Beard or No Beard Which One Should You Choose and Why?

On the subject of whether it is better for a man to be clean shaven or to maintain a beard and mustache, let's consider a quote from Shakespeare.

In Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice states:

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.

In general, this seems to be the predominant attitude of those who believe that there is a strong reason, even an ordained directive, for wearing facial hair on men. On the weaker side is the contrast argument that women wear makeup, which is why men wear beards. It's an attribute that makes a man masculine rather than effeminate. On the stronger side, the Ordained Directive argues that the beard is an integral part of the male body as created by God and should therefore be maintained and respected. The more modern argument is that, depending on fashion and circumstances, a man can be with or without a beard without compromising his masculinity.

Men with beards or mustaches have been ascribed to such positive attributes as wisdom, knowledge, sexual virility, masculinity, and high social status. On the other hand, bearded men have also been attributed negative attributes, such as filthiness, crudeness, or eccentricity.

In the 18th century, beards fell out of vogue throughout Western Europe, America and Russia. In particular, the nobles and the upper classes were clean shaven. Peter the Great of Russia even ordered men to shave off their beards and levy a tax on beards to discourage them. However, beards returned strongly during the Napoleonic era and the Victorian era. The typical Victorian figure is a stern male with a black overcoat and a thick beard or long sideburns.

No previous president had a beard before Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln looked distinguished with his full beard, and almost every President from Lincoln to William Howard Taft had a beard or a mustache. Since President Taft in 1913, no President has ever worn any facial hair.

Beards fell out of fashion after World War I. Soldiers had to shave their facial hair to get a good seal with their gas masks. When they returned from the war with their short hair and clean shaved faces, they set a new all-American style. The style remained active until the beginning of the 1960s, when a strong counterculture brought back the unshaved, though largely unkempt, look.

Beards are also important in a number of major religions. Sikhs, many Hindus, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims have found scriptural instructions to wear facial hair. For example, many Jews interpret the passage in Leviticus, which says, "Neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard," to mean that a razor can not be used because of the action of the blade against the skin of the beard. However, a scissor may be used to trim the beard because its two bladed action does not mar the beard. As another example, the Islamic prophet Muhammad forbade the shaving of the beard and instructed the Muslims to trim their mustaches so as to distinguish themselves from other religions in the area.

These days men feel equally at ease with or without facial hair. The reasons that men give for growing a beard are largely pragmatic.
Some say that having a beard is easier than shaving.
Some say that they went on vacation and never bothered to resume shaving.
Others say that it seems to be the natural state of a man's face and like the way it looks.
Still others like the beard for the distinctive look and the attention it brings.
The reasons given for wearing or not wearing facial hair are far more practical than dogmatic.

As for Shakespeare's Beatrice, she followed her earlier remark by wittily saying
and he that is no more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.

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