“You call it facial hair. I call it awesomeness escaping through my face.” Statements like these have become increasingly popular over the past couple of years. Having a beard is no longer only for old men, Santa and warming up in winter. They can now be seen in different styles and lengths on men of varying ages. The age of the beard is now.
This masculine mark can be seen on some of the most prominent men in history, such as Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx and even sometimes on the occasional woman. The beard has definitely come a long way since the 18th century when men had to carry a beard token proving that they had paid their beard tax.
Nowadays there are societies and clubs that men can join where they encourage each other to grow their beards longer, rate each other’s beards and even give each other grooming advice. Among these are The British Beard Club who host an annual Beerdfest and Beardimus Maximus which has raised approximately $92 486 (R1 027 519.46) for charities. Then there are the more mysterious clubs such as the Gotham City Beard Alliance, who meet in a place obscurely named Otto’s Shrunken Head. However, these are just a few examples of the many beard clubs available around the world.
Not only are there many different brands of beardcare products, such as VitaBeard, but there are also barber shops that specialise in the grooming and trimming of your facial fur. Some men place even greater emphasis on grooming their beards in order to be taken seriously at the World Beard & Moustache Championships. This event is held annually and men compete against each other in different categories such as “full beard natural”, “freestyle full beard” and “garibaldi” in order to determine who the best beard-bearer is. Currently, the record for the longest beard on a living male is held by Sarwan Singh from Canada. His beard measures at 2.37m.
Among the countless benefits of having a beard is the increased popularity of beards among women. A study conducted by the University of New South Wales and published in the journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society finds that women find men with heavy stubble most attractive. The abstract of the article further explains, “Our findings confirm that beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring.” It is no longer unpleasant to date a bearded man. As Minnie Pearl eloquently puts it, “Kissing a man with a beard is a lot like going to a picnic. You don’t mind going through a little bush to get there.”
The New York Times verifies that we are currently in a “peak beard” period in Guy Trebay’s article titled “The Modern Man: Suited and Hirsute”. Trebay says that this is due to a “generational shift from the smooth cheeks that defined Western masculinity for at least 100 years”.
There is just something to be said for the popularity and the power of the beard. After all, that guy with the face only became Chuck Norris once he grew a beard. So face facts and reap the rewards by growing your own beard, but remember, with great beard comes great responsibility.