A Close Shave

Shaving brush Nicola here. Are beards hot or not? Recently I was reading an article in the BBC History Magazine that reminded me that sporting a beard in 18th and 19th century Europe or America was far more than just a fashion choice for a man. Throughout history, in fact, the decision on whether to be clean shaven or not was often tied in to cultural and political influences.

The Historical Beard

The 16th century was a time of prodigious beards; the English beard was square cut, the Spanish one Sir Francis Drake shaped like a spade and when Francis Drake (pictured with what actually looks like a Spanish beard) claimed to have singed the King of Spain's beard when he raided Cadiz in 1587 he was making a political point. His attack had damaged the enemy but had not entirely destroyed it. It was also a taunt, the 16th century equivalent of "bring it on!"

Peter the Great The beard also had a significant role to play in the English Civil Wars of the 17th century when the clean-shaven Roundheads believed that the Cavaliers' long curly tresses represented every possible vice, and the Cavaliers considered the Roundheads lack of hirsuteness to mean they also lacked wit, wisdom and virtue. But probably the most despotic act against the beard was Peter the Great of Russia's edict in 1698 that all Russian men should shave off their beards and his decision in 1705 to levy a tax on anyone who persisted in wearing one. He felt that Russia should embrace western modernity and the removal of the luxuriant Russian beard was one of the most telling ways to demonstrate this. Here's Peter on the left, without the beard but still with a neat little moustache!

Polish and Gentility

In the 18th and early 19th centuries being clean shaven chimed with Enlightenment notions of polish and gentility. Cleanliness and good self-presentation fitted with the idea of harnessing nature through scientific progress, and hirsuteness was condemned as unkempt and wild. Only hermits could really get away with beards and ordinary men who sported them were considered eccentric at best and untrustworthy at worst. Writing in the "Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Literature and the Arts" in 1802, William Nicholson noted that "the caprice of fashion, or modern day improvements, has deprived all the nations of Europe of their beards." But fashion and the influence of the Enlightement was not the only factor at work. Technological advances in steel-making had seen new types of metal come onto the market and some of these, particularly crucible steel, were ideal for making razors that could for the first time guarantee a close shave.

Self Help for Beginners

The aristocratic gentleman usually retained a manservant trained to handle a razor but for most men a shave was Barbers shop obtained at the barbers and many Georgian cariacatures poke fun at the figure of the barber with his blunt razors like "oyster knives" who scraped and scraped away at the faces of his victims. Barber-surgeons had traditionally had a role in tooth-drawing and blood-letting as well as shaving (which could be much the same thing) but in 1745 a separate Company of Barbers was established. This was also the period when shaving oneself was becoming possible. For the first time razor-makers began to advertise their products to private individuals. But shaving oneself was no easy matter in the days before safety razors, especially for those with uneven or pock-marked faces. In 1770 a French razor-maker wrote "Pogonotomie; or the art of shaving Oneself," a self-help guide for beginners.

Naturally the razor had to be used in conjunction with a variety of lathers and creams, and the 1770s was also the period when these started to be marketed to individuals. Charles Woodcock of London advertised a sweet scented lather to give a close shave in 1772 and the British Shaving Paste was launched in 1793. Shaving creams and pastes were sold in many fashionable perfumiers.

Changing times, changing beards

Victorian man with beard All fashions change, of course, and by 1850 the beard was back. In the Victorian era it was associated with ideas of masculinity and male courage. The resulting popularity has contributed to the stereotypical Victorian male figure of the stern patriarch clothed in black whose authority is underscored by a heavy beard and side whiskers. This trend can be recognised in the United States of America, where the shift can be seen amongst the post-Civil War presidents. Before Abraham Lincoln no President had a beard; after Lincoln until Taft every President except Andrew Johnson and William McKinley had either a beard or a moustache. The last word should therefore go to poet Samuel Butler, who wrote in the late 17th century: "Speak with respect and honour, both of the beard and the beard's owner.

Are you a fan of the hirsute hero? Do you prefer a clean-shaven Regency man, reflecting Enlightenment ideas, or a Victorian hero whose beard is a sign of his virility and masculinity?          

135 thoughts on “A Close Shave”

  1. Have to say a clean-shaven (or perhaps slightly stubbled) Regency man has my vote. I have the uneasy notion that the full beard may hide many things both physical and psychological. Then again, the man may be perfectly circumspect, but dislike shaving.

    Reply
  2. Have to say a clean-shaven (or perhaps slightly stubbled) Regency man has my vote. I have the uneasy notion that the full beard may hide many things both physical and psychological. Then again, the man may be perfectly circumspect, but dislike shaving.

    Reply
  3. Have to say a clean-shaven (or perhaps slightly stubbled) Regency man has my vote. I have the uneasy notion that the full beard may hide many things both physical and psychological. Then again, the man may be perfectly circumspect, but dislike shaving.

    Reply
  4. Have to say a clean-shaven (or perhaps slightly stubbled) Regency man has my vote. I have the uneasy notion that the full beard may hide many things both physical and psychological. Then again, the man may be perfectly circumspect, but dislike shaving.

    Reply
  5. Have to say a clean-shaven (or perhaps slightly stubbled) Regency man has my vote. I have the uneasy notion that the full beard may hide many things both physical and psychological. Then again, the man may be perfectly circumspect, but dislike shaving.

