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So what’s with male facial hair?

Updated on January 24, 2012

La Grange

Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris
President Theodore Roosevelt
President Theodore Roosevelt

I'm not opposed to beards

Let me begin by saying that I am not opposed to male facial hair.

Some men such as Tom Selleck, Chuck Norris, Teddy Roosevelt and as a writer, who can forget the formidable facial hair of one Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. “Mark Twain”; all have worn their facial hair very well but that’s not true of many today.

It wasn’t that long ago that facial hair on a man was usually reserved for older men, homeless men, nomads or for some as an ethnic or cultural identification.

But for probably the past twenty years it has become what I consider almost an epidemic.

With respect to my sons who “play” off and on with beards, goatees and mustaches, what’s it all about?

I mean it is not a simple thing to maintain; I know because I’ve tried it. I mean I have no problem with growing facial hair (the manly thing to say I know); unfortunately that is too easy. It’s the maintenance. Why not just be clean shaven?

I mean, I know Don Johnson started making the “near or shadow beard” a fad back in the old television Miami Vice days and then everyone I knew who was not in the ministry had one and even some of them.

As time progressed the beards got fuller, more unique and then longer.

When ZZ Top (the Classic Rockers) came along and had beards almost long enough to reach the floor while driving motorcycles and classic cars; well that was just it.

Mechanics and auto body technicians just had to have the ZZ Top look. It seemed like on every car they completed, they had to have a Polaroid photo taken. I was working part time in a body shop at the time and one body tech while welding, accidentally caught his ZZ Top style beard on fire and well, he nearly died. The shop immediately banned beards of all styles and at least for shops in the area, clean shaven men were back.

Then there are preachers and don’t get me started here. Yes I know Charles Spurgeon himself had almost the equivalent of a ZZ Top style beard as did Evangelist Dwight L. Moody but for the most part, the clean shaven minister had basically been a tradition and even a requirement for being a pastor.

Then all of a sudden my Southern Baptist Pastor colleague, Dr. Rick Warren of Saddle Back Community Church, donned a short beard, mustache and goatee and now every young pastor/preacher seems to think, “they gotta have one”.

It’s quite the rave, this whole male facial hair thing. But the question still rages on as to why?

They get messy, get in the way, difficult to maintain and from years of marriage and pre-marriage counseling, my experience says most woman don’t like them. In fact I was recently counseling a much older woman about her problems in dating and her remarks to me were that she wished she could find "a man her age who didn’t look like Santa" (my personal apology to Santa Clause).

Samuel Clemens a.k.a Mark Twain
Samuel Clemens a.k.a Mark Twain

Hub 5 of 30 in 30 Day Challenge


The beard is a cover up

In viewing some recent television programs, it appears most women prefer a clean shaven face and chest and some even prefer shaven legs and arms. Have you seen the “male hair removal products” on pharmacy shelves?

So again, why spend all the efforts to trim, prim and prod those beards?

Historically, the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans all practiced (although there were exceptions) clean shaven faces. They utilized the popular “singe” cutting method still practiced by some barbers today.

Psychologically, the beard is a “cover up” and yes Freud too had a beard. He admitted his confused and displaced psyche and his infatuation with many unmentionables. Freud indeed had much to hide.

From my years of counseling whenever a man decided to grow a beard, he was usually covering up his beginning of an affair. Ironically, I never met a woman who didn’t sense this; it was like notice given to the wife she was being replaced. Men often do it to avoid intimacy with their wife because they don’t want to be involved with two women at the same time.

Beards have come and gone and some cultures and ethnicities have always identified with a certain style of facial hair. There are other cultures and ethnicities which cannot produce facial hair and many of us admire that lack of ability.

As I stated in the beginning I have nothing against men who want facial hair; if that’s their choice then so be it.

For me however, well I just love the feel of a woman’s lips against my bare face and want nothing in her way preventing her sweet lips from touching mine.

©Copyright 2012 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

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    • Drtruthman profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

      Thanks for the read and comment and I do hope you realize it was ALL in Fun. I certainly understand all the reasons for wearing beards and facial hair. Again, thanks for your comment.

    • Drtruthman profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

      Well right you are phdast7 it is ONLY in fun. Actually trying to have a little fun with my 3 sons who all play with bears and 2 of them maintain shadow beards and goatees and yours truly even tends to go with the "shadow beard 2 or 3 days a week of course with all of the graying, there isn't much to see any more...LOL Thanks for stopping by.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      7 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Interesting hub, humorous look at facial hair.

      My husband has had a mustache since I met him 27 years ago. I do not care one way or another but I think he looks better with a beard and his mustache. He accidentally shaved too much of the mustache one time and I found out how bad the scar he hides with it is. Vietnam, he got blasted in the face with shrapnel and it left a really bad scar.

