Autumn is a time for pumpkin spice coffee (pumpkin spice anything, really), the crisp scent of burning leaves, decorative gourds, and incredibly hairy men.
Yes, it’s that time of year where men let down their hair…er, grow out their facial hair. No Shave November and Movember (Mo as in the French word, Moustache) are movements that request men don facial hair in support of their favorite men’s health and other charitable organizations. The idea is to donate what the average man spends in grooming costs and have hairy men grab attention for a good cause.
My husband recently started a team with all donations going to the Wounded Warrior Project, a group that assists disabled veterans. It’s only day 12 and he’s fine with the beard, but I’m not too certain I’ll be able to tolerate it until December.
Men’s facial hair seems to be a polarizing topic—you’re either for it or against it. But this debate isn’t new. Since the dawn of mankind, there have been fluctuations in the popularity and styling of men’s facial hair.
The Ancient Egyptians used facial hair to exhibit power. Pharaohs and Queens alike rocked the chin locks, women (most) having to suffice for a prosthetic version. In other ancient civilizations, facial hair was only seen on those in the top notches of the social stratosphere. Greeks and Romans introduced beards as signifying wisdom and a display of virility.
During Medieval times, the Normans often went clean shaven. The Franks preferred a good amount of facial hair, sometimes opting for a long mustache, or going for a chin-strap/mustache combination. Vikings would often be bearded and introduced some pretty impressive manscaping. It was not uncommon for those Vikings unfortunate enough to be born brunette to dye their hair, including their beards.
Georgian and Regency eras saw a decline in men’s facial hair, but the Victorian age saw an impressive resurgence of mustaches and beards alike. The mustache became a symbol of manliness which prevailed through the World Wars, culminating in the magnificent specimen that was Tom Selleck’s mustache in Magnum P.I. (cue theme song).
Today, we’re starting to see a backlash to the metrosexuality of the early 2000’s and men’s facial hair seems to be making yet another comeback. The mustache is having quite a good decade with its likeness seen on everything from children’s birthday party themes to random and ironic hipster t-shirts. Beards are now the subject of a popular reality television series following the underground world of beard competitions. And always the pulse of pop culture, the Chia pet, has a bearded version based on the popular series, Duck Dynasty.
Whether it’s a fashion statement, politically motivated, religiously dictated, or a simple reflection of the beliefs of a culture, men’s facial hair has a proven itself to be an indelible part of history. Now, don’t forget to answer the Romantic Pursuit question for your chance to win the Favorite Things gift basket.
Romantic Pursuit Question: What did Ancient Egyptians believe beards to demonstrate?
General man watching