    Reply
  6. Hmmm…I’m a bit torn here. My DH has had a beard since before I met him and the one time he shaved it off, it was such a shock, I told him to go live with his mother until it grew back.
    Beards are different though on different men. My DH keeps his very close and shaves his neck, cheeks and chin area to keep it neat. There are men who let theirs grow to enormous lengths (which I can’t stand) and who never clean them up with a trim of any kind.
    So, that said, I do like the scruff on my heroes, but I still enjoy the clean-shaven ones too. I think for me, it depends on the character himself and what he would do.
    As a side, my dad always shaved with a straight razor which I still have. It always fascinated me to wonder how he didn’t slit his throat!

    Reply
  7. Hmmm…I’m a bit torn here. My DH has had a beard since before I met him and the one time he shaved it off, it was such a shock, I told him to go live with his mother until it grew back.
    Beards are different though on different men. My DH keeps his very close and shaves his neck, cheeks and chin area to keep it neat. There are men who let theirs grow to enormous lengths (which I can’t stand) and who never clean them up with a trim of any kind.
    So, that said, I do like the scruff on my heroes, but I still enjoy the clean-shaven ones too. I think for me, it depends on the character himself and what he would do.
    As a side, my dad always shaved with a straight razor which I still have. It always fascinated me to wonder how he didn’t slit his throat!

    Reply
  8. Hmmm…I’m a bit torn here. My DH has had a beard since before I met him and the one time he shaved it off, it was such a shock, I told him to go live with his mother until it grew back.
    Beards are different though on different men. My DH keeps his very close and shaves his neck, cheeks and chin area to keep it neat. There are men who let theirs grow to enormous lengths (which I can’t stand) and who never clean them up with a trim of any kind.
    So, that said, I do like the scruff on my heroes, but I still enjoy the clean-shaven ones too. I think for me, it depends on the character himself and what he would do.
    As a side, my dad always shaved with a straight razor which I still have. It always fascinated me to wonder how he didn’t slit his throat!

    Reply
  9. Hmmm…I’m a bit torn here. My DH has had a beard since before I met him and the one time he shaved it off, it was such a shock, I told him to go live with his mother until it grew back.
    Beards are different though on different men. My DH keeps his very close and shaves his neck, cheeks and chin area to keep it neat. There are men who let theirs grow to enormous lengths (which I can’t stand) and who never clean them up with a trim of any kind.
    So, that said, I do like the scruff on my heroes, but I still enjoy the clean-shaven ones too. I think for me, it depends on the character himself and what he would do.
    As a side, my dad always shaved with a straight razor which I still have. It always fascinated me to wonder how he didn’t slit his throat!

    Reply
  10. Hmmm…I’m a bit torn here. My DH has had a beard since before I met him and the one time he shaved it off, it was such a shock, I told him to go live with his mother until it grew back.
    Beards are different though on different men. My DH keeps his very close and shaves his neck, cheeks and chin area to keep it neat. There are men who let theirs grow to enormous lengths (which I can’t stand) and who never clean them up with a trim of any kind.
    So, that said, I do like the scruff on my heroes, but I still enjoy the clean-shaven ones too. I think for me, it depends on the character himself and what he would do.
    As a side, my dad always shaved with a straight razor which I still have. It always fascinated me to wonder how he didn’t slit his throat!

    Reply
  11. I think it’s definitely the case that if you’re used to seeing someone with a beard or tash then they don’t look right without one! And I too hate the long, unkempt version that could have all kinds of food storage issues!

    Reply
  12. I think it’s definitely the case that if you’re used to seeing someone with a beard or tash then they don’t look right without one! And I too hate the long, unkempt version that could have all kinds of food storage issues!

    Reply
  13. I think it’s definitely the case that if you’re used to seeing someone with a beard or tash then they don’t look right without one! And I too hate the long, unkempt version that could have all kinds of food storage issues!

    Reply
  14. I think it’s definitely the case that if you’re used to seeing someone with a beard or tash then they don’t look right without one! And I too hate the long, unkempt version that could have all kinds of food storage issues!

    Reply
  15. I think it’s definitely the case that if you’re used to seeing someone with a beard or tash then they don’t look right without one! And I too hate the long, unkempt version that could have all kinds of food storage issues!

    Reply
  16. I’ve had a moustache since I retired…clean before that, except way back in the Navy.
    I like the hero to be mostly free of face hair…maybe just the 2-3 day look. But he does clean up for the Lady.

    Reply
  17. I’ve had a moustache since I retired…clean before that, except way back in the Navy.
    I like the hero to be mostly free of face hair…maybe just the 2-3 day look. But he does clean up for the Lady.

    Reply
  18. I’ve had a moustache since I retired…clean before that, except way back in the Navy.
    I like the hero to be mostly free of face hair…maybe just the 2-3 day look. But he does clean up for the Lady.

    Reply
  19. I’ve had a moustache since I retired…clean before that, except way back in the Navy.
    I like the hero to be mostly free of face hair…maybe just the 2-3 day look. But he does clean up for the Lady.

    Reply
  20. I’ve had a moustache since I retired…clean before that, except way back in the Navy.
    I like the hero to be mostly free of face hair…maybe just the 2-3 day look. But he does clean up for the Lady.

    Reply
  21. I prefer clean-shaven. I like seeing the whole face.
    Even worse than a beard is today’s stubble look. I don’t know what the guy with the stubble is trying to say, but the message I receive is he’s too lazy to shave. Not a person I want anything to do with.
    Either the full face fur (ugh!), or clean-shaven. Heck, if my husband can shave with his electric razor for three minutes, even giving himself a good shave in the dark (talented man, my husband), there’s no excuse!