      Now, he has a huge goiter on his neck and until the VA decides to take it off, he wears a beard. We run the clippers over it once a week to keep it trim and in control.

      He has also worn it in the winter for most of our marriage, it keeps his face warm. In the summer, it used to go because it was hot. Now, it just gets trimmed closer.

      His hands shake so bad, that he is afraid that he will cut his own throat. His eyesight is also bad enough that he misses clumps. I do not feel up to shaving him daily so he has opted to keep a short beard. I am fine with that.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Well, I am glad it was in fun...otherwise I would be worried...about me! I really like a trim beard or goatee, certainly moustaches on men. Now I can't deal with the mountain man - ZZ top beard. That is pretty hard to take. But I really dislike long, fluffy side burns. Not sure what this means about me...maybe I should see a therapist. :)

    • Drtruthman profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

      Thanks Susan for reading and responding you are such a great commenter. You should certainly have a career as a critic somewhere. I hope you know my article was all done in fun. Having fun with my 3 sons and a few friends. I even keep a "shadow beard" when I am not out in the field working and just writing......yes I know a bit hypocritical....LOL but again it was all in fun and I am sure Howard looks great in his facial hair. BTW, In my rock n roll days I too had the long locks and red for afro....loved that Fro man I used to have natural curly hair before I started losing it and man when Fro's were in style, I just knew I had arrived. Ah, those were the days...except my girlfriend at the time hated the Fro...LOL So as Rick Nelson said,"you can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself".

    • Drtruthman profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

      Steve, I hope you know I did it all in fun. I have nothing against beards at all. Like I said, I have even played with it from time to time. My 3 sons all have various facial hair from time to time and I even keep a "shadow beard" have the time when I'm just writing. Man, you are a marvelous writer, I'm sure it helps with the depression. I know we're an ocean apart but by chat and phone as a counselor/psychologist, I am always here for friends. Just so you know.

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 

      7 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Lee I have a full beard now and not just a Goatie. Since I had my last bout of depression I grew the beard as I feel it is something I can hide behind.It hides the real me from view. It also feels a comfort and that I am not laying myself bare. Weird I know, but that is how it is.

      Thanks for doing this Hub and sharing it with everybody here.

    • profile image

      Susan Joyner-Stumpf 

      7 years ago

      Dr Lee, enjoyed your HUB. My Husband Howard, for the first time in our 22-year marriage, is sporting a salt and pepper beard. He does maintain it rather neatly, I have to say. It tickles, and every now and then, I have to inform him that some food crumbs are caught in the folds of his ~ ahem, beard, which really turns me off at that point. Otherwise, admittedly, he does look distinguished, but in the long run, I agree with the other ladies here that I do prefer a clean shaven face, tho Howard does look "sexy." Long hair is another story, though, to this day I still love long hair on men if they can wear it well. It’s not necessary that every man have this, some men would not wear it well. For instance, Patrick Stewart from Star Trek looks great bald and I think he would actually look weird with head hair.

      Howard, my husband, must be going through a phase or “reliving his youth” because he's now depressed over having lost his third motorcycle in two years and is planning on buying another one once our finances allow such an extravagance. With his new well-maintained beard, I'm thinking he's pretending to be Dennis Hopper or Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. But heck, when I'm on my white stallion, I guess I'm channeling Annie Oakley, so go figure.

      I'll never forget growing up, loving long hair on men due to the Beatles, and bringing home boyfriends that looked like the Beatles and my parents having a hissy fit, or worse. Though the Beatles didn't sport moustaches and beards until Magical Mystery Tour, it's the long hair I'm referring to, which sort of jives with your Facial Hair Hub here, don't you think? Maybe I digress.

      In the end, I loved reminding my parents that Jesus had long hair and a beard, lol. I know that wasn't right to bring it up (sorry Jesus but I know even YOU have a sense of humor) but at least it kept my parents in the change-the-subject-mode when I said that.

    • Drtruthman profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

      Thanks Michele and Debbie. I appreciate the read and comments. Glad to have two ladies agree. You reinforce my point.

    • Drtruthman profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

      Thanks Michele. I appreciate the read and the comment. I'm glad two ladies are in agreement right away with me on this. My youngest son is getting married and I thought this would be somewhat touch him in a humorous way. I don't think the fiance is that thrilled with his shadow beard. And he too is a minister. Thanks so much for the read and comment.

    • Drtruthman profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

      Thanks Debbie, I really appreciate the read and commented. I am glad it entertained you. With all the strife in the world I thought a little humor was in order. Thanks so much.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      7 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Loved this hub. Gave it a thumbs up. Glad my hubby has a nice clean face :)

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      7 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Well bare lips are are so funny....thank you for such an entertaining hub...I voted up..debbie


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