Through the ages, men have adorned themselves with facial hair of all sizes and styles—from raggedy long to designer stubble—like women would wear jewelry bought over-the-counter in the neighborhood discount store or at Tiffany’s in any Fifth Avenue around the world. Are facial hair for men an instrument of selfhood and vanity as much jewelry is for women?
The Myth of Facial Hair
People have attributed magical powers to hairs since mythical times. We see that in Samson, who was indestructible until Delilah cut his hair. That hair on men possesses special power is a curious myth that continues to this day. Throughout history, beards and mustache have been donned by distinguished men, in the belief that something about them changes for the better.
The Myth Continues
Charlie Chaplin sported a toothbrush mustache, bushy, short, and shaved at the edges, that had become a symbol of the character admired all over the world. Oliver Hardy, of Laurel and Hardy, sported a similar mustache with a similar effect on his audience. And Graucho Marx grew a toothbrush mustache that stretched to the middle of his chin. The surrealist artist Salvador Dali had a needle point mustache that curved up to meet his eyebrows.
Does that mean that donning a mustache will turn you into a king of comedy or a loved international figure? Adolf Hitler donned a toothbrush mustache, and he was neither funny nor loved. The four important women in his life were all younger than he and easily affected by his power. One had attempted suicide, the others died by their own hand.
From Confucious to Sophocles, Leonardo DaVinci, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Fidel Castro, the Hells Angels bikers, and must not forget Walt Whitman, my muse, whom I quote in my tagline, and who said, “A beard is preferable in a man as ‘a great sanitary protection to the throat’.”
Facial Hair Tell a Story
Facial hairs have a story behind them. A survey of women from all economic classes concludes that most of them attribute sexual appeal and manly strength to hair. But that is not important to all men. Fidel Castro’s beard “arose out of the difficult conditions he was living and fighting…and that turned into a kind of badge of identity.” Abraham Lincoln’s was inspired by a letter written to him by an eleven-year old girl during his presidential campaign.
I have got 4 brother’s and part of them will vote for you any way and if you will let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husband’s to vote for you and then you would be President. (Grace Bedell)
Some people might believe that sporting hair makes them appear more masculine. For me, neither mustache nor beard nor any combination of them makes a man. Which brings me to the questions. What makes man? Certainly not one thing alone. One solitary heroic act in life does not make a hero, but a series of them do. Think about Senator McCain, who earned his reputation as a hero not to one heroic action, but through many, where he displayed strength of character, integrity, unselfishness, intelligence, humor and la di la da and. This is what makes a man, facial hair or not.
As for me, I ask that if your face is masked by hair, keep it trim, clean; and soft. Most of all, keep your lips exposed. I don’t care to have your toothbrush in my mouth when I kiss you, and I don’t want a facial massage by bristle brush.
Does anyone remember the days of Yul Brynner, when bold was considered sexy and powerful? What makes you go gaga in a man?