I read an article in my local newspaper, "Are Beards Back?" I was surprised by the headline because I didn't know beards had gone away. That's what I get for ignoring any kind of fashion trend for at last forty years. I didn't know it was at any point in that period unhip to wear a beard.
Dapper Dave Miller and I in the early '80s. Dave went into a line of work where he had to shave off his beard, and too bad, because it was a good one.
I grew mine in 1973 and it's been my more-or-less constant companion ever since. In the seventies hair exploded. One man my father's age told me he couldn't figure out why "you guys went nuts and grew your hair out," and then said, "I did a little research and found out that men's hair and beards come back every hundred years or so." Aha! So beards and long hair are like the play, Brigadoon, sprouting every century, only to disappear for another hundred years.
In 2005, with our first grandchild. Beard white.
A few days ago, in the act of trimming, I chopped a big hole in my beard, so I took it down to stubble. Even people who have known me for years will not comment because they are either a) polite or b) don't even notice the difference. I figure there were two types of guys, those who can grow whiskers and those who can't. If I'd never been able to raise a beard I don't think I would have cared. It's not like going bald where a guy might have hairplugs or wear a toupee. Hey, there's a thought: a beard toupee for men who can't grow beards!
I read a letter in the newspaper many years ago where a woman said men have beards because they "hide a skin condition". She didn't even know me yet she had busted me. Beards are great for hiding stuff you don't want anyone to see.
I get a kick out of the "No play for Mister Gray" commercials, with guys coloring their gray beards. C'mon, men...you're not fooling anybody. By the time your beard has turned white you've earned it.