The Caveman Look is Back
Jake Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, Jeff Bridges and Jarvis Cocker are all living proof that the caveman look is back. Even Prince William managed to pull off the look at the end of 2008, coming second to only Tom Jones and the Archbishop of Canterbury as British Beard of the Year. So why is it that more and more men are ignoring Thierry Henry, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer’s calls for the best shave ever?
The Beard a Rebellion against Corporate Culture
Even Time ran an article suggesting that the full-grown facial was “an act of rebellion”. According to Allan Peterkin, pogonologist, or beard academic, men are trying to prove they are not a “corporate slave.” His book, One Thousand Beards is the authority on the subject. Carmelo Guastella is barber to the stars and founder of London salon Melogy, and creator of Ali G’s perfectly manicured ghetto beard. “Let’s face it, no man grows a beard if his wife hates it, but women are seeing these good-looking, rich, famous guys – Brad Pitt is the ultimate example here – with beards, so they’re not so against them. And the great thing for regular men who have beards is that it’s saying something: ‘I’m no suit – I can wear a beard!’”
Celebrity Beards and their Effect on Popular Culture
At the screening of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Pitt jokingly told People magazine: "It's fashion. Who am I without creative facial hair? I consider it art." When the normally clean and cropped Gyllenhaal has adopted a Nirvana grunge look for his latest flick, you have to sit up and take notice. The face follicle is well and truly back. According to The NPD Group’s consumer tracking service, sales of men’s electric shavers and men’s trimmers gained 9% and 12%, respectively in dollar sales. Facial trimmers grew 13% in dollar sales. This suggests a direct correlation to popular culture and the increased appearance of facial hair on the red carpet.
Beards a Backlash Against Metrosexuality
Paul Roof, assistant professor of sociology at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina, believes that the beard revival is driven in the main by reclamation of masculinity. After all, in ancient Greece, beards were a sign of leadership and virility. “Beards are a direct backlash against metrosexuality and the feminisation of modern man” says Roof. “But beards are also the only accessory route that men have — the only way men can change their looks.”
However, a recent survey of more than 2,000 men and women conducted by aftershave manufacturer Lynx unearthed some conclusively anti-beard statistics. While 63 per cent of men believed facial hair made them more manly and attractive, 92 per cent of women said they preferred a clean-shaven man, with 95 per cent complaining that facial stubble made a romantic kiss a turn-off. Even so, the caveman is well and truly thriving….