The other morning at McDonalds I was enjoying an Egg McMuffin and coffee. I was also doing, or attempting to do, the daily New York Times crossword puzzle. I say I was attempting because it was Thursday, and as you may know the Times puzzle gets progressively more difficult as the week wears on. Normally I don’t even think about trying it after Wednesday.
While cogitating on a clue for which I did not know the answer, a bearded creature approached my table and asked if I needed help with the puzzle. He described himself as a puzzle “aficionado.” I gave a cool “no thanks” and he departed, obviously dismayed that I did not accept his generous offer.
Did I mention he was a bearded creature? He was indeed. A nasty bushy beard hid most of his face. Not only that, but some remains of whatever he had been eating clung to the gray-white hairs. It was disgusting. (Read: “Significantly’ more germs hide in men’s beards, study finds“)
A friend and I were at another restaurant and an older man at the next table was slurping soup through his long bushy beard. I said to my friend who pretended to be unaware of the sight, “See that guy over there? He can’t find his mouth.” My friend takes everything in stride and advised me to “chill” and to look the other way. It was hard to ignore.
Too many men no longer know how to be men. They seem to equate hairiness with manliness. They must be confused about their masculinity – why else would they have a beard, wear feminizing earrings, necklaces, jangly bracelets and reek of nasty cologne?
The other thing is, how in the world can you tell what a man is all about if you can’t see his face? I don’t know about you, but I read faces – not just eyes, but faces. I want to see what’s behind the mask.
Another friend sent a photo of a Bearded Mess she met on the Internet. I thought to myself at the time, “How can she tell what he is?” I kept my counsel and you guessed it, he turned out not the man of her dreams. I believe personal life events, beliefs, and actions eventually play out on the face. You need to be able to see an unadorned face to evaluate properly what you are dealing with.
Some time ago, I read about a former British Foreign Secretary who asks Muslim women visiting his office to remove their veils. He explained that he felt uncomfortable talking with someone whose face he cannot see. He said the value of a meeting, as opposed to a letter or phone call is that you can see what the person means, not just what they say.
Veils or beards. What’s the difference. They both block full disclosure of identity and intent.
Another thought: Isn’t it ironic that while it’s okay for men to have beards and generally look like something the cat dragged in, women feel obligated to tweeze, rip, pull, tear, and shave every last stray hair off of every inch of their body below the neck to make themselves more attractive to a guy who could not care less about personal grooming. I know that’s generalizing, but it’s more accurate than not.
I can understand young guys who are still trying to find themselves (whatever that means) and have bought into the fashion of the day and want to be attractive to young women. (Young women often have strange preferences these days, and seem willing to put up with most anything, so what do I know about what they find attractive.) But old or older guys should just shave it all off. It will make them look years younger and enhance whatever attractiveness may still be left.
Whatever happened to neat, clean-shaven men in power suits and ties, who knew they were men, who would rather be dead than seen wearing feminizing earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and smelling better than I do.
Whew! I feel better now. But probably only until I encounter another beard. But look, Girlfriends (and Guys), I know you have thoughts about this too, so leave me a message in the comment area below. If you disagree with me, I will love it. I am never too old to learn something new. Go ahead — try it — you will like it!
Barbara Morris is editor and publisher of The Put Old on Hold Journal.