written by: Stephen A. Dunegan
"The man is the measure of all things"- Greek philosopher Protagoras
"The measure of man is the beard"- pseudo Arizonan philosopher Stephenidas
"There is nothing nobel in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self…and growing an awesome beard" possibly Ernest Hemingway
Growing a beard has been a sign of manliness since the dawn of time and/or notated history. Scientists found that prehistoric men had used beards for warmth, protection and intimidation; the same could be said for modern men. In various ancient civilizations beards were a sign or honor and really only cut as a form of punishment. You can put some of the blame of shaving on Alexander the Great for he decreed that his soldiers could not have a beard for fear of having them pulled in battle. What?! Absurdity I tell you! Such a small price to pay for such a great thing. Throughout the centuries we can see four distinct "beard movements" as described by Christopher Oldstone-Moore who literally wrote the book on beards.
-The first came with Roman emperor Hadrain who believed in stoic philosophy which stated that it was essential to follow the rules of nature and since beard was natural it was seen as a sign of wisdom.
-The second came in the 1100's in which most everyone grew beards except for priests.
-The third in the Renaissance in which most who grew beards did so out of blatant rejection of the church and their rule.
-The fourth in the 1850's in which the popularity of beards was so monumental that nearly every European army required a mustache of beard of some sort.
Are we living in the fifth beard movement? Not sure but it's up to you and I to decide.
Otto the great often swore by his beard whenever he said anything of serious nature. In the middle ages touching another man's beard was offensive and grounds for a duel. In the 16th century new beards made an appearance such as the stiletto beard and the forked beard. In the 19th century President Lincoln made beards popular for all Americans.
In a recent study, a group of women were polled and their findings aren't surprising nor are they grounds for shift or care but interesting nonetheless. They stated that full-bearded men were 2/3's attractive as clean shaven but they also stated that the FB(full-bearded) appeared to be older, more respected, more powerful and of a higher status.
38% of them stated that FB men seemed to be less generous.
36% less caring and 51% less cheerful.
Now, let it be known this is merely an appearance driven study. With no in depth conversations or anything deeper than follicles. I know many, many, many bearded men who provide much more substance than those I have met without. Always exceptions to any rule or study. Forbes list of the 100 richest men found that 98% of them are clean shaven. However…
98% of the world's lumberjacks, warriors and all around badasses have beards.
According to the US psychologist Robert Pellegrini "the male beard communicates an heroic image of the independent, sturdy and resourceful pioneer, ready, willing and able to do manly things." An excerpt that would seem to have been written last week but was scribed in 1973 about his study of the beard.
All in all the beard has been used to protect manhood and certain values and ideals for years; as it's popularity and trend can be traced to periods of lows/highs of masculinity in culture and society. This is no different really. We must merely defend those not ready to.