of beards, and of sexual equality

For those who have picked up on my beard Tweets, the new beard was about a week old when it’s tenure was terminated. I hadn’t intended to grow one, but in feeling rotten with the stinker of a virus that took me over I had neglected to shave for about four days and decided that, with Christmas coming and no need to be anywhere special that I would cease thought of shaving and see what the effect was.

This was not my first beard; I had one for a while in 1980. This was neatly trimmed and in the style of Noel Edmunds. I had worn it for about a month prior to going off on the family holiday with wife, daughter, mother and mother-in-law. Part way through that two week break in Devon I shaved it off. It was two days later that my daughter, then three, mentioned it and the other women in my life caught on. I was unimpressed.

My father wore a moustache for all of the time I knew him, but my personal preference has really always to be clean shaven. I felt that my nose was prominent enough to not need underlining and, as a younger man, my facial hair growth was none too strong, so any dereliction of shaving duties tended to result in me looking as though I hadn’t washed for a week. Designer stubble has always, to me, just looked scruffy and as for the soul patch fad!

But I do recall the wonderful Jack Hargreaves telling us in one of his Out of Town programmes that he had decided to stop shaving on reaching retirement age, and that perhaps was partly in my own decision to just let the beard grow last week. It wasn’t an impressive or bushy fungus, but I had begun to quite like the look and had got used to the feel. However, the distaff side had other views, and yesterday’s ultimatum was issued. It was, like so many such utterances, completely futile, but I felt that compliance was best and so the razor was deployed.

Did she notice? No, she didn’t, not until I enquired if she was satisfied with the results. Imagine the results of my failing to notice the new coiffure, dress, perfume or whatever? There is no way on earth that women really want equality of the sexes; why would they want to give up this power over us men?


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