I’ve got some raffishly trimmed whiskers. No more scrubbed and shaved. No more little boy in a grown man’s corpus.
Actually, I’ve sported a beard for a while now. It helps to withstand the harsh Maine winters, springs, summers, and falls. And since I’m an idle idler, it saves me having to lather up and sharpen the blade on my leather briefcase.
And now I keep reading the scruff is back. Famous shaggy noggins now include Sting, David Beckham, Michael Stipe, 007 Craig, Daniel Day-Lewis, and this testy schnauzer that lives in my neighborhood.
And why the new trend in whiskers? There’s a backlash, Daddy O, against the grooming wonders that were unleashed with the rise of metrosexuality. We — that is some men — want our beards back where they belong.
I chose my beard based on a viewpoint and not for aesthetic reasons. I’m no sandal-wearing hippie with a hairy chin. I simply needed a liberation from the blade. One reason is the casual nature of my workplace: my dress-down office allows me to wear facial hair without getting a monk’s tonsure. (I work in publishing, bit like a monk who worked with illuminated manuscripts).
So now it’s time for contemporary society to get used to hirsute and slackers in facial hair.
And I didn’t grow a beard for the macho appeal. I decided on it so that I could once more connect with my Ted Hughes, animal, instinctive, pre-verbal self. (Although it is well known that Hughes never had a beard, he was still England’s most scandalous poet since Byron — who also went without facial hair.)
I shall end on an ironic note. It’s common knowledge in scientific circles that the same hormone that triggers beard growth also triggers baldness.
Maybe that is why I have a beard. If I keep triggering hair growth, maybe that bald spot I notice on the top of my head will vanish in a puff of hair.