The internet hath spoketh and beards, specifically those of the longer variety, are apparently no longer fashionable. Beards are over, but really, what the fuck does that even mean? According to multiple black holes of the internet, like Mashable and Metro, two places that I always head to for grooming advice, the beard trend has run its course and now men around the world will need to shave in order to be active participants in society. However, I beg to differ.
As Refinery 29’s Maria Del Russo points out in her personal reaction piece to this hairy (or lack there of) development, beards were grown and fawned over before this recent trend and they will continue to be in the future as well. There might not have been as many bearded men wandering the streets 10 years ago, but those who were grew their beards for the same reason that many men will continue to do so moving forward: because they like having one.
Growing a beard is literally the easiest thing you can do: Step one, don’t shave. Step two, repeat. Although certain male models might have trouble booking jobs while sporting substantial beards, that doesn’t mean that guys are suddenly going to go back to being universally completely shaven. We all have our own reasons for growing and keeping our beards, for instance: the ability to stroke your beard and stare off into space while pondering one’s existence, hiding multiple chins, eliciting reactions from desirable onlookers, and looking as though you might know your way around an ax being just a few of them. However, all beardsmen keep their beards because, simply put, we enjoy being bearded.
I’ve consistently had a beard on my face for the past seven years. In terms of my reasoning for keeping it, that’s always changing, but besides looking like a baby-faced 18-19 year old sans-beard and just really despising the process of shaving as a whole, my beard is a part of who I am, both physically and mentally. There were momentary lapses of reason, such as when I thought my beard was the only thing keeping me from getting a job straight out of college in 2010, however, I now consider my beard to be an actual extension of my personality, it’s as much a part of me as my sense of humor or love of cold pizza are.
When people see me from afar or meet me for the first time, my beard is more often than not the first thing they point out. The reactions aren’t always enthusiastically supportive, but for the most part folks dig it. As for the individuals out there who simply don’t like facial hair, I feel no ill will towards you whatsoever, we all have our preferences when it comes to mates. However, please don’t assume that beardsmen are “dirty” or “unclean” simply because of our beards. Guys that are “dirty” or “unclean” are so because they simply are “dirty” or “unclean,” it has absolutely nothing to do with the presence of a beard.
A beard might be an identifying characteristic of a man, sometimes the most so, but just because a guy has a beard doesn’t make them anything else simply based on the presence of their facial hair. Behind every beard, every single hair, there’s still a man and more likely than not, he’d be happy to talk to you and maybe even let you touch his face. As long as you ask nicely.