Thursday, March 24, 2011


I just updated my Facebook picture for the first time in a couple months, and in so doing replaced the image of my previously rather tame facial hair with the 4 months of solid fur growth I'm currently sporting. The reaction was immediate. Within half an hour I'd had about 30 comments, with a battle taking place between 4 different people over whether or not I needed to shave. And I should note that these were not just those Facebook friends people have because they met at a party once, two years ago. In fact, I have known every person involved in that discussion for at least 10 years. And there they were, battling back and forth over facial hair that none of them had to wear, demonstrating yet again how bizarrely divisive beards can be.

I really don't understand the opposition. I'm not sure I ever will. I've heard theories, of course:

Some have claimed that many women hate beards because they represent something purely masculine and that they make their husbands and boyfriends shave to emasculate them. While I suppose I could see some psychological validity to that theory, it seems awfully dramatic for something so simple.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I've heard women claim that men only grow facial hair when they're too lazy to shave, so it indicates laziness or slothfulness or some other comparable "-ness" that indicates that one is dirty and useless. While I'm certain there are cases where this is true, it seems so narrow minded that I like to believe people are above such generic profiling.

The reality behind the vehement opposition so frequently induced by beard growth is, as is often the case, probably somewhere in between these two extremes. But in a world where people routinely dye their hair, get tattoos and piercings, and wear all sorts of wild clothing and makeup it just seems totally bizarre to me that something which just grows naturally when you simply leave it alone can stir up so much fuss from so many people.


  1. I hold the same opinion as you do: a beard is something that occurs naturally for a man, much like any other secondary sex characteristic. No matter how much opposition you run into, your beard is yours and it's up to you to wick all of the negative comments off and keep moving forward. Yes, some jobs will not want you; but do you really want to work for people who are so shallow that they judge others based on something as natural as facial hair? Yes, some women/men will not want to be with a man who has a beard; but do you really want to be with someone else, regardless of how "hot" they are, when they don't like you as you are? I've heard lots of people describe beards as "B.S. filters". They certainly seem to work as such; and, frankly, that's a good thing.

    I've had this beard of mine since I was 18. It's been longer and shorter and fuller and thicker and thinner and all over the place over the years. But, regardless, it's been, and that's what counts in my book.

  2. There certainly seems to be some validity to the "B.S. filter" statement. It's nice to hear an opinion similar to my own on the subject.