A man’s man

… and his beard. Does a manly man have a beard? Is that a trick question?

               From ancient history up until now, facial hair was sort of equivalent to virility and wisdom for those who had none of that. It’s also because religion demands it, sometimes. But why would modern man want a beard? Maybe a moustache, instead. Big, fluffy (that’s a word I wouldn’t mention around moustache sporting fellows), Kaizer Wilhelm the second type handlebar moustache. Yea, that’d do it. You know why men sport such hairy appendages? To look rough, tough, woodchopper style. You know why real rough, tough woodchoppers sport them? Because they don’t bother shaving or maybe because it’s too cold to shave or go without a beard. They already know they’re rough and tough. They’d be comfortable in bloody pink tutus, you know, but wearing those would give one frostbite where you really aren’t supposed to get one. Whenever I see a young man with a big, Taliban looking beard and pointy moustache, I (to my undying shame) automatically assume he’s an idiot. Generally, I’m about right. Why? Shaming hipsters, that’s why. Yea, sure, let’s go with that..

               What reason is there to have a big beard? Do you eat your soup by dipping your beard in it? Do girls love it? Is it fun to fish out last week’s food once a week? Come to think of it, I did have a small beard when I got married, it kinda went poof! after a year. No, not because of what you think, but because my conscience demanded it be removed. Yea, she also demanded I bloody put down the seat after I’m done, so, like any other tough man faced with this dilemma and an angry wife, I shaved and learned to pee sitting down. Silently. No farts, no scratching. Those are approved only after many, many years of “yes, dear” and “no, dear”. The reason for my beard removal? It scratches and stings when kissing. Imagine that. Even now, when I dream of myself at old age, I imagine having a Sean Connery style beard. Yea, that’s my fantasy. Now, let’s talk real reasons.

               A man fancies himself tough, scarred, all-leather biker. He gets married. He ditches the bike for a sedan, gets a shave and a haircut, loses the leather for a two-button British cut suit. His friends desert him because who’d want that fellow glancing his watch or phone every minute when out drinking beer because he’s on a curfew? In short, his old lifestyle goes away. Then the wife suddenly starts complaining about him, maybe even leaves him. Why? He’s not the man she married. Ouch, that’s gotta sting. There’s even a beer commercial like that, I think. It’s something all men fear, the loss of identity. Only most men I know don’t have one to begin with. What’s better than having an identity? Why faking one, of course..

               No man worthy of the name would buy a bloody Hummer to drive around London or New York. It’s not about insecurity, either – it’s about the parking and the driving. A real man sees utility – which is why most keep their lucky shirts well after their expiry date, me thinks. My conscience also threw out some of mine, when I wasn’t looking. She’s also been poking holes in them to have a valid reason for sending them to the garbage, I did once catch her in the act. Boy, did we have a fight then.

               I’m not a manly man. I don’t have a beard, though my chest hair might compensate for that. And let’s not mention the hair on my back. I mean it, let’s not mention it. Let it go, I said. Sheesh. The nerve of some people. I don’t really care about my hair, facial or body hair (let’s assume I’m telling the truth here, shall we?). The actual truth is, I don’t care if I go bald, either. Less dandruff, I figure. Why would I care about it? I’d rather care about my other brain, so to speak. That’s what makes me a man. Also, it’s why I don’t understand the “manly” adjective (it is an adjective, right?). What do you mean, there’s more than one kind of man? Why the hell would I care if somebody else is shaving his legs? Oh, wait. I’d care. Listen here, son, I’m joking. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a half a meter beard and clean shaven legs. It doesn’t matter if you’re sporting a moustache old Prussian generals would be proud of, or wearing lip-gloss and eyeliner. You’re a man. You’ll be a man doing ballet and you’ll still be a man kissing your wife’s hand as a thank you. How you look doesn’t matter. Those who doubt that aren’t worth keeping around.

               Ever see a young dad proudly wearing make-up? You can be sure his daughter practiced on him. Or painted his fingernails. It doesn’t make him any less of a man. You can be the toughest biker, with scary tattoos and scars – if a little girl pretends to give you a cup of tea, you bloody sit down and pretend to drink it. Your tattoos won’t fade and your leather won’t crack. And laughing at such a sight won’t make you anything else than an idiot.

               I have friends who won’t wear pink. I have friends who think some shirt colors are for girls and won’t be caught dead wearing one. I have friends who think some activities are for men and others are for women. I’m still wondering, at times, how come I’m their friend. Not the other way around, but why they choose to be around me, more or less. I don’t give a shit if they’re washing the dishes, at home. I don’t care how they look. Some look silly, some don’t. Bottom line is, I tend to see them as insecure and I’m also making fun of them every chance I get. The more flashy somebody is, the harder they try to look like somebody they’re not, the more insecure they appear. I understand utility, I understand cleanliness, I even sometimes understand matching shirts and ties – though that last concept is only vaguely familiar to me. What I don’t understand is why they think their appearance is who they are. I can’t, really. I do watch romantic films with my wife, I even cry at some – If only for instance. Or Marley and me. Why wouldn’t I? You think lumberjacks don’t cry? Bullshit, mon ami.

               A man is never either manly or not, that’s a stereotype. Metrosexuals, lumbersexuals and other types of “als” aren’t more masculine than your typical male. It’s just fashion, like bikinis and pointy bras. It can go out of style, and in the case of effeminate looks, already have. If you think that what makes a man can go out of style, you’re either an idiot or an eunuch. You have no idea who you are. Butch-femmes are manlier than you. Identity isn’t affected by fashion. If it is, it’s not identity. Yes, I know, faking is better than showing your confusion to the world but guess what? They already fake it, too. At this game, the fastest fake gets the prize, a 30 second appearance in the spotlight. That’s all.

               You can be whoever you want and you choose to give that chance up? Grow a pair, dude. Teenagers have swag, young men have style, real men have class. Why? Class isn’t affected by anything – it’s not trendy, it’s not fashionable, it’s common sense. If you want to see class in action, go to a nude beach where British lords and ladies show off their latest wrinkles. You don’t need a Savile Row suit for that. It’s common sense, it’s common courtesy. Think Colin Firth in Kingsman. Though, he did have some nice suits custom-made. Homosexuality isn’t contagious. You looking like you’re on your way to chop wood isn’t helping you resist it. Secretly wishing you’ll get a girlfriend won’t prepare you for the moment you actually are face-to-face with a girl. And believe me, any girl who buys into that fake identity thing isn’t one you’d want to grow old with. But that’s ok, you won’t. Either she wakes up and leaves you, or you wake up and she doesn’t. Both scenarios are equally frightening, right?

               Choose well, son. Don’t choose to have a beard or not, choose if you’re a man who has a beard or not. Choose your identity first and decide on the beard after. If you know who you are, it won’t matter what I think if you decide to sport a beard or not. My problem isn’t with beards, my problem is with who you are. If you decide to grow a beard to look manly, I’ll know. If you decide to wear a beard because you like one or because it’s convenient – I’ll know. Decide to be somebody who either has a beard or not. Don’t decide to have a beard or not in order to be somebody.

Post scriptum:

               I can only publish the above unchanged if I’m to be the sexist chauvinist pig to the end. Meaning my conscience (yes, sweetie, I hear and obey!) only allows me this freedom if I do one about the other side. Next stop, women and their work. And that’s going to hurt.. Me.


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