    Reply
  22. I prefer clean-shaven. I like seeing the whole face.
    Even worse than a beard is today’s stubble look. I don’t know what the guy with the stubble is trying to say, but the message I receive is he’s too lazy to shave. Not a person I want anything to do with.
    Either the full face fur (ugh!), or clean-shaven. Heck, if my husband can shave with his electric razor for three minutes, even giving himself a good shave in the dark (talented man, my husband), there’s no excuse!

    Reply
  23. I prefer clean-shaven. I like seeing the whole face.
    Even worse than a beard is today’s stubble look. I don’t know what the guy with the stubble is trying to say, but the message I receive is he’s too lazy to shave. Not a person I want anything to do with.
    Either the full face fur (ugh!), or clean-shaven. Heck, if my husband can shave with his electric razor for three minutes, even giving himself a good shave in the dark (talented man, my husband), there’s no excuse!

    Reply
  24. I prefer clean-shaven. I like seeing the whole face.
    Even worse than a beard is today’s stubble look. I don’t know what the guy with the stubble is trying to say, but the message I receive is he’s too lazy to shave. Not a person I want anything to do with.
    Either the full face fur (ugh!), or clean-shaven. Heck, if my husband can shave with his electric razor for three minutes, even giving himself a good shave in the dark (talented man, my husband), there’s no excuse!

    Reply
  25. I prefer clean-shaven. I like seeing the whole face.
    Even worse than a beard is today’s stubble look. I don’t know what the guy with the stubble is trying to say, but the message I receive is he’s too lazy to shave. Not a person I want anything to do with.
    Either the full face fur (ugh!), or clean-shaven. Heck, if my husband can shave with his electric razor for three minutes, even giving himself a good shave in the dark (talented man, my husband), there’s no excuse!

    Reply
  26. I too prefer clean shaven; a handsome man’s face is a beautiful thing in & of itself, but more than that, beards hide expression. It’s hard enough to get a read on some men without shrubbery in the way.
    I think the stubble thing looks okay on lighter haired men, but it has to be kept clean & trimmed.
    No stubble or beard should ever look like it was an excuse to be a slob.
    Beards are scratchy, too; facial hair has a different texture than top hair. All those old Victorian guys don’t look brave & virile to me; they look like wannabes hiding in the bushes, afraid to reveal their true selves. Perhaps they had reason, but it’s an off-putting style.
    I have been trying to think of men who look better with beard than without, and coming up blank, except for Jonathan Frakes as Cmdr Will Riker; when he grew the beard, it gave his face authority, and he was wise enough to keep it well trimmed and shaped. Why Deanna Troi ever fell for Worf with Riker still hanging around will ever ramain a mystery to me, I fear.
    Most guys I have known with beards grew them because they hated shaving. Well, who doesn’t? But we do it for them – they can do it for us 🙂

    Reply
  27. I too prefer clean shaven; a handsome man’s face is a beautiful thing in & of itself, but more than that, beards hide expression. It’s hard enough to get a read on some men without shrubbery in the way.
    I think the stubble thing looks okay on lighter haired men, but it has to be kept clean & trimmed.
    No stubble or beard should ever look like it was an excuse to be a slob.
    Beards are scratchy, too; facial hair has a different texture than top hair. All those old Victorian guys don’t look brave & virile to me; they look like wannabes hiding in the bushes, afraid to reveal their true selves. Perhaps they had reason, but it’s an off-putting style.
    I have been trying to think of men who look better with beard than without, and coming up blank, except for Jonathan Frakes as Cmdr Will Riker; when he grew the beard, it gave his face authority, and he was wise enough to keep it well trimmed and shaped. Why Deanna Troi ever fell for Worf with Riker still hanging around will ever ramain a mystery to me, I fear.
    Most guys I have known with beards grew them because they hated shaving. Well, who doesn’t? But we do it for them – they can do it for us 🙂

    Reply
  28. I too prefer clean shaven; a handsome man’s face is a beautiful thing in & of itself, but more than that, beards hide expression. It’s hard enough to get a read on some men without shrubbery in the way.
    I think the stubble thing looks okay on lighter haired men, but it has to be kept clean & trimmed.
    No stubble or beard should ever look like it was an excuse to be a slob.
    Beards are scratchy, too; facial hair has a different texture than top hair. All those old Victorian guys don’t look brave & virile to me; they look like wannabes hiding in the bushes, afraid to reveal their true selves. Perhaps they had reason, but it’s an off-putting style.
    I have been trying to think of men who look better with beard than without, and coming up blank, except for Jonathan Frakes as Cmdr Will Riker; when he grew the beard, it gave his face authority, and he was wise enough to keep it well trimmed and shaped. Why Deanna Troi ever fell for Worf with Riker still hanging around will ever ramain a mystery to me, I fear.
    Most guys I have known with beards grew them because they hated shaving. Well, who doesn’t? But we do it for them – they can do it for us 🙂

    Reply
  29. I too prefer clean shaven; a handsome man’s face is a beautiful thing in & of itself, but more than that, beards hide expression. It’s hard enough to get a read on some men without shrubbery in the way.
    I think the stubble thing looks okay on lighter haired men, but it has to be kept clean & trimmed.
    No stubble or beard should ever look like it was an excuse to be a slob.
    Beards are scratchy, too; facial hair has a different texture than top hair. All those old Victorian guys don’t look brave & virile to me; they look like wannabes hiding in the bushes, afraid to reveal their true selves. Perhaps they had reason, but it’s an off-putting style.
    I have been trying to think of men who look better with beard than without, and coming up blank, except for Jonathan Frakes as Cmdr Will Riker; when he grew the beard, it gave his face authority, and he was wise enough to keep it well trimmed and shaped. Why Deanna Troi ever fell for Worf with Riker still hanging around will ever ramain a mystery to me, I fear.
    Most guys I have known with beards grew them because they hated shaving. Well, who doesn’t? But we do it for them – they can do it for us 🙂

