28 September 2011

Bearded Weirdies

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?

15 comments:

NJS said...

Well, maybe contrary to Brazilian tradition, we happen to have many very furry pussies. Brazilians, you see, generally prefer to keep dogs. But I take your main point: it's the little stubbly goatees which really - well - get my goat -a beard should be either a proper full set or come off. There are no in betweens.

Scott Alexander said...

I don't find the trend to follow the influence of a particular celebrity, it seems to have slowly grown in the last two years. There are two styles with which I take issue. First, there's the pretentious chinstrap look, trimmed down like a topiary. Then you have the unkempt and scraggly hipster look. Here, the beard is worn for the sake of the trend, and this is where the problem exists.

I've kept a beard for several years now, but keep it trimmed and combed as one should.

v. Braun. said...

Maybe, the darker ones hair-colour, the better groomed ones beard ought to be (in order to look good)...

Like pipe-smoking, a man should try a full beard at least once in life to see if it fits him.

Cinema Nostalgia said...

Or how about that dreadful neck-beard? Ugh. You know the ones where there is no actual beard but they let the bristles beneath the jawline grow. What's that all about anyway?? Mercifully there are very few of those.

Rich Fader said...

"I saw Prince Michael walking with the Queen
"Doing the Werewolves of London…"

Lisa G. said...

It's definitely a trend that's correlated to the hipster and wanna-be hipster boom. 90% of the fellas I see at concerts are sporting some facial hair growth.

Anonymous said...

Clergy, unless Orthodox, shouldn't wear bears. Period.

Cyprian Korzeniowski said...

Anonymous at 17:30 ~ I beg to differ. The lack of facial hair would detract from the Presbyterian R.L. Dabney's fanatical, Old Testament visage.

A.E.F. said...

Admiral, facial hair is abhorrent and deeply unkissable in all forms. If I were President I would make razors available free via a state aid program.

A Super Dilettante said...

I remember reading something about Peter the Great from St. Peterburg, Russia who apparently had a special tax on those who insist on wearing beards. It sounds very dictatorial (and thank god we don't live in that era) but you are right, some people should know what suits them and what doesn't suit them.

Morty62 said...

It is an indie-rock fashion statement. They grow the beards because they think it gives them an "authentic" rough-hewn look. Rather than let their vacant baby-faces develop character they opt for this lame, scruffy camoflage. some even go for the whole "Grizzly Adams" beard, as if they had just come back from checkin' on Grandma's still.

David said...

My reason for maintaining a trim beard is that I truly and dearly hate shaving, at least I will until a company can prove to me they can completely prevent the inevitable army of ingrown hairs and burns on my baby soft skin. Up to now, I've spent a lot of time and money being convinced otherwise.

Now haircuts these days, that's something different entirely. If you're going to sprout facial hair at least keep a tidy mane.

Anonymous said...

Pan Korzeniowski, thanks for the exception.
But look at the legions of "beardie weirdies" in seminaries and in churches who think it makes them look more "relevant" because they look like an imitation hippy.
Middle-class, middle-aged and middle-brow. LLBean at prayer.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Anon @14:5 ~ "LLBean at prayer." Classic.

Anonymous said...

A fitting anthology of the Dickhead phenomenon - a UK expression, aka as "Hipster" in the former colonies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVmmYMwFj1I