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Taking a moustache beyond Movember: wise or just unkempt?

There is no denying one hairy truth: facial-hair is back.  In just a couple of days, millions of men around the globe will ditch the Mach 3 and Old Spice for one of the great home-grown events that is "Movember".  For the gents out there who have gone through puberty (at least physically) and are able to grow a "stache" to be proud of, Movember offers one of those rare occasions that actually reward you for looking silly, although Bavarian outfits at Octoberfest also springs to mind.  However, by now, most blokes know the mantra – "the dirtier the mo, the better it looks".

With this great event just around the corner, I think it is fitting to explore to elements of the “stache”:

  • the complex history of facial hair in no more than 150 words – research shows that reader's lose interest; and
  • the prickly question that guys who are too lazy to shave want to know – "can I pull-off facial hair when Movember becomes December?"

Hadrian and his lustful beard

I know that I am really not revealing anything new in saying that caveman were the first to popularise facial-hair.  However, kudos for looking to facial hair as a fashion statement must go to our favourite Roman Emperor, Hadrian.  In fact, historians unanimously agree that Hadrian's two great contributions to the Republic were building "Hadrian's Wall" and growing a beard (rebuilding the Pantheon doesn’t even come close).  Since the emperor was widely considered to be an intellectual and philhellenist at the time, his beard came to symbolise something more than laziness or natural necessity – it was gravitas and wisdom.  The beard was not a right but a privilege, something to be earned not given.

Fast-forward 1974 years and something went seriously wrong for facial hair.  These days, a blown out beard is generally associated with the unkempt. Fair to say that Hadrian should count his lucky stars that he is no longer around because these days he would probably be out on the street shouting and hollering selling pencils from a cup.

But I look cool and hipster with my facial hair?

How about the modern man who wasn’t born into a Royal Family?  Should facial hair be solely the domain of the privileged few.  Well, putting aside the fact that facial hair generally makes a guy look a lot smellier and older, there is no shortage of facial hair proponents out there.  Arguments in support can generally be broken down into three dubious categories, colloquially:

(1) The "I'm cool and hipster – my laid back ways allow me to get away with it" school of thought;

(2) The "my chiselled good looks can pull off anything" delusionals; and

(3) The "I forgot to shave crowd" when I really didn’t guy.

Each argument can be dismissed as follows:

(1) Get a job you hippie!

(2) You are not Johnny Depp; and

(3) We all know that you are trying to grow a goatee.

My advice, avoid looking like the disheveled – shave daily and use the right aftershave.   I guarantee that you will itch less.



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