    Reply
  30. I too prefer clean shaven; a handsome man’s face is a beautiful thing in & of itself, but more than that, beards hide expression. It’s hard enough to get a read on some men without shrubbery in the way.
    I think the stubble thing looks okay on lighter haired men, but it has to be kept clean & trimmed.
    No stubble or beard should ever look like it was an excuse to be a slob.
    Beards are scratchy, too; facial hair has a different texture than top hair. All those old Victorian guys don’t look brave & virile to me; they look like wannabes hiding in the bushes, afraid to reveal their true selves. Perhaps they had reason, but it’s an off-putting style.
    I have been trying to think of men who look better with beard than without, and coming up blank, except for Jonathan Frakes as Cmdr Will Riker; when he grew the beard, it gave his face authority, and he was wise enough to keep it well trimmed and shaped. Why Deanna Troi ever fell for Worf with Riker still hanging around will ever ramain a mystery to me, I fear.
    Most guys I have known with beards grew them because they hated shaving. Well, who doesn’t? But we do it for them – they can do it for us 🙂

    Reply
  31. I definitely prefer the clean-shave Regency look. As someone else said, men in this period often refrained from showing emotion in what they said. An expressive face is much easier to read (and for a writer to describe) without the beard! A little “five o’ clock” shadow isn’t bad from time to time, but I do like the look and feel of a clean chiseled chin!

    Reply
  32. I definitely prefer the clean-shave Regency look. As someone else said, men in this period often refrained from showing emotion in what they said. An expressive face is much easier to read (and for a writer to describe) without the beard! A little “five o’ clock” shadow isn’t bad from time to time, but I do like the look and feel of a clean chiseled chin!

    Reply
  33. I definitely prefer the clean-shave Regency look. As someone else said, men in this period often refrained from showing emotion in what they said. An expressive face is much easier to read (and for a writer to describe) without the beard! A little “five o’ clock” shadow isn’t bad from time to time, but I do like the look and feel of a clean chiseled chin!

    Reply
  34. I definitely prefer the clean-shave Regency look. As someone else said, men in this period often refrained from showing emotion in what they said. An expressive face is much easier to read (and for a writer to describe) without the beard! A little “five o’ clock” shadow isn’t bad from time to time, but I do like the look and feel of a clean chiseled chin!

    Reply
  35. I definitely prefer the clean-shave Regency look. As someone else said, men in this period often refrained from showing emotion in what they said. An expressive face is much easier to read (and for a writer to describe) without the beard! A little “five o’ clock” shadow isn’t bad from time to time, but I do like the look and feel of a clean chiseled chin!

    Reply
  36. I prefer my hero clean shaven or with some stubble but in saying that my hubby has had a beard just about as long as we have been married and that is nearly 34 years but he keeps it neat and tidy and well trimmed
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  37. I prefer my hero clean shaven or with some stubble but in saying that my hubby has had a beard just about as long as we have been married and that is nearly 34 years but he keeps it neat and tidy and well trimmed
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  38. I prefer my hero clean shaven or with some stubble but in saying that my hubby has had a beard just about as long as we have been married and that is nearly 34 years but he keeps it neat and tidy and well trimmed
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  39. I prefer my hero clean shaven or with some stubble but in saying that my hubby has had a beard just about as long as we have been married and that is nearly 34 years but he keeps it neat and tidy and well trimmed
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  40. I prefer my hero clean shaven or with some stubble but in saying that my hubby has had a beard just about as long as we have been married and that is nearly 34 years but he keeps it neat and tidy and well trimmed
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  41. Oh, what a fun post, Nicola! It’s so interesting to think of the cultural significance of the beard (the “barbarians!”)and how it’s often been derided as primitive by its opponents.
    I much prefer the clean=shaven look, a la Regency. As for the “scruff” popular today, it’s a fascinating male statement, isn’t it? I think as we have usurped their clothing, it’s a way of keeping a little of their swagger.

    Reply
  42. Oh, what a fun post, Nicola! It’s so interesting to think of the cultural significance of the beard (the “barbarians!”)and how it’s often been derided as primitive by its opponents.
    I much prefer the clean=shaven look, a la Regency. As for the “scruff” popular today, it’s a fascinating male statement, isn’t it? I think as we have usurped their clothing, it’s a way of keeping a little of their swagger.

    Reply
  43. Oh, what a fun post, Nicola! It’s so interesting to think of the cultural significance of the beard (the “barbarians!”)and how it’s often been derided as primitive by its opponents.
    I much prefer the clean=shaven look, a la Regency. As for the “scruff” popular today, it’s a fascinating male statement, isn’t it? I think as we have usurped their clothing, it’s a way of keeping a little of their swagger.

    Reply
  44. Oh, what a fun post, Nicola! It’s so interesting to think of the cultural significance of the beard (the “barbarians!”)and how it’s often been derided as primitive by its opponents.
    I much prefer the clean=shaven look, a la Regency. As for the “scruff” popular today, it’s a fascinating male statement, isn’t it? I think as we have usurped their clothing, it’s a way of keeping a little of their swagger.

    Reply
  45. Oh, what a fun post, Nicola! It’s so interesting to think of the cultural significance of the beard (the “barbarians!”)and how it’s often been derided as primitive by its opponents.
    I much prefer the clean=shaven look, a la Regency. As for the “scruff” popular today, it’s a fascinating male statement, isn’t it? I think as we have usurped their clothing, it’s a way of keeping a little of their swagger.

