On a whim, I’ve grown one of my infrequent beards, and it’s starting to itch. The beard hairs are hard and bristly, and the mustache feels like having the skeleton of a herring glued to my upper lip. Kissing and snuggling my loved ones isn’t at all as nice a usual, since the ‘stache makes contact with them long before I do.

Judging from the compliments I’ve received, though, a beard seems to be the way to go if you’re into ladies born in the 1940s. Another possible explanation for the data I have is that women of all ages love my beard, but that only ones of a certain age are daring enough to show their appreciation.


18 thoughts on “Langobard

  1. The itchy phase doesn’t last too long in my experience. Personally, I wouldn’t be without a beard. I’m just trying to decide whether I’m keeping the winter beard or reverting to a summer beard…


  2. How funny Martin I have noticed the same thing as a new beard owner. I don’t know whether it is because women of my mother’s generation are generally more free with compliments, or are more appreciative of the signs of maturity in a man.

    What made you decide to grow one? I suppose like me you would say it was a whim. But I wonder sometimes whether those whims are driven by something more primitive, facial hair being our most prominent secondary sex characteristic, our equivalent of the peacock’s tail.


  3. Women born in the 1940’s came of age in the 1960’s when beards were very popular. Since I was born in 1947 I can tell you that seeing a man in a beard and mustache brings back memories of summers of peace and love. That, of course, was simply a lie because the 1960’s were about fear, social upheaval and violence. But the beard still brings back memories of wonderful young men of that era.

    What do you think of my theory?

    – Suzanne


  4. Dunc, I take it a summer beard is one you’ve trimmed down from the winter shag?

    Kev, maybe it’s the spring hormones.

    Suzanne, good theory, only the specific ladies who have complimented me are bourgeois ones who most likely weren’t into shaggy hippies back in the day.


  5. Keep the beard. Your wife will complain that it scratches her face. Grandmothers will try and seduce you. Children will hide their faces from you. Policemen will pay more attention to you than they will to the clean-shaven. Colleagues will start to wonder why you are too lazy to shave and how this will affect your work ethic at work. But you will look AWESOME ALL THE TIME because you have a beard. Other bearded men will respect you more. The ignorant will respect you as a genius. A certain type of female university student will hit on you, in competition with the grandmother. The taste of breakfast eaten at 0800 will be accessible at 1100! All this and more will be yours! I haven’t gone without a beard in years and it would be torture to shave now.


  6. Dunc, I take it a summer beard is one you’ve trimmed down from the winter shag?

    Yeah – the winter beard is fully Taliban-compliant. Saves wearing a scarf…


  7. You could keep a demon stoat in your beard, to serve as your evil genius, and whisper disturbing half-truths into your shocked ear at inopportune moments.


  8. The itchiness has to do with fibre stiffness vs. length. The problem will go away as the hairs get longer. Until then, spend more time in the steam room to keep them soft. Invite your wife to join you there.


  9. My husband has occassionally grown a beard. It stops feeling so bristley as it gets longer. In the meantime you can improve matters by using hair conditioner in it.

    Does “langobard” mean long beard, or is it generic for any kind of beard?


  10. The name shows up first in the writings of Tacitus (1st century). As far as I know it does mean “long beards”, though there has also been speculation about a type of long axes used several centuries later.


  11. I have a theory that men with facial hair compare their own with those of others in ways they would be loathe to do regarding other masculine attributes not usually displayed in public. I certainly notice what works, what doesn’t, and have experienced “beard envy” on several occasions when encountering some truly worthy whiskers. The other thing about facial hair is that it is something about myself I can change with reasonably simple effort – yesterday I downsized from a full salt-n-pepper winter beard to a summer van Dyke and above the lobe sideburns. I can regrow or revise a beard far more easily than I can drop 20 pounds.


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