herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

'It doesn't take courage or will power to grow hair on your face'

I was swimming in the local pool when he jumped in, all rippling muscles and a gigantic bushy beard.

He looked like a member of the Taliban. Like he was going to beat me over the head until I had 15 babies.

I swam to the side and got out. And that was when I realised how much I hate beards. I find the obvious masculinity threatening and suspicious.

How masculine is a man who has to show it by growing hair on his face? Most men who are unsure of their masculinity are chauvinists.

There are certain religions which insist on a beard for men and that's different. But in our Western tradition growing a beard is a statement of masculinity. A pathetic statement.

It doesn't take courage or will power to grow hair on your face. It just takes a few hormones.

There's a theory that growing a beard began during the recession as a response to losing your job. OK, I'm sympathetic. But I don't think you need a job to be a man.

Every man goes through times when he has no job. What about the men who mind kids?

It says nothing about their "maleness". A man is more than a job can ever be.

Fashion

But as the recovery took hold the "hipster" beard became a fashion statement, a way for trendy men to "reclaim masculinity".

I wish they would leave their masculinity where it was.

Haven't we got to a better place now, when men don't hunt bears for dinner and women don't spend their lives stirring pots?

Haven't we got to a more equal relationship?

What's equal about facial fuzz which causes "whiskerburn" on women's faces? One woman in the US reported blisters which scabbed over.

"Did you, like, fall down?" asked friends. "Nope. New man," she replied.

The fact that 80pc of women were found in a survey to prefer bearded men because they found them "more masculine" is just depressing.

A man is a man, he shouldn't need to prove it with a beard.

I'll believe in the recovery the day I see those beards shaven off our men's faces. And I don't mean the economy, stupid. I mean the recovery of an equal relationship between men and women.

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