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Shaved face thoughts

February 2nd, 2012

Last week, Brian Bayer, campus editor of The (award-winning) Carroll News, told you in “The Bayer Necessities” his thoughts on facial hair. If you’ve seen him walking around campus recently, though, you’ve noticed that the “squirrel” on his face has been shaved off.

Apparently, the beard wasn’t growing on him that much.

While I agree with my fellow staff member that “occasionally, we must don a little furriness to assert our true masculinity,” I value being clean-shaven. Here are some thoughts on not looking like I have a furry animal on my face.

The Biblical figure Samson needed his long hair to keep his strength. But, in many cases, the beard is not man’s best friend. Alexander the Great, the king of Macedon and famous Greek military leader, was unique among his contemporaries because he kept a clean face. He reportedly told his soldiers to do the same, out of fear that their combatants would grab hold of their beards to easily kill them.

St. John the Apostle is often depicted in art without a beard to represent his youth. If this really was the case nearly 2,000 years ago, then he was one smart disciple. Why blend in with the other 12 when you can stand out with a clean face?

And who said having a beard automatically meant wisdom? Peter, the “rock” on whom Christ would build His church, was consistently rebuked for saying the wrong things. Thomas doubted Jesus’ resurrection. Both are depicted in art as having beards, but lacked in the faith department. Meanwhile, John wrote a gospel, a few letters and a book about the end of the world. He even is referred to as the “beloved disciple,” which might mean he earned some brownie points from God for keeping a shaven look.

While a man may grow a beard to take pride in his masculinity, being clean-shaven also makes a statement to the ladies: I take pride in looking good, and I value the importance of being well-groomed. A man can have confidence in his appearance by flaunting his youthful look. And I’m pretty sure the ladies would rather kiss a man’s smooth cheek rather than a scruffy one.

I’ll admit it – Mr. Bayer’s list of famous beard-wearers is impressive. But, I think I can top it with a list of clean-shaven figures: every U.S. president since William Howard Taft, the Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, my father, Bob Noll, Mick Jagger, Fr. Niehoff, Babe Ruth, Seth Meyers, John Belushi, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, Hercules (the Disney version), Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Aladdin and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Now, while I believe a clean face is the way to go, I concede that certain events warrant some amount of facial hair. “No-shave November” and “Jesus beard January” are perfect examples of months where a fast from shaving is necessary. If your favorite hockey team is in the Stanley Cup playoffs, then show solidarity with the players in growing out your beard, just as they do. Planning to spend some time camping in the woods? Your shaver is one thing I think you could live without for a bit.

So, even if growing a beard might be cool for a week, or a month, or a year, I highly suggest keeping your face baby-like. No need to grow up – and grow a beard – too quickly. Let your clean-shaven face shine for all to see.

If you don’t, then you might have a hairy situation on your hands.