Making a monkey out of shaves

It reaffirms the fact we were once like gorillas. It is connected to cultural and religious traditions and fashion trends.
Yes, it’s the beard – a lazy man’s friend and a trendsetter’s delight.
A beard, so says its definition, is that collection of hair which grows on the chin and cheeks of humans and some animals.
That’s simple and easy to understand. But what makes beards tick is another story altogether.
There are short beards, long, flowing ones, the French style, designer stubble, and what have you.
Some choose to let their beard grow naturally and others choose to click here and find out about beard oils, balms, and shampoos to help it grow longer and more consistently.
Some choose to shave it all off and have no facial hair at all.
Charles Darwin in his work The Descent of Man put forth the theory that the process of sexual selection may have led to beards.
Another theory put forth by modern biologists reveals that the female sex finds men with beards more attractive than the clean-shaven ones.
“Oh does it, really,” says a veteran Pune journalist who last applied blade to his cheeks way back in 1979. And for the love of a beard, he even wrote a column under the nickname “Bearded Bee”.
“I still remember how my father got furious when the beard first appeared. He gave me an ultimatum – get a shave or get out.”
“It took a lot of defiances, coaxing and all other means of mollification to keep the chin hair in place.
“Yes, there were a few girls who gave more than a cursory glance a few decades ago,” he says.
“They thought I looked like this actor who was popular those days. Well, I was young and I think one has to capitalise….”
Prakash, 23, a photographer who lives in Pune, has no such problems with growing a beard.
“My parents did not interfere. I grew my beard because I like it.”
However, Ruturaj, 25, does not like growing a beard.
“My parents are strict. They won’t allow me too. So it will be a clean look for me.”
And some like Raghunath, 42, who calls himself a hairy monster, prefers to keep a beard to avoid shaving.
“In my shaving days, I had to do the damn thing twice to get one of those smooth cheeks and chin like in those shaving cream adverts. Later, I decided that the beard was a blessing. Thank God for that,” he says.
Abhinav, 28, a search engine optimisation engineer, has a long, flowing beard and he loves it. His brother too, has a similar beard.
“Why cut something which grows naturally,” says Abhinav.
“Besides, I love my beard the way it is.”
Throughout history, the beard was a sign of supremacy and sexuality.
In Egypt, the kings coloured their beards and entwined it with gold threads. The Greeks took the beard to be a sign of virility. In India, the long, flowing beard it was a sign of wisdom. For Sikhs, it was part of their religion. The Muslims also prefer to keep a beard.
If the beard has such a rich history and has attractions, then do women really love it?
“No way,” says Anita, 27, a technie.” I don’t like men with beards.”
Saloni, 23, a student of mass communication in Pune, is okay as far as beards are concerned.
“I don’t mind a man with a nice, trimmed beard. As for the ones with those long, flowing beards, they are not my type.”
Sunita, 41, an HR officer, loves beards.
“Oh that tickling sensation when you touch it. I just love that. And men look smart when they have a beard.”
So we come down to that question, “Is that tickly bit of shrubbery really worth it?”
“Look at it this way,” says Bearded Bee.
“I did not buy a razor or blades since 1979. We are now in 2017.
“Now just add up the amount of money I saved in those 38 years. Also, I did not have to wake up in the morning and think of the boring chore of shaving, particularly on cold, wintry days.
“If this is not prudent thinking, then what is?”

Babu Kalyanpur

Babu Kalyanpur, ( Consulting Editor) has rich experience in both sports and business journalism. Babu has led news desks in Pune and Bahrain and writes extensively on his passion, sports and business besides current affairs and matters of importance to Pune.

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