It's All About Beards

Thursday, October 31, 2013

By the time this article hits print, the World Series 2013 will likely be over.

But this article isn't about winning or losing. It's about beards.

It seems that beards are cropping out all over.

Each of the Boston Red Sox players sport beards that are an icon for unity.

"We are united," Jake Peavy said. "It's a sign of unity and good luck."

I believe this insurgence of beards may have started with Duck Dynasty, a reality television series. All the male family members wear long beards, not for good luck but just because they want to. The Robertson clan, brothers Phil, Si and Phil's sons Jase, Willie and Jep are owners of business called Duck Commander. They make products for duck hunters, including duck callers.

Phil. a born again Christian, spent 25 years making duck calls from Louisiana cedar trees. The business began in a family shed. Today the CEO is Willie Robertson who used his business degree from the University of Louisiana-Monroe to take Duck Commander from a family business to a multi-million dollar empire.

Which just goes to prove that one shouldn't judge a man by his beard.

More and more television shows are being introduced that feature mountain men with beards. It seems to be an epidemic.

Of course, you don't see mountain women wearing beards and there's a reason for that.

Men and women have different reproductive systems.

Facial hair growth is controlled by hormones. Women with hormonal imbalances can have significant facial hair growth, even requiring daily shaving.

But this is the exception to the rule.

Women have estrogen which inhibits hair growth. Men have testosterone levels that cause hair growth.

That's the reason men have beards and women don't.

I've always felt sorry for men who have to shave each day. What an inconvenience that would be.

But then men don't have to deal with female issues either, like menstrual or menopause, or childbirth.

I suspect that many men grow beards just so they won't have to shave every day.

But I also suspect that beards are itchy, uncomfortable in the hot summertime. A clean shaven face might be cooler. But then in wintertime, a beard becomes a barrier between skin and cold climates. It's the original face warmer.

There are pros and cons about beards. And there are variations. There are over 30 types of beards with names like soul patch, pencil, Hollywoodian and handle bar. There are bushy, scruffy beards, and goatees and chin beards, and others extending a foot long, others cropped short, neat and trim.

Many women don't want their men to grow beards. They say the beards tickle, scratch, sting, and irritate, especially when they first start growing.

Men say that beards cause a man to look more mature, and more masculine.

The Red Sox believe that beards bring good luck, like good luck charms.

We'll see how that pans out this week.

Speaking of beards bringing good luck, my mother used to carry a tiny elephant statuette in her purse. She said it brought her good luck when she played bingo. The elephant, she explained, has to have an upturned trunk or it won't bring good luck.

Okay, mama, I understand.

Black cats and ladders used to be a bad omen at Halloween.

And also a broken mirror brought seven years bad luck, the superstition goes

Maybe the Red Sox will get lucky this year.

Or maybe they'll be shaving.