Due to a very busy weekend ahead - and the chores to be done to prepare for it - I am reposting an entry from November four years ago. One update though: it looks like the NASCAR drivers have matured their stubble and are now sporting beards. I still think they would be itchy under all that gear.
Should you consult an on-line list of commemorative Months, and follow that up with a visit to the Urban Dictionary web site, you will find No-Shave-November, Decembeard, and Manuary. Truly! Googling each month will net you quite a few sites on the subjects. I suppose that the some men grow in this winter coat to help them keep warm in the winter. By February and March, the coldest months, their faces should be well covered. It is ironic that the men who could most benefit from facial hair in the winter cold have so little of it. The Eskimo, Inuit and Sami men are relatively hairless.
Evidently, facial hair must be grown for several months before it can be fashioned into something dashing. Quite a bit of growth is needed to fashion a neat goatee or a Van Dyke. Growers of the former sport just a beard; the latter add a mustache to that. Most men in these modern times will sport no more than this.
The nineteenth century saw a great growth in beards. Our Presidents, to use them as an example, were, with the exception of Lincoln who was exceptional in many ways, fairly clean shaven (barring some mutton-chops and side burns which went out with Elvis) until Grant came along in 1869. Hair was there, in beards and mustaches, until McKinley in 1897. A bit of a backslide with Roosevelt and Taft, but it was clean shaving after that.
Alexander the Great was clean shaven, Peter the Great sported a mustache. These days many young bloods, thinking themselves great, sport stubble. Many NASCAR drivers sport stubble. It’s nice to think back several years ago when many of them were in a razor manufacturer’s ad campaign. These days you can always tell when they’ve been making commercials for any of their sponsors - they’ve had to shave! It must be wicked to have to wear a balaclava under the driver’s helmet along with all that stubble, and it must be even more of a joy peeling the thing off. Ah, what men go through to look great.
This new trend is called “Designer Stubble”. Can you believe that?! There is a name for it!! An article on the Men’s Flair web site, where there are instructions for maintaining it, describes the look as, among other things, rugged, romantic, sophisticated, cool. Were I a twenty-something female I’d probably think the look romantic or rugged. Being a seventy-something female, I call it lazy! It reminds me of a vacationing man who lets his beard grow for a week, and then regrets it because he has a nasty time shaving it off at the week’s end. It reminds me of a newly retired man who is delighted to leave the razor in the drawer - for a while! Eventually, he too will regret it.
So, men, now that November and the winter are upon us, you can begin to grow your beard. Do you grow it out, or do you grow it in? Oh, just let it grow, let it grow, let it grow - but be sure to sport a sign along with your SCCL Resident I.D. Badge that will let the rest of us know that you are a serious beard grower, and not one of those stubbly scruff-balls!
I had to add these pictures of the ever-popular Dale Jr. In the last four years he's sported many looks - the beard is the latest. And if you are at all into car racing, you may have noticed how many of the drivers are redheads. Interesting!
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Even the Smithsonian has gotten in on the act – read about Peak Beard has to say about the topic. Very interesting.