Gary, a new commenter on the blog, kindly sent in a photo of his great-great-grandfather:
That’s quite an amazing beard! Thanks, Gary.
How would such a beard be viewed today? Too radical? Why? Gary’s ancestor looks like quite the sophisticated gentleman and the beard is the perfect accessory.
I recently was alerted to an online rant by a young lady. She stridently expressed her absolute and utter loathing of beards and body hair. According to her preferences, all traces of them should be removed from men. Interestingly, facial hair and body hair are two of the main male secondary sex characteristics, which are physical features that distinguish men from women. In essence, she was screaming for men to be more similar to women. What good is that? The physical differences between men and women should be celebrated rather than obliterated. Grow your beard!
In a recent comment on this blog, Joseph Alexander suggested that perhaps not all are worthy of the beard. While this site’s unrelenting message is to promote beards and to encourage the growth of beards, I recognize that beards are not for everyone. For some, the problem is the lack of facial hair follicles to do the job. It’s no fault of their own. That’s mother nature’s call and there’s not much that can be done about it. That’s why I encourage those who don’t have the follicles to produce a full beard to select another style that makes the most of the follicles that they have. If you have so few facial hair follicles that none of the beard styles seem to work for you, then it’s probably better to go back to shaving.
A beard, whatever style, should enhance your appearance. If it just doesn’t work and doesn’t look right, then maybe a beard simply is not for you. Just don’t be too hasty in making that determination. A new beard that may not appear to stand a chance may actually blossom into an admirable creation if given sufficient time. That’s why the let-it-grow-for-at-least-six-weeks rule is so important, especially for someone unsure of his beard-growing capability. Give it a try. If after six weeks you are happy with the result, then you’ve succeeded! If you are not happy with the results, you could give it a little more time. But if you come to the realization that the beard just did not work for you, it might be time to shave it. You might try again in a year or so to see if it turns out better the next time.
As the northern hemisphere heads into the summer season, some thoughts about beards and summer may be in order. Did you grow one of those “winter beards” and are now thinking of shaving it? Think again. Why not keep the beard?
You’ve made the effort to grow the beard and keep it until now. Why should the change of seasons call for eliminating the beard? Many suspect that it is too uncomfortably hot to keep a beard in summer. Most guys who regularly keep beards for the summer do not find that to be true. The beard typically acts as insulation, helping to keep the face a bit cooler. Similarly, the insulating effect of the beard helps to keep the face warmer in winter.
So, for those of you in the northern hemisphere heading into the warmer temperatures of summer, keep that beard! And for those of you in the southern hemisphere heading into cooler temperatures, now is a perfect time to start growing a new beard. Later on, when your summer comes around, remember to keep the beard!