This may not be the story bewhiskered moderns would like to hear. It’s easy to imagine the 19th-beard and barbershop revival as an homage to a quaint, innocent fashion trend. But today’s revival presents a chance to redeem the legacy of facial hair with a more complete understanding of the men who shaped it—a better grasp of what to keep and what to cut.
As delightfully ridiculous as an article attempting to politicize facial hair is, this concluding paragraph originally (when I first read it a week ago) had a couple extra lines in it which made it even more so:
“But however troubling this history may be, it does not render today’s beards irredeemable. What we need is an honest conversation about beards and the men who shaped them—a better grasp of what to keep and what to cut.”
Apparently, proclaiming the good news to bewhiskered modern heathens, that they can be reborn in the cleansing power of honest conversation, free from original, 19th-century racist sin, proved upon a moment’s reflection to be a ludicrous step too far even for this author, and so this section was quietly clipped and swept away like trimmings on a hairdresser’s floor. At any rate, before that happened, one anonymous commenter gave it the only response it needed:
“Dude, did you know that in the 19th century some men stopped shaving for racist reasons?”
“No, I didn’t, and anyway I did not stop shaving for racists reasons.”
Honest conversation ACCOMPLISHED
Yeah, really. I thought I just liked the way it looked as opposed to the alternative. Besides, everbody knows that the real reason for having a beard is to openly proclaim that we revel in filthy lusts like stinking goats.