It was approximately 4 years ago that a 20-something self-proclaimed hipster, who could barely sprout a chest hair himself, decided to educate me on the topic of Beard Culture. He wasn’t very successful in his attempt as, up until recently, I found lengthy beards to be, well, rather gross.
There are two facts regarding beards that I need to share with you before we go any further: 1) You are either going to like beards or you’re not and 2) Someone will either look very good with a beard or downright dog-ugly. There are no gray areas when it comes to beards. It’s all or nothing baby!
The beard as we know it today emerged from humble beginnings. During the 1700’s the growth of facial hair was supposedly triggered by the heat that originated in the liver. I personally believe the burning sensation experienced in the abdominal region was probably caused by a diet consisting of roasted hog and wine (or a yet unidentified STD) but hey, I’m no historian. Through history, the popularity of the beard ebbed and flowed until facial hair fell out of favour completely after the conclusion of the First World War. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like a ban was imposed on chin hair and whiskers, it was still immensely popular amongst members of the biker community and department store Santa’s. It just didn’t sit well with the majority of the population, until 2013 that is.
So who is to blame for the latest revival of the beard-craze and why does it seem to no longer be limited to single-cell organisms and 20-something hipsters? The obvious route to take would be to blame it on the 2013 Award season (the BAFTA’s and Oscars in particular) when a band of merry men lead by none other than George ‘The Beard’ Clooney showed up looking all hairy….and hot. And the rest they say, is history. On the local front many a celeb and pleb fell victim to the beard craze, some pulling the look off rather nicely while some missed the mark completely (imagine Gandalf on crack if you).
One of the most significant transformations I have come across is that of local star Daniel Baron who morphed from a fresh-faced pretty boy into a scary, hairy, delicious specimen of manliness. It’s true that his new look is extreme and that not many would be able to pull it off but he does and boy does he own it!
While the grizzly-faced hipsters are stealing the limelight (and the women) away from the cleanly-shaven metrosexual boys one can’t help but wonder how long this fad could possibly last. By January 2014 everyone was waiting with bated breath to see what new trend would knock the beard of its hairy pedestal – but here, half-way through 2017 it still sits firmly atop its throne and it seems it’s here to stay especially now that the fairer sex has started to warm to their hairy beaus. Although a lot of women generally rate stubble as significantly more attractive than pre-teen clean-shaven lit is only in recent years that the full beard has been embraced romantically.
Fact is, beards are everywhere. You see them in the workplace, on the sports field, on the streets, and in hipster-hangouts like coffee shops and other drinking establishments. Those in the know-how predict that, like with all passing fads, the fascination with the beard too will pass and men will once again look like the cast of The Vampire Diaries, all preppy and clean-shaven. As much as I was never a beard aficionado I fear the next, yet unknown trend even more. We have already caught glimpses of the male romper and I don’t think the world is ready for another fashion disaster of man-bun proportions.
Let’s just hope our guys decide to keep it classy this time around. We’ve been exposed to enough trauma what with vaping and Castle Lite gaining popularity in leaps and bounds. We are quite happy with our men keeping their beards in lieu of forfeiting the next impending disaster. Think of it as boosting our economy! We cannot afford for every Beard Balm producer to go out of business as soon as the fashion trend shifts!
Author: Justine Bishop
Untamed, outspoken and just a little bit crazy.