Saturday, 20 December 2014
The Philosophy of Beards
They say we hit 'peak beard' last year, but anecdotal evidence tells me that men who sport a growth are not going to give it up on the mere say-so of fashion writers.
If you wear a beard, and it suits you, you hang on to it. Some men just look better with beards. It will look even better as you get older. Look after it though. First Olympian can help with this.
And talk to your beard. They're like plants, science tells us. They grow better if they're happy, and they're happier if you talk to them. I'm sure they'd like to learn more about The Philosophy of Beards [Amazon].
The Gowing Defence
The Philosophy of Beards is by eccentric Victorian writer Thomas S. Gowing, and re-published by the British Library. Gowing uses his book to present a manifesto, nay polemic (it was adapted from a lecture), for the wearing of a beard as a projection of manly virtues. Even then the beard was under attack from the impulses of fashion: 'O Fashion! What strange vagaries playest thou with the sons and daughters of men! What is there so lovely, that thou canst not, with a word, transform into an object of disgust and abhorrence?' We know what he would think about 'peak beard'.
Take it away Mr. Gowing:
'Though there are individual exceptions, the absence of Beard is usually a sign of physical and moral weakness.'
'Take two drawings of the head of a lion, one with and the other without the mane. You will see how much of the majesty of the king of the woods, as well as that of the lord of the earth, dwells in this free-flowing appendage.'
'With every attempt at freedom on the Continent the beard re-appears. Greek freedom and Greek Beards expired together.'
Beard-lovers will also be pleased to know that the book contains illustrations of great beards from history.