#COVID19Chronicles-264: December 28, 2020-Beards, anyone?

The BBC in 2014 offered some commentary on beards (and facial hair, by implication): ’Both beards and clean-shaven faces became more appealing when they were rare.’

It went on: ‘Some say the Rubicon was crossed in January when Jeremy Paxman, the BBC Newsnight presenter, shaved his beard off, saying “beards are SO 2013”. Paxman’s beard-which briefly trended on Twitter-sparked a debate about pogonophobia-the fear of beards.’

That fear or dislike is prevalent in the Caribbean; that’s in contrast to, say, the Middle East, where beard wearing is spurred by Muslim traditions–God ordered Mohamed to keep his beard:

‘Muslims learn about the Prophet’s views on facial hair not from the Koran, but through hadith-or sayings-attributed to Muhammad. One such hadith, in a collection by Muslim scholar Muhammad al-Bukhari centuries ago, stipulates: “Cut the moustaches short and leave the beard.”’

In Muslim cultures, enforcement problems exist. Some Muslim countries went ‘modern’ with some scholars not bearded, eg in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan. By contrast, the Taliban in Afghanistan were strict on beards and their length.

Having lived in a Muslim west African country, I can tell you that beards are rare in black Africa. I can’t recall seeing any, and I’m scratching my head trying to recall visiting some areas where fundamentalist Muslims were in charge.

The BBC gave us some historical perspectives: “In the 1970s it was handlebar moustaches. In the 80s it was Magnum PI moustaches. In the 90s we saw a lot of clean shaven men, and now big bushy beards are back.”

But, then, in 2020, beards have made a resurgence–as they have done in the past, when times are hard. Thanks, COVID-19!

Now, it’s almost a sign that people are really into COVID19Life that they are in full beard, or at worst, clearly not shaved for a few days. Whereas, many TV personalities wouldn’t be seen in front of cameras with a beard, it’s now a ‘status’ symbol.

We see a lot more athletes with beards, even in those tight-lipped sports like golf.

But, in Jamaica, and some Caribbean countries, beards have often been symbols of the outcast and the unkempt, so it’s more of a challenge to get past that and get a beard going.

On the Internet, #COVIDBeard can trend.

Santa has a beard, but the Grinch?

Celebrities embracing the natural look has given beards the push over the line.

Masks mean that people often don’t see the fuzz on the face. But, beards are *hair to stay*, for a while. 😂

Hair, hair!! 👍🏾🤔

Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)