Friday, February 02, 2018

Why the Beard?

I thought to write this after someone gave his beard reasons on Facebook. I dissented from some of his so have adapted his list with some of my own. Mu beard will be 48 years old this year. I started letting it grow when we arrived in Nigeria which was also the time our first child was born I had always wanted to grow on but had a special reason not to grow one in England. Hitchhiking.
   As a student I hitched a lot. My best =t ride was over 300 miles, Portsmouth to home near Thirsk, North Yorkshire. My fastest was 200+ miles from home to London in four hours. To get lifts I set out to be as smart as possible. I was clean shaven, suit and with a sign to show my intended destination. Married, I stopped that mode of travel and after a year was in Nigeria and ready to abandon the razor.
   So the reasons - not in a particular order.
Here are the reasons Why I have my Beard.
1. I beard because I am a man - God created me to beard. Shaving goes against the natural order of my masculinity. God placed hair follicles on my face, and he gave me testosterone to make them grow. This reason alone should be enough to satisfy the harshest critic of the beard.
2. I beard because Jesus had a beard.
3. I beard because no one has ever mistaken me for a lady.
4. I beard because my beard covers a multitude of chins.
5. I beard because my beard hides a serious deformity called my face.
6. I beard because my beard keeps my face warm in the winter.
7. I beard because I save money on expensive razors.
8. I beard because I do not like to shave.
9. I beard because I save time every morning not shaving.
10. I beard because I have a round face and my long beard helps make my face look longer and thinner.
11. I beard because I like having a beard.
12. I beard because I am a rebel, a nonconformist and in my youth conformity was clean shaven.
13. I beard because I now have a natural bib which protects my shirts and ties.
14. I beard because I now have a place to hide things like snacks, sandwiches, tools, and weapons.
15. I beard because it is a sign of peace. Soldiers were clean shaven so they could not be grabbed in hand to hand combat.
16. I beard because Charles Spurgeon said, “Growing a beard is a habit most natural, Scriptural, manly and beneficial”.
17. I beard because it bothers legalists and Pharisees.
18. I beard because I can.
19. I beard because my beard prevents sunburn in the summer.
20. I beard because my beard prevents 95% of harmful UV rays from reaching my face, thus helping prevent skin cancer.
21. I beard because shaving can cause acne.
22. I beard because my beard serves as a natural filter which prevents microscopic allergens and airborne bacteria from entering my mouth and nose, leading to less hay fever and overall better health.
23. I beard because my beard helps prevents wrinkles on my face.
24. I beard because my beard helps keep my skin moist.
25. I beard because it marks me out as memorable.
26. I beard because if I shaved my children and grandchildren would not know me.
There you have it friends. Twenty-six reasons Why I Beard. Why do you not beard? 
If I get asked is, “Why don’t you shave?” My response is always, “I like my legs the way they are”. 
After a while in Nigeria I heard that a young man with a full beard is a rebel. This was the country that had in the year of my arrival ended the Biafran civil war led by the arch rebel, Ojukwu, who had a full beard. In the Northern Nigerian culture a beard was more of a chin tuft for an old man. I did not care. I am the nonconformist rebel. So I for decades had a fairly well trimmed full beard. But beards became more common. So I went for something bigger. I was going grey. The Father Christmas look was in for me. For a number of years I had a New Year, new man trim, fairly short and neat. Then I grew it to play the part at Christmas and as the old year ended the old beard was trimmed. The Father Christmas look got me onto Sky TV at Lords. Sri Lanka last day against England and I wearing a red top was front row in the grandstand. The man behind tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'You're on Sky', showing me the pictures on his phone. Later a steward who had heard the commentary from Shane Warne told me that Warne had said 'Father Christmas has come early'. I sent the steward with a message to tell Warne it was June. 'Not Father Christmas here but W.G. Grace.'
   It has been said the three ages of man are,
First you believe in Father Christmas.
Second you do not believe in father Christmas
Finally you are father Christmas
    But I am in a fourth age.
   But about three years ago I decided to be more adventurous. The Reformation beard is now for me. Have you seen the beards of Calvin and Knox? Luther stayed with his monkish chin except when in disguise and hiding as Junker George. I believe Reformation men went for beards to show thew were not Roman priests. I note that Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, was clean shaven while Henry VIII lived. Henry broke with Rome but not from Catholicism. Henry gone, Cranmer  never shaved again.
   I shall never shave D.V.. There were two past occasions only when I would have done. If on their death bed my mother or my aunt, her sister, had again asked me to shave I would have done. But their minds were on graver matters.
   To conclude, some bearded quotes. 
A beard is an asset more often than not. It gives strength to a face more often than not. Women are aroused by a beard. - Anon quoted in L, Dunklind and J Foley, the Guinness Book of Beards and Moustaches

"Beard Shaving and the Common Use of the Razor; an Unnatural, Irrational, Unmanly, Ungodly and Fatal Fashion among Christians"
"Shaving , a break of the Sabbath and a Hindrance to the Spread of the Gospel' - 19th century book titles quoted in "My Bearded Friend", Keith Stewart

Facial hair on men is also a powerful symbol. It represents nonconformity, masculinity and unruliness. - Erica Jong

We have now for many centuries triumphed over nature to the extent of making certain secondary characteristics of the male (such as the beard) disagreeable to nearly all the females--and there is more in that than you might suppose. --Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) _The Screwtape Letters_ [1942], "Letter 20"

You know it's hard to hear what a bearded man is saying. He can't speak above a whisker.~Herman J Mankeiwicz, in R.E.Drennan, Wit's End

Kissing a fella with a beard is like a picnic. You don't mind going through a little brush to get there. Minnie Pearl (1912 &endash; 1996)

Of the seven dwarves only Dopey had a shaven face This should tell us something about the custom of shaving. ~Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All (1990)

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.
William Shakespeare. Much Ado about Nothing. Act ii. Sc. 1.

The nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies . . . to contribute to the beauty of manliness and strength. —LACTANTIUS

The beard signifes the courageous . . . the earnest, the active, the vigorous. So that when we describe such, we say, he is a bearded man. —SAINT AUGUSTINE

[God] adorned man like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him, as an attribute of manhood . . . a sign of strength. —CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

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