Of Beards and Men

It seems to be de rigueur for young men nowadays to sport beards and/or facial growth. One of my sons sometimes lets the bristles grow a bit before applying the clippers. This is usually before he visits his gran and I can understand why he reaches for the cutter.

When I were butter lad (© J-Man) I toyed with having a beard. My mother shot this idea down in flames. The woman don’t like facial hair, not even a Zapata tache passes mustard. She didn’t fancy Magnum one bit. Maybe it was the actor’s name, I don’t know. Anyway, she warned me if I grew one she would shave half of it off in the middle of the night. I figured she thought men with beards had “something of the night about them”.

Therefore, my father was always clean shaven. Sometimes I know he shaved twice in a day! Wilson’s Sword! I’m not jesting if I say he might have shaved three times just to break a record, as you do. His skin was like leather. I can still hear the rasping of the open razor as he filed away at his Adam’s apple. Not one cut on his face. I think the blade was more afraid. It screeched in agony.

Thankfully, and I blame the not so close electric razor for this, I can go through a few days without shaving. It is bliss to bask with a three day five o’ clock shadow on my boat race. The horror starts when mum pays a surprise visit.

20 thoughts on “Of Beards and Men”

  1. I went to boarding school Monday to Friday when I was four – and that’s a long time ago! One Friday my father picked me up from school with a half-grown bristly beard. I gave him the customary welcome kiss – and vowed never to kiss a man with a beard again. I kept that promise until my grandson grew a beard – but he only gets a perfunctory peck on the un-whiskered part of his face.

    Each to their choice – but I have a real problem with men who don’t seem to have made their mind up. Either grow a beard or shave. Far too many men seem to think it’s OK to appear with a five o’clock shadow one day and clean shaven the next.

    P.S. My father shaved his half-grown beard off the next day

  2. For women, I have discovered, men’s beards are Marmite, loved or loathed. Never grown one myself, although Backside does it just annoy. Had a boss once who grew one. He was bald and his wife said he looked as if hus head was on upside down. Isn’t it JM who boasts a hairy fizzog?

  3. “Far too many men seem to think it’s OK to appear with a five o’clock shadow one day and clean shaven the next.” It’s all down to laziness, Boadicea. It only takes five minutes with an electric. Dunno about the more traditional way.

    I have heard those rumours about the Castle-dweller, Janus. Another reason not to meet him. Of course, I could take my wee mammy with me. She’d sort him out.

  4. I have had the same facial hair for 30 years. That is, none. I shave no less than 4 times each week. I was horrified to see that of the 9 men in my training group, only one other was clean-shaven.

  5. I’m glad to say spousal unit always shaves before leaving the house, bad enough wearing jeans!

    In the Pacific North west all the left wingers wear disgusting ragged beards, shorts and sandles, give me a fascist any day, at least they dressed properly!

    One always wonders what is living in those hairy unkempt beards, something nasty I’ll be bound.

  6. JW – as a butter lad I was afraid of beards. I think the Sunday School teacher (female) had a beard and I was scared of her. But the beard I was most afraid of was worn by Henry Hudson of Hudson Bay fame. An aunt one Christmas gave me a history book, one with coloured pictures. Two thirds of the way in there was a printed painting of Henry Hudson and beard, with comrades, in a boat freezing to death in arctic waters. The colours were cold, purple, green and icy blue. Henry’s eyes were cold too. Perhaps he was already dead. Sometimes, to overcome my fear, I would pluck up courage and flick through the pages to try and find Henry Hudson. But when I did, often by surprise, I was almost terrified by the sight. I remained traumatised by this picture into adulthood. Such a sad picture and the beard was scary.

    Forty years later I read an article in the Daily Telegraph suggesting that Henry Hudson may not have died adrift in a freezing boat! Almost immediately my long-time fear was lifted. I was free of the terror that picture gave me. But have I searched the house to find that history book? No. But I do feel better in myself!

    PS I am thinking of buying a Gillette Fusion Pro-Glide Styler. It sounds like poetry; it looks like poetry. Yes I’m off to Boots right now.

  7. Quite a story, PG. Childhood fears can have a lasting effect. Glad you’ve beaten the demon.

    Your vivid description of Henry Hudson’s beard put me in mind of the famous (No wiki page. Outrageous! Everyone’s got one) Glasgow rock DJ, Tom Russell. This TR is nicknamed “The Beard Of Doom”. He’s the one on the left.

    For the avoidance of doubt, that is not the computer generated blogger known as TR on the right.

  8. TR – strangely Tom Russell (beard and all) looks very much the Henry Hudson depicted in my Childhood encyclopa edia. (All part of the healing process for me.)

  9. I grew a beard because I was fed up with shaving three times a day to avoid midday and 5 o’clock shadow. Every electric razor I tried broke after a few weeks use so it was a real fag to wet shave every time. Think of all the time I have saved not shaving throughout the 45 year old life of my beard. Just an occasional trim while having a haircut.

    As regards the ladies, once the initial stubble stage was over, I found all the ones I fancied were very keen to see how soft my beard was and were keen to test it. I include Mrs FEEG in this group you will be glad to know.

  10. I can confirm that I am indeed an Esau and not a Jacob and have been since 1968 or thereby. As FEEG could tell you, there was (and maybe still is) a belief that a beard was a useful prophylactic measure to adopt in the front row in case your opponents, or even your team mates, had the dreaded scrum pox.

    My rugby-playing days ended shortly thereafter but not before Mrs M had arrived on the scene. I have shaved the beard off twice in the intervening decades. On both occasions, Mrs M has looked upon that which lay beneath and has instructed immediate regeneration.

    So, if she’s happy with it, I am as well, even although it is now disturbingly Corbynesque in appearance.

  11. Years ago I started to grow a beard but after about four days felt so scruffy that I shaved it off. I don’t like this stubble thing that seems to be all the rage it just looks dirty and unkempt.

    Weren’t the Romans clean shaven ?

  12. Totally off topic, JM, I should like to thank you and the others for the good work you did in Edinburgh leading up to the elections. What a joy to see Sturgeon’s empire getting a bit ragged round the edges.

  13. JM: Quite right. I only caught impetigo once in my career as a prop and that was before I grew the fungus.

  14. Jazz, yes, the Romans had a military thing about being clean and shaving helped with parasites ‘n stuff.

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