Shifty Beards

by The Macleod

I see men in beards wherever I go. They’ve been a part of our society for centuries and I’m sure they will remain so for some time to come. They’re just a fact of life I guess. They are a sign of manliness, power and courage (let’s get this straight right now – I’m talking about beards, not goatees or mustaches, but full on, kick-you-in-the-face beards). And if you disagree then just think of some of the famous men who adorn beards:

  • Abraham Lincoln (granted his was missing the ‘stache, but it’s still a kick ass beard)
  • Sean Connery post-“The Untouchables”
  • Zeus
  • Paul Bunyan
  • Rob Roy MacGregor (at least insofar as the movie is accurate)
  • Russell Crowe as a Gladiator
  • Macho Man Randy Savage
  • Commander Riker
  • Jesus
  • Santa Claus

Quite the list, eh? And that’s just to name a few. Who else but a bearded man could free the slaves, die for our sins, or travel to every Christian child on earth bearing gifts in a matter of hours? Not some clean shaven, baby-faced momo, I’ll tell ya that much right now. These aren’t just guys, these are men. They’re tough fuckin’ dudes who aren’t takin’ no shit from nobody. Hell, even the manliest man of them all has a beard. Yeah that’s right, God has a beard. I know, I know. No one can say what he looks like (and his very existence, well, we’ll just leave that one for another rant I think), but I’ll be damned if everyone on earth doesn’t picture a big, long, white flowing beard on him (except for those “God is a woman” heretics – I don’t fucking think so, ladies).

This now brings me to the real meat of this rant. I’ve established that beards are a universal constant in western society, and that traditionally they’ve been a physical representation of courage and strength. But on some other level, don’t they just creep you out? Think about it. Sure, they can be heroic and virtuous, but whether its grower intends it or not, it’s a de facto mask. None of us really has any idea what a bearded man actually looks like.

I’m sitting here at Kaffa enjoying some of their sweet brew and at the next table is a wickedly bearded man. He has an enormous bushy growth on his face to accompany his long stringy hair a la jogging Forrest Gump twenty years older. He sits there quietly reading a book on Kananaskis Country and after discreetly staring at him on and off for the past half hour or so I realized that I have absolutely no idea what this man really looks like. Can you imagine if your father looked like this since you were born? Physically he would be an enigma to you and your family. This I find just slightly disturbing. My grandpa has had a large beard since just before I was born, and before that he had a mustache for years. My grandma tells me he’s a good-looking fella. Whatever, I guess. I can only nod at that and trust her foggy memory to remember back to 1972 which was probably the last time even he saw himself clean shaven. For all intents and purposes he may as well be wearing a hood over his head.

A beard is, therefore, the male world’s perfect disguise. It’s natural and the unsuspecting observer would never think that the bearded man could be hiding something. Were I a master criminal plotting some major caper I would stop shaving as soon as the planning began. You would fool any police department in the world if you had a year of scruffy, scraggly facial hair at the time of the crime, and instantly shaved it upon making your getaway. I saw “The Fugitive” and there’s no way that Dr. Richard Kimble survived for a year or two on the run just on his wits. He shaved the beard. Voila! Relatively clean getaway. This has led me to live by a new credo: “Beware the bearded man!” View them with suspicion people!!! They’re a shifty bunch.

  • Shifty Beards
  • by The Macleod
  • Published on June 1st, 2001

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