Age: Varies widely, but it does take a few weeks for a new one to be born.
Appearance: Woolly jumper for the face.
Yeah beards, big deal. What about them? They’re over.
Over? How over? So over.
Wait a minute. People have been predicting the demise of the beard for years. Depending on who you ask we passed “peak beard” in the summer of 2013, or in April 2014, or last April. And they’re still everywhere. Maybe, but the days of the fashionable hipster beard are numbered.
Says who? Dr Alun Withey, beard historian.
Is that a typo? Do you mean “bearded historian”? Nope. He used to have a beard, but he got rid of it.
What on earth does a beard historian do? He launches a three-year research project called Do Beards Matter? Facial Hair, Health and Hygiene in Britain, circa 1700-1918.
OK. Why? So we can come to regard facial hair “not as some quirky irrelevance in history, but as a unique way of understanding the body, health, medicine and masculinity in the past”.
What happened to beards during that 218-year time frame? They came, they went, they came again, and they went again.
And now they’re going one more time? According to Withey, the backlash against hipster beards has already begun in America, where clean-shaven young urban creatives – “yuccies”, if you will – are in the ascendant.
I’ve always thought beards were yucky. You’re not alone. In the mid 18th century almost everybody was beardless. New razor technology made shaving seem civilised and enlightened.
How did beards ever manage a comeback? The Victorians were reclaiming their masculinity. These days celebrity culture has a big effect. Dr Withey dates the beard’s high point to the 2013 Oscar ceremony, when all the actors turned up hairy.
And that is what? That’s when women find you less attractive because you’ve got the same facial hair arrangements as everybody else in the room.
Do say: “It may be over, but the beard has left its mark on 21st-century fashion history; we were generation beard.”
Don’t say: “I’ve forgotten how to shave.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010