A Passion for Beards
“This, then is the mark of the man, the beard…it is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness.” – St. Clement Of Alexandria, 271 AD
Today, we have lost the honor and nobility of the beards to some measure as the average man maintains a clean shave. There are some interesting facts with respect to the beards of a man, here are some highlights.
• In ancient times, a clean shave was a sign of dishonor. Spartans used to partially shave condemned cowards as being a coward was a crime as far as the Spartans were concerned.
• The beard was seen as sacred in Homer, it was a form of entreaty to touch the beards of the king.
• Clean shave was made popular by Alexander the Great. He ensured his soldiers went with a clean shave so the enemy would not take a hold of their beards in battle.
Five Elements of the Facial Hair.
The facial hair of a man has taken different forms over the years. Nevertheless, these variations makes use of the same basic elements. Let’s take a close look at them.
1. Mustache: The hiltrum is covered by the middle of the mustache. It first recorded appearance was in 300 BC when a Persian horse man made a painting on felt. Some famous practitioners of the mustache are: Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck and Bill Clement.
2. Chin Curtain: In the absence of the mustache, the beards is referred to as a chin curtain. Some men who are famous for the chin curtain are Abraham Lincoln, Brigham Young, Solid Snake in Metal gear Solid 2, Married Amish men.
3. Sideburns: This was named after the American Civil War General, Ambrose Burnside who always had a bushy sideburns along with a mustache. In the 19th century, it was popular in Europe and later disappeared in the 20th century with the development of gas masks in wars. Some famous men who used the side burns are martin Van Buren, Richard Wagner, Elvis Presley and Isaac Asimov.
4. Goatee: Technically, the goatee refers to the lower beards. It was named after the goats long chin hair. According to Groucho Marx, “Don’t point that beards at me, it might go off”. Famous goatee users are the Egyptian Pharaohs and Easter Island Statues.
5. The Soul Patch: This name was coined for the soul and jazz musicians who popularized it in the 1950’s and 60’s. It was once referred to as a poor frustrated beards by Prince Philips. He also said, “If you are going to grow a beard, grow a beard.” Famous soul patches are Ray Charles and Mandel Howie.
11 Beard Characteristics
A lot of variations have developed from these basic elements, each having its own characteristics. Here are some variants and those who wore them;
1. Famous Van Dykians: Worn by Anthony Van Dyke, General Custer, Colonel Sanders and Uncle Sam. It was named after the Flemish painter named Anthony Van Dyke. The Van Dyke is typically a mustache and a soul patch that are unconnected.
2. The Circle Beards: This is a famous goatee worn by Brad Pitts, and some evil science fiction characters. It is a goatee connected to the moustache with or without a path.
3. The Chin Strap: This was mostly used by Henry David Thoreau. It was fashionable during the 18th and 19th century. This is a chin curtain that covers only the neck.
4. The Walrus: This is a full bush mustache named after the Ibrissae of walrus. It was used mostly by Friedriche Nietzsche, Grover Cleverland, Teddy Roosevelt and Jamie Hyneman. According to a Russian proverb, “Long whiskers cannot take the place of brains”
5. Handlebars: This is a long mustache that is curved up to resemble a handle bar. It was used by Iron Age Celts, Wyatt Earp and Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Sometimes, they are shaped with wax, other times, they grow naturally.
6. Pencil Mustache: This is a thin line above the lips, sometimes, it is seen on Alec Guinness, David NIven and Errol Flynn.
7. The Horseshoe: The mustache extends from the sides of the mouth to the jawline. Hulk Hogan and Chuck Liddell were found of this patterns.
8. Fu Manchu: A long draping mustache with shaved philtrum is referred to as the Fu Manchu. It was named after the famous wearer, an evil mastermind called Fu Manchu.
9. The Toothbrush: This is patterned to cover a square above the middle of the lips. Adolf Hitler made this unpopular while Charlie Chaplin made it acceptable. During Adolf Hitler’s time in Germany, it was popular with the upper working class.
10. Salvador Dali: This is a unique pattern developed by Salvador who made it popular by writing a whole book on his mustache .
11. Full Beard: The full beard was worn by Charles Darwin, Ernest Hemmingway, Chuck Norris, Kimbo Slice among others. It has been a sigh of virility with age and wisdom.
In summary, beards are not for momentary styles, they are signs of dedications. According to G. K. Chesterton, he once said, “One cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion”