Via PZ, this is funny:
In western countries in particular, a few years ago beards were often confused with a segment of society that reflected rebellion, namely the “hippy” movement of the 60’s and 70’s. It was felt that we should not in any way resemble those that reflected an attitude like this, or the drug culture that went along with it. We have to separate ourselves from that, and to have a beard a few years ago could be confusing, especially to an older generation of people at that time that were especially repulsed at the conduct of those of the younger generation. Even though we are some 30 or 40 years removed from that situation that existed during the late 60’s and early 70’s, it has been proven by experts that some people on some subconscious level do not trust a man with a beard. The underlying message that some get from a beard is that if you have one, you have something to hide, as if you are hiding behind the beard. I have even heard that idea expressed in sales courses that I have taken for secular activities. Beards are discouraged by some sales trainers because of the subconscious message that some people receive from a person with a beard, and some feel that a person without a beard generally speaking has a more professional appearance than a person who does.…In the 1950s, in the the USA, beards were widely unpopular among the general public and most men who wore one were immediately perceived as beatniks (and later, hippies). In that American, Cold War climate, a young man who didn’t sport a military-esque brush cut and bare chin was out-of-hand labeled a communist or homosexual.
Paul, the apostle, said something similar in 1Cor 11:14 about long hair being a dishonor to a man… Obviously Paul’s words were intended for his militant Roman contemporaries. That society started the cropped military haircut and clean-shaven face to keep lice to a minimum and avoid giving an enemy something to grab, in a skirmish.