Hi Everyone! Happy Wednesday! Hope ya'll are having a wild and crazy day. For this Wednesday, I asked my talented and bro-licious friend Max Bonem to guest post for me today on one of my fave topics -- facial hair. He has a great site called The Bro Journey along with his fellow comrade in crime Matt, spittin' out all things bro and of course, Ron Swanson-isms. Have fun, enjoy and give this man a chest bump!
Rights of passage change us. Not only do they allow people to experience something new, but simultaneously those same people are inherently changed by said-experience and often times, there’s no turning back.
For a young man, rights of passage are the pillars that support whatever it is you’ve decided is required to “become a man.” Smoking a cigarette, telling someone who you aren’t related to that you love them, or inheriting a tool box - each of these things alters who we are and how we view ourselves, whether we’re cognizant of it or not.
Amongst those most manly rights of passage is growing a beard. My grandfather had a beard at some point in his life, as did my Dad, and now I too have a beard.
There are few things in life more inherently masculine than one’s ability to grow facial hair and even though the vast majority of able males do not sport a full beard, I can assure you that every one of them would at least like to have the ability to do so, even if they have no interest in ever having one.
Today, with the rise of more casual work environments and male celebrities allowing themselves to appear more grizzled in public, more and more men are putting down the razor and enjoying the scruffy ride.
I for one first started growing a beard in college, however, the positive reinforcement that I receive today from it didn’t begin occurring until after I’d graduated. And with said-commentary, comes a number of questions, the most common of which I can answer swiftly:
Q: “Is it itchy?”
A: “Sometimes, especially when the weather is cold & my skin is dry.”
Q: “Is it clean?”
A: “I like to think so, I wash it daily.”
Q: “Does food ever get caught in it?”
A: “Well, this one time there was this almond I found, but that’s a story for another time.”
There are any number of reasons as to why beards have suddenly become hip again, but I think a great deal of the popularity stems from a much greater complex that the modern American male is experiencing. So many of the professions that hip, young dudes are thriving in deal mostly with computers and the internet and in turn, we yearn to find ourselves participating in professions from a simpler, more “manly” time, i.e. furniture building, artisan butchery, or being Ernest Hemingway (excuse his love of cats and daiquiris for the time being).
Sure, some of it stems from laziness and the fact that most women these days seem to enjoy a man with a textured face, but this desire to live in a more rustic, and less plugged-in, fashion certainly has affected the grooming habits of today’s dudes.
A friend of mine once told me that he didn’t trust guys with beards, that they all looked like they had something to hide, but maybe in this day and age, when every bit of information about anyone is readily available, keeping something hidden isn’t such a bad thing.
Sam Beam (of Iron & Wine and beard fame) was once told, “You know your beard is fascinating, right?” to which he replied, “Really? What's fascinating about facial hair? It's more fascinating that people shave it off every day.” And it is with that sentiment that I couldn’t agree more.