    Reply
  46. LOL, Linda, your husband is indeed talented and thank goodness for the electric razor!
    Janice, I really like that point about the need to be able to read a man’s face unobscured by shrubbery!

    Reply
  47. LOL, Linda, your husband is indeed talented and thank goodness for the electric razor!
    Janice, I really like that point about the need to be able to read a man’s face unobscured by shrubbery!

    Reply
  48. LOL, Linda, your husband is indeed talented and thank goodness for the electric razor!
    Janice, I really like that point about the need to be able to read a man’s face unobscured by shrubbery!

    Reply
  49. LOL, Linda, your husband is indeed talented and thank goodness for the electric razor!
    Janice, I really like that point about the need to be able to read a man’s face unobscured by shrubbery!

    Reply
  50. LOL, Linda, your husband is indeed talented and thank goodness for the electric razor!
    Janice, I really like that point about the need to be able to read a man’s face unobscured by shrubbery!

    Reply
  51. Helen, Louisa, that’s two more for the clean shaven hero brigade, I think! Cara, very interesting observation on hthe swagger of the “scruff”! And thank you, I’m so glad you liked the post!

    Reply
  52. Helen, Louisa, that’s two more for the clean shaven hero brigade, I think! Cara, very interesting observation on hthe swagger of the “scruff”! And thank you, I’m so glad you liked the post!

    Reply
  53. Helen, Louisa, that’s two more for the clean shaven hero brigade, I think! Cara, very interesting observation on hthe swagger of the “scruff”! And thank you, I’m so glad you liked the post!

    Reply
  54. Helen, Louisa, that’s two more for the clean shaven hero brigade, I think! Cara, very interesting observation on hthe swagger of the “scruff”! And thank you, I’m so glad you liked the post!

    Reply
  55. Helen, Louisa, that’s two more for the clean shaven hero brigade, I think! Cara, very interesting observation on hthe swagger of the “scruff”! And thank you, I’m so glad you liked the post!

    Reply
  56. I prefer clean-shaven. A full beard, short and neatly trimmed, is okay, but I’m in total agreement with those who feel that a beautiful man should hide none of his face. If asked, I’d say I’m against stubble, but my youngest son often lets his grow for a few days and must say I find him totally adorable (but can’t say that there is no bias in that opinion). Do NOT like the variations the Victorians were so good at, e.g. muttonchops, shaved front but beard beneath chin, etc.
    In terms of deconstructing the meaning of beards, I think it very telling that some cultures not known for gender equality insist on beards for men. It is, after all, a way of immediately announcing one’s membership in the favored (masculine) group.

    Reply
  57. I prefer clean-shaven. A full beard, short and neatly trimmed, is okay, but I’m in total agreement with those who feel that a beautiful man should hide none of his face. If asked, I’d say I’m against stubble, but my youngest son often lets his grow for a few days and must say I find him totally adorable (but can’t say that there is no bias in that opinion). Do NOT like the variations the Victorians were so good at, e.g. muttonchops, shaved front but beard beneath chin, etc.
    In terms of deconstructing the meaning of beards, I think it very telling that some cultures not known for gender equality insist on beards for men. It is, after all, a way of immediately announcing one’s membership in the favored (masculine) group.

    Reply
  58. I prefer clean-shaven. A full beard, short and neatly trimmed, is okay, but I’m in total agreement with those who feel that a beautiful man should hide none of his face. If asked, I’d say I’m against stubble, but my youngest son often lets his grow for a few days and must say I find him totally adorable (but can’t say that there is no bias in that opinion). Do NOT like the variations the Victorians were so good at, e.g. muttonchops, shaved front but beard beneath chin, etc.
    In terms of deconstructing the meaning of beards, I think it very telling that some cultures not known for gender equality insist on beards for men. It is, after all, a way of immediately announcing one’s membership in the favored (masculine) group.

    Reply
  59. I prefer clean-shaven. A full beard, short and neatly trimmed, is okay, but I’m in total agreement with those who feel that a beautiful man should hide none of his face. If asked, I’d say I’m against stubble, but my youngest son often lets his grow for a few days and must say I find him totally adorable (but can’t say that there is no bias in that opinion). Do NOT like the variations the Victorians were so good at, e.g. muttonchops, shaved front but beard beneath chin, etc.
    In terms of deconstructing the meaning of beards, I think it very telling that some cultures not known for gender equality insist on beards for men. It is, after all, a way of immediately announcing one’s membership in the favored (masculine) group.

    Reply
  60. I prefer clean-shaven. A full beard, short and neatly trimmed, is okay, but I’m in total agreement with those who feel that a beautiful man should hide none of his face. If asked, I’d say I’m against stubble, but my youngest son often lets his grow for a few days and must say I find him totally adorable (but can’t say that there is no bias in that opinion). Do NOT like the variations the Victorians were so good at, e.g. muttonchops, shaved front but beard beneath chin, etc.
    In terms of deconstructing the meaning of beards, I think it very telling that some cultures not known for gender equality insist on beards for men. It is, after all, a way of immediately announcing one’s membership in the favored (masculine) group.

    Reply
  61. I’ve always liked some form of facial hair on a man. DH has had at least a mustache since we first met and now keeps a neat goatee I think is perfect on him.
    For a historical hero, whatever fits the character and the time is fine with me. I do like a wide range of eras, so I like variety in this aspect of the hero’s appearance as well.
    Also seconding the Riker love, but he could do better than Troi.

