Let’s face it; beards are cool again. For a long, long time the bearded man suffered much scorn from the ‘civilized’ world. “Oh, he must be in a heavy metal band…” “He mustn’t have a job that pays him enough to afford a good razor,” and of course, “he must be homeless.” Any man who wore a beard prior to the beard explosion of around 2008 can attest to this. We’ve all heard it. And yet, when it comes to the beard, history has a way of forgetting that many a great man wore a beard of some variety, and looked epically cool doing so.
Seriously, go track down some images of some American Civil War Generals and you’ll get the picture (note to reader; Longstreet, James. Most epic period ever.) The notorious outlaw Jesse James died in a beard after being betrayed by Robert Ford (who couldn’t even grow one!), and the man voted greatest President in U.S. history, none other than Abraham Lincoln, also wore a beard. I even bet if you look to the right of your screen, (like right now) you may even see an advertisement containing a heavily bearded man.
So, why are beards back in vogue? It’s been surmised by many a wise cultural theorist that the resurgence of the beard may have many significant deeper meanings. The recession, and subsequent loss of jobs left fewer men needing to shave every morning before heading to Wall Street. Divorce rates are also on the rise, perhaps due to said economic difficulties, and psychologists have explained a man’s beard as a way to hide his emotional trauma. Combine the two and we’re told men grow beards to assert their Alpha status in a time when many have lost it, either at work, in a relationship, or both.
Ok, all may be valid points; but this isn’t Freud or Nietzsche (both of whom had beards) writing this article. It’s a guy with a beard, and a guy who’s almost always had a beard ever since he could grow one, writing it. A guy who watched beards all of a sudden become cool long after he already thought they were, first; with hipster musicians (ie. City and Colour) then among the truly rich and famous, guys like David Beckham and Brad Pitt. If those two grow beards, the world of men will follow. So, the secret is out. Beards are cool again, and there are more benefits than ever to grow one.
6. You Can Look Like A Musician
Back in the 1960s and 70s almost every band had at least one member with a really killer beard. During the Abbey Road and Let it Be years, the Beatles all had beards at some point. John Lennon in particular was found of the beard, even going so far as to create a Christmas card during his bed in for peace stating; “Beards are Epic! if you grow it.” But sadly, then slick 80s pop happened, and as the music got more feminine sounding, so did the image of the band members. From beards and long hair to clean shaves and makeup, a disgrace of immense proportions befell rock and roll. Beards were relegated to the fringes, namely the metal genre where having a beard is a prerequisite to articulate brutality and toughness. Well, fear not aspiring musicians. Ever since the acoustic warbling of bearded and bespectacled hipster icon Dallas Green AKA City and Colour, and similar artists of the neo-folk genre started growing their beards, it’s cool to be in a band and have a beard again. While the feminine sounding music hasn’t changed (at least to these ears), at least the masculine image has made a resurgence via the beard. And hey, it’s always easier to impress people who ask by saying you’re a “sensitive neo-folk artist in touch with his masculine side” than to say “I play guitar for Lamb of God.” Arguably.
5. You Can Tell Everyone You’re a Revolutionary or an Activist
Ever seen pictures of Fidel Castro, or the mythical Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara before they grew beards? They certainly didn’t look like two guys who could take a boat with less than 100 men to Cuba and take over an entire country in a revolution. But once those two grew beards, and threw on some fatigues, it was on. A baby faced doctor from Argentina isn’t going to have much luck rallying a group of poorly equipped revolutionaries, let alone instilling fear into them, but grow that beard and men fall into line and listen. Growing a beard and buying that iconic ‘Che’ shirt will go a long way in endearing you to the left leaning, politically inclined activists who want to ‘change the world.’
4. This Guy
3. “Park Avenue Leads to Skid Row”
How many men the world over wake up in the morning, shave, shower and head to work, to the job they dread, to the office they hate, clean shaven and in the suit and tie they can’t stand, everyday thinking; “this is my life?” Probably a lot more than would admit, right? But have no fear, the beard is here. Take back control of your life and quit that corporate job, grow a beard and find happiness. Beards let you do things on your OWN terms. Beards show the rest of the world who’s the boss. A beard signals that you’re your own man, and don’t answer to corporate America. You answer to yourself, and that is firmly without a razor. Be a rebel, and remember, now that beards are cool, you’ll still get a job in a coffee shop, or a bookstore and no one will ever think you’re homeless.
2. Shaving SUCKS
Shaving sucks. It’s the worst thing ever. No razor out there even really works. And be honest, most of us get stuck buying some variation of a disposable razor, because the ‘good’ kind are $40 dollar turbo charged razors made of horse hair. And they still don’t work. Every time you shave, great razor, cheap razor, electric razor, you’re bound for at least a minimum of 5 cuts on your neck, your upper lip or your jaw line. Bleeding ensues, and, after dealing with the ingrown hairs on your neck, you decide; it’s beard time. Growing a beard alleviates most, if not all, of the problems shaving creates. If you grow the full beard out and include the bonus points neck beard, you’re entirely set. No more shaving problems, ever. To reiterate, shaving SUCKS. Grow a beard and rejoice.
1. Chicks Apparently Dig Beards
Who knows when this happened, I missed the boat, but apparently women like beards on men again. The Internet is full of memes that can attest to this, and the fact that there are a predominant number of actors in Hollywood that have all taken to growing a beard nowadays further proves it. If it’s good enough for Hollywood, that massive maker of all things cool, then it must be true: the beard is a sex symbol once more. Furthermore, the once clean-shaven men in advertisements have all by and large been replaced, and by much cooler bearded ones (unless it’s the same guy with a beard??). And let’s be totally honest, the fact that the guys from Duck Dynasty are adored by women the world over truly illustrates how far the beard has been rehabilitated in a woman’s eyes. Clearly, this ain’t your mother’s beard.
No more shaving. The beard is back, and if used wisely it can yield great rewards. A powerful tool of rebellion, a display of your Alpha dog status, a way to brag about your band without being embarrassed by the style of music you play, or a way to show your revolutionary political side, the beard delivers on all levels. Tattoos don’t hurt either. And remember, Vikings. Vikings always had beards.