Debate: Why Beards Are Still CoolAnd Why I Won't Shave Mine
For the past few years beards have enjoyed something of a comeback. This is largely thanks to hipster culture becoming such fad in the mainstream. Surely images of men clad in form fitting plaid and sporting cropped beards and twirly mustaches spring to mind. We also had dozens of memes showing up on our Facebook feed of “funny” beard memes. We have all lived through the age of the “lumber sexual”, and I for one am not particularly sad that that time is pretty much over.
What I am sad to see is the so-called death of the beard. There is a difference between a man who has a well-kept beard and a hipster trying to fit in by sporting some designer facial hair. Yet as the hipsters move on, so is everyone else it seems. Everyone from Vice to the Wall Street Journal is declaring how uncool it is to have beard now. Heck even one of my co-workers here at the office published an article showing her support for the decline of the beard. I have to politely disagree.
In Defense of the Beard
I would argue that there has never been a better time to have a beard, especially now since it is no longer the thing to do. Who wants to follow a trend when they can be their own man. Fashion trends aren’t always worth following, and being a “lumber sexual” was personally something I had no trouble missing. Though I will admit I enjoyed the image they tried to evoke of a duality of man. The ruggedly defined yet cultured man. However, the lumber sexual to me just sounded like the term you gave the women who loved the beards. Not the men who grew the beards themselves.
So why should you not have a beard just because popular trends tell you that you shouldn’t. If you fancy yourself something of a rebel, you should start growing that beard out immediately. Men have been growing facial hair since the beginning of humanity. Why stop now just because some joker from GQ says that its time to quit? Does he know better than 200,000 years worth of homo sapien ancestors? I don’t think so.
But Wait, Beards Can Be Nasty
To be clear, when I say that you should grow a beard I am saying that you should grow out a well managed beard. Nobody likes a man with a mop on his face. That is not attractive to anybody. The goal is not to look like a crazy homeless guy. A beard should enhance a man’s look, giving him a distinctly masculine appearance. But times have changed, and neanderthals are out of fashion.
Guys are expected to put in a fair amount of effort into their own appearances nowadays, and rightly so. If you want to catch the eye of the fairer sex, you better at least look like you’re trying (heck manscaping is even a thing now.) This is why it is so important to trim and maybe even sculpt that beard. After all, any man can grow some hair on his face but not every man can look good with hair on his face. Which category you fall into is largely dependent on the amount of care that you put into your appearance.
When done right, a good beard can make look like a real badass. Nothing is cooler than rocking a beard and actually getting away with it. But if you aren’t careful, things can go horribly wrong. While there is a small percentage of men out there who genuinely do not look good with a beard, the vast majority of guys could look really cool if they just knew what they were doing. The problem is that they don’t have a whole lot of role models in this regard and even fewer tips on how to really manage the process. Which is why I wrote a quick but helpful beard care guide here. Most men have foregone having any kind of facial hair in favor of the smoothly shaven look since the early twentieth century.
How Do I Know If I Can Grow A Beard?
So where does this leave most guys? Well, you can either look at the way the mens’ beards look like in the movies or you can just follow what the popular fad for facial hair is at the moment. If you choose option number one, just realize that what works in the movies doesn’t always work in real life. As for option number two, following fads is always risky for obvious reasons. You don’t want to look back on a photograph of yourself in twenty years and wonder what the hell you were thinking.
This leaves you with one last unspoken option: go for the timeless route. When it comes to the world of fashion, going for a classic aesthetic is always a good bet. Jeans and a plain white t shirt with a pair of desert boots will probably still look cool in about thirty years, much in the same way that they have looked cool for the last century or so. Ultra skinny jeans with a bright graphic tee and neon colored Nikes on the other hand might seem like a good idea at the moment, but give it ten years and you will hardly be able to stomach a picture of yourself. Timeless always works.
Its the same exact way with beards, except things are even simpler. I don’t have too many photos of guys lying around from a hundred years ago, but Im pretty sure that facial hair hasn’t actually changed all that much. Neither in fact have the methods for maintaining that facial hair.
So go ahead and join the renaissance of real bearded men who choose to grow facial hair because they want to and not because its what popular society is saying is the right thing to do. Isn’t that the right spirit to have as a man? A spirit of independence that is willing to defy what is popular for what’s actually the right thing to do, even if its just the right thing to do for you.
The Modern Beard Grower
The modern man ought to be able to go out and get his hands dirty, working hard or maybe indulging in some rough and tumble hobbies, and then come home and clean up like a real gentleman. The key to everything is being well versed in as much as you can, and nothing bespeaks this more of a man than having a beard and wearing it well. It says that you are the kind of a guy who can go chop down a tree or two, then come back and whip up a gourmet meal for loved ones and friends.
Now go forth and don’t let the naysayers get you down. What do they really know other than what everyone else is telling them anyway? Beards will always be cool.
Let me know what you think on this topic.