herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Roy is absolutely right ... it's the beginning of the end for the hipster beard

Thank God for Roy Keane. No, not because he has explained why 'Dancing Queen' shouldn't be played to a bunch of blokes just before they're about to take on their footballing opponents, or because he says it as it is about people who land themselves aristocratic titles and give themselves airs and graces.

We owe a debt to Roy because he has hopefully signalled that the days of the face-covering beard are over.

Was there ever a more unfortunate phase in male fashion than the so-called 'hipster beard' now worn by accountants, civil servants and blokes who wouldn't know how to change a tyre let alone build a log cabin.

Was there ever anything remotely hip about following a trend, almost to the point of caricature and beyond, just to try to assert a long-missing masculinity?

Nope, hipsters are dead. Long live the clean shaven.

The guy with the Victorian beard, the man bag, the glasses, rolled up trousers and constipated squint drinking a flat white coffee, is now as out of date fashion wise as Marie Antoinette in a full wired crinoline. (Note to blokes - do not try that next).

The fact that there are now far more pseudo-hipsters roaming our streets than 'proto-hipsters' (the real deal) has meant that the entire trend is now obsolete. What was "hip" is now horribly embarrassingly dated.

'Normsters' are now the newbies on the block. (you'll recognise them by the fact that they look... eh, normal).

Initially, though, the word 'hipster' was devised in the 1940s to talk about people who deviated from societal norms.

Norman Mailer describes them in his essay The White Negro as people who choose to "divorce themselves from society, to exist without roots, to set out on that uncharted journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self".

AUTHENTIC

Does this sound like your local sandal-wearing, bike-riding, flat cap-wearing hipster? Nope, didn't think so.

When magazines breathlessly list the '51 Hottest Hollywood Beards' we can be assured that "authentic" and "original" are not words we should associate with this trend.

But, if you've grown attached to the growth at the end of your chin and are loathe to shave the damn thing off, there is news that may encourage you to reach for the razor. A new study has shown that when beards are ubiquitous, people perceive them to be less attractive.

"The bigger the trend gets, the weaker the preference for beards and the tide will go out," said researcher at University of New South Wales, Robert Brooks.

When women are surrounded by clean shaven men they do, occasionally, fancy a bit of beard. That's "a bit", not a rope length. No-one wants to cuddle up with Rip Van Winkle. Or Santa.

Stubble, maybe even an inch or two of hair if it suits your face and you keep it well cared for. But fellas, these near feral growths you've been sporting recently are not in any way appealing.

Women, for some stage reason, do not find it appealing to pick their lunch out of your beards. We did, it is true, find heavy stubble, even a substantial growth that is well kept, more attractive than a smooth baby face, but guys, enough is enough - we can't even see you anymore behind those monstrous hairy growths. Nor can we distinguish between the real deal hipsters and the Johnny-some-lately poseurs.

Look lads, God - sorry, I mean Roy - has spoken. More importantly Roy has become clean-shaven. Isn't it time the rest of you imposters did likewise?

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