Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair by Christopher Oldstone-Moore

By Christopher Oldstone-Moore

Beards—they’re all of the rage nowadays. have a look round: from hip urbanites to rustic outdoorsmen, well-groomed metrosexuals to post-season hockey gamers, facial hair is all over the place. The New York Times strains this bushy development to the world financial center hipsters circa 2005 and studies that at the present time a few New Yorkers pay hundreds of thousands of bucks for facial hair transplants to hide patchy, juvenile beards. And in 2014, blogger Nicki Daniels excoriated bearded hipsters for turning a logo of manliness and tool right into a flimsy style assertion. The beard, she stated, has changed into the padded bra of masculinity.

Of Beards and Men makes the case that today’s bearded renaissance is a part of a centuries-long cycle during which facial hairstyles have different in accordance with altering beliefs of masculinity. Christopher Oldstone-Moore explains that the clean-shaven face has been the default type all through Western history—see Alexander the Great’s beardless face, for instance, because the Greek heroic perfect. however the primacy of razors has been challenged through the years by way of 4 nice bearded activities, starting with Hadrian within the moment century and stretching to today’s bristled resurgence. The clean-shaven face at the present time, Oldstone-Moore says, has come to indicate a virtuous and sociable guy, while the beard marks a person as self-reliant and unconventional. historical past, then, has verified particular meanings for facial hair, which either motivate and constrain a man’s offerings in how he offers himself to the world.

This attention-grabbing and erudite background of facial hair cracks the masculine hair code, laying off gentle at the offerings males make as they form the hair on their faces. Oldstone-Moore adeptly lays to relaxation universal misperceptions approximately beards and vividly illustrates the relationship among grooming, identification, tradition, and masculinity. To a shocking measure, we discover, the historical past of fellows is written on their faces.

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