This week I did something, I shaved off the bulk of my beard. I didn’t do it because I starred to lose my identity to it and I didn’t do it because of peer pressure, genuinely I did because I didn’t like the way I looked with such an intense beard. So I shaved it off (but I left the mustache…oh yeah). So I’m going to give the stache at least a week to see if it works for me. Anyway, recently I read about a story that broke out concerning the religious group Sikhism and how US military facial hair rules conflict with their religious regulations. For a long time now it has been common knowledge that if you want to join the military you have to forgo the beard and be clean shaven. Those affiliated with the Sikh faith are bound by their law not to shave and therefore are in direct conflict if they want to join the military. Fortunately for them the government has officially allowed men to now have beards in the military as long as it is because of religious purposes. This story got me thinking: ” Why so much beard-age in so many religions?”
Quite possibly the most stereotypical religious group that rocks the beard. The reason for their beard, is similar to a modern day wedding ring because the beard is a symbol of, “Sorry ladies, I’m taken.” Thats right the reason behind their beard is to ward off any potential hotties and give a very public symbol of matrimony.
In the Bible their is a book completely devoted to Jewish law called Leviticus. In Leviticus chapter 19 verse 27 it say, “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard” The most devote religious men of Judaism (called rabbis) understand this verse as meaning for them to not depart from their beloved facial hair.
Muslims practice their tradition of keeping a nice full beard as only a part of their full hygienical practice. The beard is heavily emphasized among most authorities in Islam and thought mandatory by most in higher positions in the faith.
In case you didn’t know Valentines Day is tomorrow. In my mind Valentines Day is the day that every woman wakes up in hopes of having her feet swept off the floor by some romantic hunky monkey. But unfortunately for my wife her hunky monkey (i.e. me) has a head cold. So with the combination of romance + head cold = not a good Valentines Day. It has been three weeks since the dawn of my beard and I have now noticed various subtle challenges in my normal daily life (one of which is blowing my nose without getting snot stuck in my hair), so I figured I’d post this week about some more of my observations.
1. The Misuse of a Beard:
I’m not so sure of how the slow decline of beard morals happens to everyone else, but I can speak for myself. And for some reason there is a very really temptation of being “weird” to my beard . (Click this link for a taste of the countless beard abusers that live among us.) My hypothesis is that once you embrace facial hair and allow it to contribute to your own identity that slowly and over time the beard becomes your identity and thats when things start getting weird. So my word of advice: If you start becoming known as “the guy with the beard”, shave it…you’ve gone too far.
2. The Compensation Factor:
A dirty little secret amongst men is that growing a beard is a great tactic to distract people that you a going bald! I think it because I have a beard now that I notice now every time a guy has a beard, its kinda like when ever you buy a new car and you realize there are so many people driving that same car and you never knew it. I now being well aware of bearded men I have become aware that most bearded men are balding.
3. Outdoorsmen Requirement:
So this might just be my own insecurity but since letting my beard free I have felt an increased pressure to be more outdoorsy, especially whenever I talk to other bearded brothers. The conversations tend to end up talking about shooting stuff, hiking, and outdoors gear. I enjoy nature, but I’m no lumberjack. But it does seem that most outdoorsmen grow out there beards. Maybe its because they are more one with nature so they let out there natural selves, or maybe its just because its cold outside. Either way I call these beardies “beard-venturers”.
With wars raging, economies is crisis, and winter’s chill in full swing it seems almost petty to talk about such a light hearted subject as facial hair (which could be the reason I feel so compelled to talk about it). But I can’t help but notice (and you’ve probably noticed too) that everywhere I look all I see are beards! I’ve noticed that recently a lot of my friends have decided to jump on the beard band wagon (the beard-wagon), now I’m typically not the kind of guy to do something just because everyone else is doing it, but maybe joining in on a fad every once in a while isn’t such a bad thing. So I’m doing it and about two weeks into my epic spiritual journey of finding my inner beard and I must confess I’m loving it! It makes since why: no shaving, no shaving cuts, I get to save money on razors, and I don’t stab my wife with my prickles every time I go in for a kiss, ahhhh life is good. But I have also noticed some very interesting social effects since the dawn of my beard-venture that I would like to call “The Beard Effect”. Now I Googled “The Beard Effect” to make sure that it isn’t already being used for something else (because it always awkward when that happens) but I don’t think it is (but if does mean something else please let me know and be sure to included a suggested name change). So “The Beard Effect” are just some simple observations that I have noticed in other peoples perception of me, and are listed below:
1. Unintentional Intimidation:
For some reason beards say, “Don’t mess with me.” and I admit that I even fall victim the this quality of The Beard Effect. But since joining the Dark Side of the force (or maybe its the Light Side??? comments???) I have noticed people becoming more standoffish towards me.
2. Daddy Factor:
I don’t know if it is because I look more like Santa Claus or like a dad but something about the beard lets little kids know that I’m a cool guy and that they should probably give me a hug (a maybe rub their runny noses on me). I don’t mind the little kids, I think they are great, and being liked by the young ones is like being the president or king of a kingdom of minions.
3. For Women Only:
Now first off let me just say that I am a happily married man and I love my wife very, very much. Okay so now I can say that after first noticing myself and then confirming through other sources I can confidently say that only women (not girls) like beards. So say a twenty-ish hostesses at a local restaurant saw a cute guy and this cute guy just so happened to be rocking a sweet (and well groomed) beard…not even a chance buddy, sorry. But that same guy walks into a room full of late twenty / early thirties professional woman, hold on tight my friend because your about to be the cause of an all out battle. It’s just they way of the universe: women like beards, girl don’t.