Beards have been making a comeback lately. They’re part of the “lumbersexual” movement, and they have the magical power of immediately making a man look more…manly. The beard is also seen as a rite of passage for some guys, similar to when a young woman gets her first pair of high heels. Beards give the indication that a man is mature, highly intelligent and ready to engage in a thought-provoking conversation while sipping on a scotch on the rocks in a most sophisticated manner. Also, it makes lots of guys look way better in rugged jeans and flannel shirts.
While the beard is a fashion statement that goes in and out of style every few years, this creative display of facial hair also has a long history. Beards have been around for centuries, and they mean different things in different cultures. If you’re thinking about growing a beard, wondering if you can actually grow a beard, or love someone who has (or wants) a beard, it’s probably best to you know a few facts about this facial fashion statement. After all, if you’re going to wear a beard, it’s only right that you know how to care for it, or at least how to share fun facts about it at parties. Here are 12 facts about beards that you probably didn’t know.
12. Pogonophobia Is The Fear Of Beards
Believe it or not, there are actually people who are afraid of beards. Individuals who suffer from pogonophobia may experience nausea or anxiety attacks when they’re close to someone who has a beard. Irregular heartbeat and sweating are also symptoms of pogonophobia. We understand that some people don’t care for beards, which is fine, but having a debilitating fear of facial hair has got to be pretty unpleasant for pogonophobics who have to be in small spaces with bearded people like the office or the local grocery store. Perhaps therapy or hypnosis can help individuals with pogonophobia. After all, they work for many of the other phobias that exist.
11. Beards Increase A Man’s Social Status
A study conducted by Dixson and Vasey in 2012 indicated that women perceived men with beards to be of a higher social status. Women also tend to think that bearded men are older, and it’s no secret that ladies often prefer to date older men. Having a beard is a symbol that a guy is especially masculine, and shows that he’s conquered the (sometimes challenging) feat of growing a full beard. Basically, guys who have never had a problem growing facial hair after puberty are more likely to get adoring stares from women, and guys who are on the fence about growing a beard may be more likely to give it a try as a result of this study.
10. Beards Grow Faster In the Daytime
This may be because when a beard is in the sun, it gets more vitamin D, which stimulates healthy hair growth. Or, maybe beard hair just prefers daylight. This may explain why vampires and other villains who only come out at night are either clean-shaven or have minimal facial hair. So, if you want your beard to grow faster and want the hair to appear shiny and healthy, get as much daylight as you can. This also (kind of) explains why lumberjacks and other guys who work outdoors tend to have pretty impressive beards. That, and the fact that these men likely keep their beards trimmed and well-conditioned.
9. Touching a Beard Could Lead to a Fight
During the Middle Ages, if a man touched another man’s beard, this was grounds for a duel. That’s right; beards are serious business. Beards have long been seen as a sign of manliness, and touching the beard of another man was seen as an insult and a threat to the “assaulted” man’s ego. So, naturally, a sword fight was the only way to settle this dispute. Of course, walking up to a stranger and touching his beard is still a violation of personal space. It’s no longer socially acceptable to get into a duel with someone over beard touching, but it’s probably best to keep your hands to yourself, unless you have permission to touch another guy’s beard.
8. Beard Growing Was a Sign of Mourning
Some men shave their faces when they lose a friend or loved one. Many guys see this as a sign of starting over and want to change their look to show that a significant event has happened in their lives. However, in Roman culture, men would leave their beards unshaven to show that they were in mourning. This actually makes sense as well, since shaving is usually the last thing on a person’s mind when he’s grieving. Since everyone mourns differently (and everyone’s hair grows at a different rate), it’s likely that some men’s beards grew pretty long during their grieving period.
7. Kings Used Their Beards On Official Documents
In ancient times, when a king wanted to show how earnest and/or powerful he was, he added three of his beard hairs to his wax seal. This sent the message to the people of the land that the decree set forth by the king was binding and should be given special attention. There weren’t any caps lock features or emojis back then, so the kings figured that the best way to let the people of their territories know they meant business was to seal their documents with beard hairs. After all, nothing says royalty like plucking a few hairs from your beard and attaching it to a document along with your signature.
6. Beards Can Protect From Allergies
The fuller a man’s beard is, the more likely he is to be protected from dust and pollen. This can really come in handy during the spring and summer months, and is especially useful for guys who love to be outdoors. If allergies run in a man’s family, it’s probably a good idea for him to grow a beard. The pollen, dander or dust gets trapped in the beard, which means it doesn’t make its way to the nose or eyes. Living a life with less sneezing, watery eyes and nose itching is appealing to virtually anyone, and a beard is one way to achieve that.
5. There Used to Be a Beard Tax
During the 17th century in Russia, men who wanted to wear beards had to pay 100 rubles a year. Obviously, this was just a way for the government to find a way to get more money from its people. It’s a shame that men were punished just for having beards, but when you want to have a thriving economy, you’ve got to find ways to be creative. As a consolation prize, these men were issued a medallion that said “the beard is a useless burden.” Luckily, all the beard hate has died down for the most part, but you still see a lot of clean-shaven Russian guys these days.
4. Beards Could Lead To a Lack of Dates
Some scientists believe that men shave their facial hair in order to make women feel safer around them. It has also been concluded that, in some cases, men will only grow their beards if they feel it will be easy for them to find a spouse. So, while some women see beards as a sign of worldliness and class, others feel that guys with beards are weird and have something to hide. Perhaps, just to play it safe, guys should just go with the happy medium of wearing a well-trimmed mustache and goatee, so they don’t scare away the ladies.
3. Most Rich Men Don’t Have Beards
Ninety-eight percent of the men on the Forbes’ 100 list do not have beards. Perhaps this is because beards are intimidating to some people, and these men wanted to make sure they didn’t offend anyone in the business world (aesthetically, at least). Since beards also make guys look older, these businessmen may have opted to be clean-shaven to give the impression that they are young, in touch with current business trends, and full of ideas. It’s also pretty common knowledge that beards are not a part of corporate culture, since some people think that full beards don’t go well with business attire.
2. Abraham Lincoln Got His Beard Cues From a Little Girl
An 11-year-old girl named Grace Bedel wrote to President Lincoln and suggested that he grow a beard. Bedel stated that Lincoln would look “a great deal better” with a beard, since he had a thin face. Luckily, Honest Abe took Grace’s advice. The beard actually became part of his signature look, along with his black suit and top hat. Some even assert that Lincoln’s beard made him look more sophisticated and trustworthy. It may be a long shot, but the beard could have contributed to Lincoln’s success as president, since it’s not hard to see that it definitely made him look better, and no one wants to be led by a president who isn’t at least average looking.
1. Beards Grow Better With Celibacy
When a man hasn’t had sex in a while, his beard grows much better. Perhaps it’s because his hormonal makeup is a little different when he isn’t releasing excess sex hormones. Keeping this extra testosterone in the body leads to fuller hair growth, and the hair can sometimes be thicker and stronger. While most men are probably not willing to go on a sex fast in order to get a better beard, this does explain why some creepy guys tend to have very full beards. However, we don’t recommend that you stare at guys with long beards with a judgmental look in your eye. That would just be rude.