michael of Kent (at left), whose beard looks entirely proper and appropriate. I myself have been known to grow wild whiskers in blonde and red. But when carefully-cultivated facial hair starts showing up on the smug mugs of young middle-class professionals--well, even I have second thoughts. In recent months I have noticed an increase in young beards in the local community, including the office. It almost goes without saying there are some chaps who simply shouldn't even try, such as a certain short, weedy 59-year old senior tutor with curly hair, thick specs, and a rangy beard with bits of Weetabix stuck in it, who is inadvertently caught down the pub skipping his lecture. But I can't explain the latest trend. There's something suspicious about it. It screams "trying too hard". Are young men following the dictates of some pop icon or fashion guru? Are they trying to showcase their masculinity, or hide a chubby face? It's bad enough that they are young. Why must they be scruffy, too?