Sunday, August 23, 2015

Pogonological prognostications

Far be it from me to enter into the more abstruse points of style or fashion blogging, but on one occasion a little while ago I heard the possibly beard related feedback that I "looked like I had just slept under a bridge". As you can imagine, this put my beard more than a little out of joint: I was going more for the "looked like an internet troll who hadn't been out of the basement to wash for five months" look, or possibly some "absolutely batshit insane street poetry" chic. But whatever, "just slept under the bridge" look doesn't sound all that different, really. And who knows, perhaps sleeping under bridges is going to become the next big thing?

Fashion is a puzzling thing at the best of times, and beard fashion even more puzzling: one day, beards are in fashion; the next day, beards are out again; the day after, gentlemen's beards are still out of fashion, ladybeards, however, are making a stunning come back. I noticed walking along Alexandra Parade yesterday that Gillette Razors were attempting to stage a little coup with their latest advertising campaign: they invited people to stage a 'hipstervention' for bearded friends. Times are tough in razor land, it seems, with beards being resolutely attached to their hipsters (it would be kind of disturbing if they weren't and just went roaming around on their own, really).

I am kind of ambivalent about this whole thing: my current beard preceded, if not hipsterdom itself, certainly my discovery of hipsterdom. At some point someone expressed a wish that I grow a beard, at about the same point that I began expressing the beard myself. It didn't take much effort, after all.

Beards, for Gillette, et al, are a problem: they just kind of take care of themselves. If you let them, they will pretty much develop their own shape and form, and require little to no bother on the part of the wearer. Many beards develop a natural fork in them. Hairs in a beard, curiously, will tend to tumble down to the one height, as if they had been using a ruler and squared themselves off at that point. And they have a texture quite unlike any other hair on the body: the hairs get all mixed up and form a dense map and are rather - sproingy. For this last reason, beards are extremely useful for putting objects in, which can then be removed at parties or to impress small humans and irritate adults, at the beard owners leisure.  And they are a natural opportunity for chaps such as myself to express our natural sympathies with the animal world; ie, my cats have whiskers, which please me greatly. Why can't I return the favour?

The trend for beards won't last, of course. Gillette are just opportunistically trying to cash in on the end of a fashion and looking at the - er - cutting edge of the next one. Thinking about the manscaping trends of the nineties and noughties, one dreads to think what will next be expected of us chaps. On the whole, when it comes to the question of whether to cut off bits of myself or keep them, I fall in favour of the latter proposition. In the meantime, I will continue to manifest my hirsuteness in all companies, whether I sleep under bridges or not.

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