You Can Leave Your Beard On

Hello everybody! Today’s topic is men with a beard. No, not necessarily a beard, maybe men with facial hair in general. How come they are so fascinating? Are they so popular at all or is it just a myth? And most importantly: Where can you found them?


I left Athens about a week ago and as a result of the homesickness syndrome I’m suffering from, I spent my lunchtime explaining to a couple friends how all men in Athens looked similar to one another (to me at least). When I mentioned that most men in Greece have dark skin –in comparison to the extremely pale Germans- and facial hair, a tornado of aahs, oohs and smiles followed. Whether they come from Greece just like me, Egypt, Italy or Germany, the preference for men with facial hair was mutual.

Mustaches still face some criticism, mostly due to the hipster nation craziness; however, beards and the “haven’t shaved for a couple days/ weeks” look are true winners. There is something incomprehensibly enticing about a man with facial hair. Mostly because they symbolize some level of maturity that goes along with becoming an adult. Yes, they are a sort of statement: I am not a teenager anymore; I am a proper grown-up, a man. Take Zac Efron for example: No beard? He looks like a 12 year old. Beard on? You might never be able to get over the fact that he starred in High School Musical, however he looks much more decent and adult-like. What about when they are not as mature as their beards make them look -which happens most of the time, I’d like to add? Blame us women for being visual creatures!

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As my friend N. brilliantly pointed out, a beard is to men what a makeup kit is to women. Men can take advantage of this “gift” of nature called facial hair in order to hide trivial imperfections; unlike women who have to trust themselves on the hands of cosmetic companies. In high school lots of my fellow classmates –at least those who could actually grow a beard- skipped shaving for a few days so as to make their acne less visible. In addition, I’ve seen many men trying to disguise a not too flattering, well, dewlap or jaw under a blanket of facial hair. Most of them were really indie, artistic or into music, so take notice, ladies!


To prove that my initial assertion is true and not a pure myth, I’m going to examine it the other way around: What happens when men who used to go around with a little hairy friend on their face actually shave? Few acquaintances of mine recently had to do their compulsory military service, where they were obliged to shave off their hair as well as their FACIAL hair. Which was single-handedly a disaster and as such ended up on Facebook. Taking the beard from a bearded man is like taking the Cheer- out of Cheerios, preparing stuffing without chestnuts and filming a romantic movie without a happy ending. Pointless.



So, here we come to last point I mentioned in my prologue. Where do we find them? I’m not a man-hunting expert but as flâneuraddicted to people watching, there are a couple things I’d like to share: Look south ladies, look south! Whether around the Mediterranean sea or South America, the hottest the climate, the hairiest the faces of the men are (which, if you think about it, doesn’t really make sense… If the climate’s so warm, having a beard during summer must be a true torture. Whatever!) The last months I’ve been living in Germany and I realized that men here (mostly German but also Frenchmen, Russians, Poles and Englishmen) are 1) incapable of growing beards –it has to do with their soft baby-like skin, or 2) shave like lunatics. And by that I mean really really often. One of the few men that I’ve seen sporting facial hair around here was actually, wait for it, an Italian. Bingo! Point proved, case closed!

So, unless you are this guy, you are now allowed –if not begged- to do grow a beard, sir.

Looking forward to reading your feedback and thoughts on the subject!
F.

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