    Reply
  62. I’ve always liked some form of facial hair on a man. DH has had at least a mustache since we first met and now keeps a neat goatee I think is perfect on him.
    For a historical hero, whatever fits the character and the time is fine with me. I do like a wide range of eras, so I like variety in this aspect of the hero’s appearance as well.
    Also seconding the Riker love, but he could do better than Troi.

    Reply
  63. I’ve always liked some form of facial hair on a man. DH has had at least a mustache since we first met and now keeps a neat goatee I think is perfect on him.
    For a historical hero, whatever fits the character and the time is fine with me. I do like a wide range of eras, so I like variety in this aspect of the hero’s appearance as well.
    Also seconding the Riker love, but he could do better than Troi.

    Reply
  64. I’ve always liked some form of facial hair on a man. DH has had at least a mustache since we first met and now keeps a neat goatee I think is perfect on him.
    For a historical hero, whatever fits the character and the time is fine with me. I do like a wide range of eras, so I like variety in this aspect of the hero’s appearance as well.
    Also seconding the Riker love, but he could do better than Troi.

    Reply
  65. I’ve always liked some form of facial hair on a man. DH has had at least a mustache since we first met and now keeps a neat goatee I think is perfect on him.
    For a historical hero, whatever fits the character and the time is fine with me. I do like a wide range of eras, so I like variety in this aspect of the hero’s appearance as well.
    Also seconding the Riker love, but he could do better than Troi.

    Reply
  66. When I married my DH, he sported a Tom Selleck style mustache. At one point in our marriage, he grew a goatee as well. However, I really like him clean shaven.
    The historical hero needs to follow the fashion of his time or have a good reason not to.

    Reply
  67. When I married my DH, he sported a Tom Selleck style mustache. At one point in our marriage, he grew a goatee as well. However, I really like him clean shaven.
    The historical hero needs to follow the fashion of his time or have a good reason not to.

    Reply
  68. When I married my DH, he sported a Tom Selleck style mustache. At one point in our marriage, he grew a goatee as well. However, I really like him clean shaven.
    The historical hero needs to follow the fashion of his time or have a good reason not to.

    Reply
  69. When I married my DH, he sported a Tom Selleck style mustache. At one point in our marriage, he grew a goatee as well. However, I really like him clean shaven.
    The historical hero needs to follow the fashion of his time or have a good reason not to.

    Reply
  70. When I married my DH, he sported a Tom Selleck style mustache. At one point in our marriage, he grew a goatee as well. However, I really like him clean shaven.
    The historical hero needs to follow the fashion of his time or have a good reason not to.

    Reply
  71. I definitely like the “scruff” look, 2-3 days’ worth of stubble is about right. Just look at Jake Gyllenhaal as the ‘Prince of Persia’! And someone like Jared Leto looks wonderful with a five o’clock shadow. Really don’t like full beards though – I always imagine there are bits of food stuck in there somewhere, yuck! 🙂

    Reply
  72. I definitely like the “scruff” look, 2-3 days’ worth of stubble is about right. Just look at Jake Gyllenhaal as the ‘Prince of Persia’! And someone like Jared Leto looks wonderful with a five o’clock shadow. Really don’t like full beards though – I always imagine there are bits of food stuck in there somewhere, yuck! 🙂

    Reply
  73. I definitely like the “scruff” look, 2-3 days’ worth of stubble is about right. Just look at Jake Gyllenhaal as the ‘Prince of Persia’! And someone like Jared Leto looks wonderful with a five o’clock shadow. Really don’t like full beards though – I always imagine there are bits of food stuck in there somewhere, yuck! 🙂

    Reply
  74. I definitely like the “scruff” look, 2-3 days’ worth of stubble is about right. Just look at Jake Gyllenhaal as the ‘Prince of Persia’! And someone like Jared Leto looks wonderful with a five o’clock shadow. Really don’t like full beards though – I always imagine there are bits of food stuck in there somewhere, yuck! 🙂

    Reply
  75. I definitely like the “scruff” look, 2-3 days’ worth of stubble is about right. Just look at Jake Gyllenhaal as the ‘Prince of Persia’! And someone like Jared Leto looks wonderful with a five o’clock shadow. Really don’t like full beards though – I always imagine there are bits of food stuck in there somewhere, yuck! 🙂

    Reply
  76. I’ve really been enjoying all these comments. Thank you! Not so much the thought of something food related or even a living creature hiding in the full beard. That said, I do think the Victorians had a marvellous variety of beard-life!

    Reply
  77. I’ve really been enjoying all these comments. Thank you! Not so much the thought of something food related or even a living creature hiding in the full beard. That said, I do think the Victorians had a marvellous variety of beard-life!

    Reply
  78. I’ve really been enjoying all these comments. Thank you! Not so much the thought of something food related or even a living creature hiding in the full beard. That said, I do think the Victorians had a marvellous variety of beard-life!

    Reply
  79. I’ve really been enjoying all these comments. Thank you! Not so much the thought of something food related or even a living creature hiding in the full beard. That said, I do think the Victorians had a marvellous variety of beard-life!

    Reply
  80. I’ve really been enjoying all these comments. Thank you! Not so much the thought of something food related or even a living creature hiding in the full beard. That said, I do think the Victorians had a marvellous variety of beard-life!

    Reply
  81. Nicola, I must say I quite like a mo, and love the stubble look, but I’m less fond of beards. Don’t like them at all, in fact. What i really like, though is sideburns — really love them — not the big hairy ones, but well trimmed and stylish.
    Stubble on a man always makes me (and my heroines) want to pet him like a big cat.

