Is This The Era of Facial Fuzz?

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Sep 24, 2014 by Smart Blog

Contrary to all expectations, Friday, 13th June 2014 was a momentous day for Spanish football and for European men's fashion. For - overlooking the minor factor of a 5-1 defeat to the Netherlands that sent the title holders crashing out of the 2014 World Cup – the 13th of June was the day that Spain fielded a team that was almost entirely bearded. While other teams were still hovering between the clean-shaven and bearded looks, with a few half-hearted attempts at stubble in between, it was the Spaniards who took on the challenge of modern style and really embraced the fashion for facial hair.

How impressively bearded they were! Clipped, trimmed and coiffed to perfection, even when trying hard not to sob at the end of the match, Spain's football team were the very embodiment of current masculine fashion and sent an unmistakable signal to the European male - facial hair is back, and it is back to stay (for a while at least).

Since then, beards have been everywhere and, despite Jeremy Paxman's declaration earlier this year that beards are "so 2013", they do not seem to be going anywhere fast. In locations that are self-consciously fashionable, such as the trendier parts of London's East End, it is now as impossible to escape hairy-faced men as it is to spot a dodo. 

 

Just a Trend?

Indeed, despite initial predictions that the fashion would die away quickly (on the grounds that men would begin to differentiate themselves from the crowd, and from each other, by shaving and thus making themselves more likely to be noticed by potential mates) if anything the beard trend is moving onwards towards almost Edwardian levels of hairiness.

Suddenly, the internet and the high street are awash with companies selling moustache wax 'for the gentleman', which is eagerly reviewed online by men who refer to their "handlebar 'tache" with great pride. Entire companies have been established simply to cater for beard care (presumably they hope very much that this fashion lasts). It all seems faintly Edwardian and a little bizarre - as it would be if women copied the trend in their own way and headed back into whalebone and feathered hats.

What is driving this hairy trend? The self-proclaimed experts, as ever, disagree. Some claim that beards are useful to men in times of economic decline, such as the recent recession. The theory behind this is that a beard makes a man appear hyper-masculine and thus more desirable in the job market. Others suggest that beards are in fact associated with undesirable traits, such as being untrustworthy and unreliable, and so, they argue, the current trend cannot last.

Presently it is difficult to see an end in sight. No doubt, the wheels of fashion will turn eventually, and the beards will die away. Perhaps Jedward or Jeremy Clarkson will grow one and everybody else will go running for the razors and give their beards up overnight. In the meantime, it seems as good a time as ever to consider a career in the manufacture of moustache wax.