Sunday, March 25, 2007


I first grew my beard around 1960 and although it's difficult to believe now I had a pretty strange time of it in the business world I was just entering as a young architect. Once in awhile I was able to understand how a black person felt being in a hostile environment because I was not clean shaven like all the rest of the fellows,( except for a mustache or two).
It's a funny concept, having a beard. Most people seem to think you are hiding but in reality I believe guys who shave are hiding behind a face that is supposed to represent eternal youth. In other words, if you have no beard you are still a youngster, but you really have to work at it, shaving once or twice a day. Of course, since the advent of the safety razor and especially the electric razor, it doesn’t take very much time anymore.
It's interesting to study the cycles of beards in, beards out. At certain times men almost have to have a beard to conform with everyone else. Remember the giants of industry, past presidents and everyone who was a mover and shaker had a beard or at least a giant mustachio in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. But can you imagine a presidential candidate today with a full beard? Can you imagine one with even a mustache? Ha!
However, there is a strange manifestation occurring that I have noticed regarding the facial adornment of policemen and firemen. I don't know what the reason but just take a look at the next officer or fireman you see and notice that more than likely he has a robust upper lip cover(this, of course only applies to males).
However, if you are a member of our esteemed armed forces, just try a little facial adornment and you'll end up doing extra KP. I've been there. I see other nations sailors and fighting men sporting some good hair and it seems such a natural thing. It's a sad commentary on our times, but nothing so sad as finding out that chain stores such as safeway have a POLICY that no male employee may indulge in a beard. Now this really got to me and I was considering organizing a boycott of them by all of us who sport facial hair. However, if you belong to the Cuban National Guard it may be best to grow the longest, scraggiest beard you can if you are looking for a promotion. It's a funny world.
One area in the US that seems to accept beards are the academic institutions of higher learning. A distinguished professor is not distinguished unless he has a good beard. As a matter a fact, I've been accused of being a professor lots of times, especially when I wear my tweed coat, baggy corduroy trousers and act like I own a Volvo.
Another bastion of the baby cheeks has been the sports heroes of our time. However, there is a crack in the wall as I’ve recently seen small increments of facial hair creeping in among the filthy rich players. Since all of our youth emulate these players, it may be the single benefit of our sports syndrome. Maybe next they can get rid of those stupid baggy pants the NBA wears. Who designs those dumb outfits, teenagers?