    Reply
  82. Nicola, I must say I quite like a mo, and love the stubble look, but I’m less fond of beards. Don’t like them at all, in fact. What i really like, though is sideburns — really love them — not the big hairy ones, but well trimmed and stylish.
    Stubble on a man always makes me (and my heroines) want to pet him like a big cat.

    Reply
  83. Nicola, I must say I quite like a mo, and love the stubble look, but I’m less fond of beards. Don’t like them at all, in fact. What i really like, though is sideburns — really love them — not the big hairy ones, but well trimmed and stylish.
    Stubble on a man always makes me (and my heroines) want to pet him like a big cat.

    Reply
  84. Nicola, I must say I quite like a mo, and love the stubble look, but I’m less fond of beards. Don’t like them at all, in fact. What i really like, though is sideburns — really love them — not the big hairy ones, but well trimmed and stylish.
    Stubble on a man always makes me (and my heroines) want to pet him like a big cat.

    Reply
  85. Nicola, I must say I quite like a mo, and love the stubble look, but I’m less fond of beards. Don’t like them at all, in fact. What i really like, though is sideburns — really love them — not the big hairy ones, but well trimmed and stylish.
    Stubble on a man always makes me (and my heroines) want to pet him like a big cat.

    Reply
  86. Great post, Nicola! Unique topic.
    I am firmly planted in the no-facial-hair-of-any-kind camp. No scruff, stubble, long sides, beard or mustache. It’s just too scratchy. Gets in the way of snuggling. My dearest hubby of 25 years, who I love with all my heart, grew a mustache, once, while I was away on a two-week trip. It took him almost a year to figure out that I meant it when I said there’d be no kissing until he shaved it off.
    Nina, undoubtedly hardheaded

    Reply
  87. Great post, Nicola! Unique topic.
    I am firmly planted in the no-facial-hair-of-any-kind camp. No scruff, stubble, long sides, beard or mustache. It’s just too scratchy. Gets in the way of snuggling. My dearest hubby of 25 years, who I love with all my heart, grew a mustache, once, while I was away on a two-week trip. It took him almost a year to figure out that I meant it when I said there’d be no kissing until he shaved it off.
    Nina, undoubtedly hardheaded

    Reply
  88. Great post, Nicola! Unique topic.
    I am firmly planted in the no-facial-hair-of-any-kind camp. No scruff, stubble, long sides, beard or mustache. It’s just too scratchy. Gets in the way of snuggling. My dearest hubby of 25 years, who I love with all my heart, grew a mustache, once, while I was away on a two-week trip. It took him almost a year to figure out that I meant it when I said there’d be no kissing until he shaved it off.
    Nina, undoubtedly hardheaded

    Reply
  89. Great post, Nicola! Unique topic.
    I am firmly planted in the no-facial-hair-of-any-kind camp. No scruff, stubble, long sides, beard or mustache. It’s just too scratchy. Gets in the way of snuggling. My dearest hubby of 25 years, who I love with all my heart, grew a mustache, once, while I was away on a two-week trip. It took him almost a year to figure out that I meant it when I said there’d be no kissing until he shaved it off.
    Nina, undoubtedly hardheaded

    Reply
  90. Great post, Nicola! Unique topic.
    I am firmly planted in the no-facial-hair-of-any-kind camp. No scruff, stubble, long sides, beard or mustache. It’s just too scratchy. Gets in the way of snuggling. My dearest hubby of 25 years, who I love with all my heart, grew a mustache, once, while I was away on a two-week trip. It took him almost a year to figure out that I meant it when I said there’d be no kissing until he shaved it off.
    Nina, undoubtedly hardheaded

    Reply
  91. LOL, Anne. I like that image of stroking the stubble!
    Nina, good for you! I think one has to be tough about these things. My dh also sometimes grows a beard when we are on holiday and by the end of 2 weeks it has passed the attractively stubbled phase and is well on the way to being a proper beard. Removal of beard rules then come into force!

    Reply
  92. LOL, Anne. I like that image of stroking the stubble!
    Nina, good for you! I think one has to be tough about these things. My dh also sometimes grows a beard when we are on holiday and by the end of 2 weeks it has passed the attractively stubbled phase and is well on the way to being a proper beard. Removal of beard rules then come into force!

    Reply
  93. LOL, Anne. I like that image of stroking the stubble!
    Nina, good for you! I think one has to be tough about these things. My dh also sometimes grows a beard when we are on holiday and by the end of 2 weeks it has passed the attractively stubbled phase and is well on the way to being a proper beard. Removal of beard rules then come into force!

    Reply
  94. LOL, Anne. I like that image of stroking the stubble!
    Nina, good for you! I think one has to be tough about these things. My dh also sometimes grows a beard when we are on holiday and by the end of 2 weeks it has passed the attractively stubbled phase and is well on the way to being a proper beard. Removal of beard rules then come into force!

    Reply
  95. LOL, Anne. I like that image of stroking the stubble!
    Nina, good for you! I think one has to be tough about these things. My dh also sometimes grows a beard when we are on holiday and by the end of 2 weeks it has passed the attractively stubbled phase and is well on the way to being a proper beard. Removal of beard rules then come into force!

    Reply
  96. The scruffed jaw is one I like but my first choice is clean shaven and smooooth. :)Manny years ago I loved guys with beards in the 70’s, guess it was just the times. My ex had a beard and that may have affected my choices today…gone…lol
    Carol L.

    Reply
  97. The scruffed jaw is one I like but my first choice is clean shaven and smooooth. :)Manny years ago I loved guys with beards in the 70’s, guess it was just the times. My ex had a beard and that may have affected my choices today…gone…lol
    Carol L.

