Despite the fact that New Englanders everywhere are still mourning the Red Sox quick departure from the pennant race, the 2016 World Series is here, and the Cubs and Indians are providing an exceptional fall baseball rivalry for our viewing pleasure. But, besides the explosive bats and phenomenal fielding, players are also providing viewers with an explosion of facial hair. Whether it’s gracing the faces of players, managers, or coaches, it’s out there, and, it’s in our faces.
Brian Wilson, former pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, was well-known for his full black beard which he grew during the Giants’ playoff run in 2010. In support of his superstitious unwillingness to shave, “Giants’ fans began growing their own beards or wearing fake beards. Many fans chanted “Fear the Beard”, and held up signs bearing the same motto.“(1)
It certainly seems that there is something about the thrill of victory that makes facial hair grow, but, it doesn’t matter if you’re a pro-athlete or just one of the ‘every man’ pack, the list of facial hair style choices is as diverse as the men who seek them out.
Under the beard category there’s the chin curtain, chin strap, mutton chops, Fu Manchu, goat patch, goatee, soul patch, stubble – better known as 5 o’clock shadow, and the beard; short, long, or full-on lumberjack.
For the mustache or ‘moustache’ lover, there’s the handlebar, horseshoe, pencil, walrus, toothbrush, and ‘the Zappa’, to name a few. (2)
Regardless of the category, we are still left to surmise the general fascination with facial hair, and why men want it? Are they lazy, trying to avoid the arduous task of daily shaving? Are they experiencing a ‘Samson’ moment – feeling empowered by their facial hair growth? Are they treating it like an accessory – hey, it’s easier on the body than getting a tattoo? Or, are they simply thinking – “damn, I look good!”
I recently asked my Facebook followers how they felt about facial hair, and the comments varied.
Most women preferred a clean-shaven face, or, if a bit of 5 o’clock shadow was evident, it had to be neat and tidy. A small portion of women found men sexier and more masculine with facial hair, while others, despite popular belief, noted their man looked ten years younger with a beard. Comments like, ‘it depends on the face’ and ‘no beards without a mustache’, were also voiced.
The majority of men responded with nothing but love for their beards and ‘staches, and all felt proper grooming a must. One even noted that his mustache was 35 years old, and his wife wouldn’t have it any other way.
Facial hair is clearly an outward representation of the inner workings of a man. Numerous historical figures have voiced their personalities from behind the warmth of a cozy beard. Wise men like Freud and Hemingway sported beards, soulful men like Lennon and Garcia did too, and let’s not forget the suave and sexy Selleck and Gable. Hey, even Jesus had a beard.
It seems the idea that facial hair makes a man untrustworthy is old school. At one time salesmen were poo pooed for sporting a beard, but not today, as demonstrated by the photos of the bearded wonders in the Dell and Chevy commercials.
Men may grow beards for many different reasons: to hide facial imperfections, add to their accessory wardrobe, to make them look thinner, to come off with a bit more sex appeal, and possibly for reasons of superstition, like our baseball pros, but, no matter the reason, no matter who likes what, if a man wants a beard then so be it; just take care of it boys.
Here’s some care tips and myths:
Cosmetologist Louise Del Chaie, an expert in facial hair grooming, offers these tips for grooming facial hair:
- Shampoo, condition, brush, and comb: It exfoliates dead skin cells trapped under all that facial hair, and no one likes dry scaly skin!
- Leave in conditioner or serum: It keeps facial hair more touchable, manageable, and makes it look healthier.
- Invest in a good beard trimmer!
- Myth Buster: The more you shave the thicker the beard – wrong – it’s an old wives’ tale. Beards do not get thicker, stubble does not increase, and hair color does not change due to repeated shaving.
Best and most telling response from Facebook:
“I like to scratch my beard when I’m thinking…I don’t like cutting myself when I shave. I like the feel of snow on my beard in the winter…I don’t like the feel of cold on my face when I ski. I wish I could grow more hair on the top of my head…I’m glad I can grow hair on my face. Combing my beard feels good…beard oil feels and smells clean and fresh. The taste of sweets lingers in my mustache…I love having facial hair.” Don Wyman, Facebook Friend.
I think that sums it up!
Oh, by the way, remember that No Shave November is upon us. This non-profit organization uniquely grows cancer awareness and raises funds to support cancer prevention, research, and education. “The goal of No Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free.” Their motto is to “put down the razor,” and that goes for you ladies as well; let those leg hairs roam free, if you dare. “The rules of No-Shave November are simple: put down your razor for 30 days and donate your monthly hair-maintenance expenses to the cause.”(3) (check website below for participation information)
A. Bing.com/images – Brian Wilson
B. Better Homes and Gardens December 2015, Scentsicles Ad.
D. bing.com/images – Chevy Silverado commercial actor with real people