Beards have three purposes. The first is to hide features which need hiding in order to be made marketable. Think Abraham Lincoln, whose beard won him the presidency of the United States. The second is to enhance features on an already good looking face, giving it a rakish or dangerous look. Think Rex Harrison, who grew a beard to win over American audiences and push his career to transatlantic stretches. Think Cary Grant, who sported a particularly nice one in his eighties. These men understood that beards weren’t excuses for laziness on the face. They understood that growing a beard meant that they would have to shoulder the great responsibility of taking care of their beards.
The last purpose of a beard is one which is unique to Major League Baseball, and that is to grow the largest, scariest beard you can possibly come up with in order to freak out your opponents who are half expecting a rat to crawl out and launch itself at them.
All of these are worthy pursuits, ones I can completely respect. But we live in the age of the hipster, one which takes fashions of old, re-appropriating them for the new, and often losing something in the translation of said fashions. In the pursuit of manliness, men often forget the key step of grooming and upkeep, meaning that their faces often look as if a small, unidentified mammal (hitherto only found in the darkest depths of the deepest forests), crawled onto their faces, and promptly died there. If I see one more hideous beard, with uneven hairs growing out, catching the light just so, I think I might scream.
The beard craze is out of hand, and needs to be stopped. A beard should enhance the face, not make the owner of the beard look like they belong on a park bench with a Hefty bag of his most prized possessions. I can only assume that misguided men everywhere believe beards are catnip to girls, awakening some long slumbering impulse to mate. That’s not true, because nothing about the raggedy hair growing out of your face says to a girl that you are a superior specimen of virility. The recent trend of weaving daisy chains in your beard and then Instagramming said monstrosity makes me feel even less convinced that you have any viable sperm in your body, and even more convinced that you are uninterested in anything but your own self.