    Reply
  98. The scruffed jaw is one I like but my first choice is clean shaven and smooooth. :)Manny years ago I loved guys with beards in the 70’s, guess it was just the times. My ex had a beard and that may have affected my choices today…gone…lol
    Carol L.

    Reply
  99. The scruffed jaw is one I like but my first choice is clean shaven and smooooth. :)Manny years ago I loved guys with beards in the 70’s, guess it was just the times. My ex had a beard and that may have affected my choices today…gone…lol
    Carol L.

    Reply
  100. The scruffed jaw is one I like but my first choice is clean shaven and smooooth. :)Manny years ago I loved guys with beards in the 70’s, guess it was just the times. My ex had a beard and that may have affected my choices today…gone…lol
    Carol L.

    Reply
  101. Not a big fan of the beard on some one I intend to kiss. I do however appreciate a good beard. My husband has let his grow out a time or two. The last time it was almost completely white. That didn’t make him very happy. He wouldn’t need the false one when he plays Santa, but I don’t think he’ll have one any time soon.
    My uncle had a mustache which his future bride did not really care for. The night before the wedding, after the rehearsal dinner, she stuck gum in it and he had to shave it off. The wedding took place, and they had a long happy marriage. Can’t say I approve of her method, but it was effective.
    My son has a long beard that he refuses to part with. He had equally long hair, but got tired of it and shaved it off. Both he and my husband are blacksmiths. His beard has taken some odd shapes when he singes some of it off. The group of blacksmiths they belong to sport some interesting facial hair – mutton chops, handle bar mustaches, full beards, and neatly trimmed ones. We also belong to a wood working group and there are only tow beards, my sons and an older hippy type.
    Thanks for an interesting post.

    Reply
  102. Not a big fan of the beard on some one I intend to kiss. I do however appreciate a good beard. My husband has let his grow out a time or two. The last time it was almost completely white. That didn’t make him very happy. He wouldn’t need the false one when he plays Santa, but I don’t think he’ll have one any time soon.
    My uncle had a mustache which his future bride did not really care for. The night before the wedding, after the rehearsal dinner, she stuck gum in it and he had to shave it off. The wedding took place, and they had a long happy marriage. Can’t say I approve of her method, but it was effective.
    My son has a long beard that he refuses to part with. He had equally long hair, but got tired of it and shaved it off. Both he and my husband are blacksmiths. His beard has taken some odd shapes when he singes some of it off. The group of blacksmiths they belong to sport some interesting facial hair – mutton chops, handle bar mustaches, full beards, and neatly trimmed ones. We also belong to a wood working group and there are only tow beards, my sons and an older hippy type.
    Thanks for an interesting post.

    Reply
  103. Not a big fan of the beard on some one I intend to kiss. I do however appreciate a good beard. My husband has let his grow out a time or two. The last time it was almost completely white. That didn’t make him very happy. He wouldn’t need the false one when he plays Santa, but I don’t think he’ll have one any time soon.
    My uncle had a mustache which his future bride did not really care for. The night before the wedding, after the rehearsal dinner, she stuck gum in it and he had to shave it off. The wedding took place, and they had a long happy marriage. Can’t say I approve of her method, but it was effective.
    My son has a long beard that he refuses to part with. He had equally long hair, but got tired of it and shaved it off. Both he and my husband are blacksmiths. His beard has taken some odd shapes when he singes some of it off. The group of blacksmiths they belong to sport some interesting facial hair – mutton chops, handle bar mustaches, full beards, and neatly trimmed ones. We also belong to a wood working group and there are only tow beards, my sons and an older hippy type.
    Thanks for an interesting post.

    Reply
  104. Not a big fan of the beard on some one I intend to kiss. I do however appreciate a good beard. My husband has let his grow out a time or two. The last time it was almost completely white. That didn’t make him very happy. He wouldn’t need the false one when he plays Santa, but I don’t think he’ll have one any time soon.
    My uncle had a mustache which his future bride did not really care for. The night before the wedding, after the rehearsal dinner, she stuck gum in it and he had to shave it off. The wedding took place, and they had a long happy marriage. Can’t say I approve of her method, but it was effective.
    My son has a long beard that he refuses to part with. He had equally long hair, but got tired of it and shaved it off. Both he and my husband are blacksmiths. His beard has taken some odd shapes when he singes some of it off. The group of blacksmiths they belong to sport some interesting facial hair – mutton chops, handle bar mustaches, full beards, and neatly trimmed ones. We also belong to a wood working group and there are only tow beards, my sons and an older hippy type.
    Thanks for an interesting post.

    Reply
  105. Not a big fan of the beard on some one I intend to kiss. I do however appreciate a good beard. My husband has let his grow out a time or two. The last time it was almost completely white. That didn’t make him very happy. He wouldn’t need the false one when he plays Santa, but I don’t think he’ll have one any time soon.
    My uncle had a mustache which his future bride did not really care for. The night before the wedding, after the rehearsal dinner, she stuck gum in it and he had to shave it off. The wedding took place, and they had a long happy marriage. Can’t say I approve of her method, but it was effective.
    My son has a long beard that he refuses to part with. He had equally long hair, but got tired of it and shaved it off. Both he and my husband are blacksmiths. His beard has taken some odd shapes when he singes some of it off. The group of blacksmiths they belong to sport some interesting facial hair – mutton chops, handle bar mustaches, full beards, and neatly trimmed ones. We also belong to a wood working group and there are only tow beards, my sons and an older hippy type.
    Thanks for an interesting post.

    Reply

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