That was Summer and, despite repeated claims of its impending demise some wrongly attributed to me! First, it is the most sustained period of facial for around thirty years. Furthermore, where male grooming products for men have catered for removing facial hair, a new market has emerged for beard care, including oils, moustache waxes and even beard moisturisers. Indeed, it is a question that has repeatedly been asked through the centuries.
Attracting hirsute entrants from across the globe, competitors can enter in no less than eighteen categories, from chin beards to Imperial moustaches. The Germans seem to be particularly adept at this competition, and have fielded a number of champions in recent years. In the Renaissance, for example, beard-wearing was a sign of masculinity and almost a rite of passage. To be able to grow a beard represented the change from boy to man. Beards were the coming thing. The wearing of a beard, especially during this period, was actually linked to beliefs about the body. As people believed that the body consisted of four fluid humours in a perpetually precarious state of balance, so there were different ideas about how it got rid of waste material.
Indian warrior Kunwar Singh of the Indian Rebellion of with a standard beard. In ancient India, the beard was allowed to grow long, a symbol of dignity and of wisdom cf. The nations in the east generally treated their beards with great care and veneration, and the punishment for licentiousness and adultery was to have the beard of the offending parties publicly cut off. They had such a sacred regard for the preservation of their beards that a man might pledge it for the payment of a debt.
Print We live in a world in which our appearance — what we wear, what we cover and what we reveal —is highly politicised. Witness the debates, among others, of the wearing of religious symbols in the public arena. Hair is an aspect of appearance loaded with meanings that shift according to context. A billion pound industry trades on the desire to avoid a bad hair day. In the barbershops of hipster London, beards are combed and coaxed into just the right shape.