I can say with utter conviction that I am not a pogonophile. In fact it is fair to say that the current fashion for gentlemen to wear long beards in London is somewhat alarming.
There are only three modern gentlemen whose beards I admire; the inimitable and ever immaculate Tom Ford’s, the gaunt and bedraggled beard of Bjorn Borg, and that of our late King Edward VII.
The general rule of early morning male grooming is shower, shave, moisturise and go; it appears to me that a high proportion have eschewed this ritual for an extra ten minutes doze.
I often grow a beard on holiday, when the evenings are long and the mornings sluggish. Ever the Englishman abroad I also wear a Panama, drink wine throughout the day, and go to the supermarket in swimming trunks. It is fun to look like an unruly fugitive for a while, but the need for a sharp razored shave does quickly overrule it.
Indeed we should all strive to be on the oblique beat of individuality. I am all for the world to be full of shiny stars but I just feel beards are a bit too slovenly. One should always be careful to dress and groom oneself according to how the world will see you; a beard upon a suit is too harsh a contrast.
I am not being curmudgeonly; but it is reasonable to be irked when the majority beards are not looked after or trimmed. When I joined the throngs of moustachioed men in November I found it was imperative to take extra care. The bearded chaps on the tube look more like tramps in smart suits – no style or care in these bedraggled barbs.
A beard can, when paired with appropriate attire and demeanour, look fabulous – a greying ageing actor with ruffles of hair for example. Robert Pires is the owner of a handsome face witch is further enhanced with a Gallic growth over his perfect cheekbones. Us pale faced Englishmen should leave these pretensions well alone.
Though gentlemen have bucked up their ideas in the suit department, the current laziness in appearance has infiltrated weekend wear. What has happened to people putting on their Sunday best? If I go to any pub on a Sunday I am usually greeted by the sight of a chap’s low slung tracksuit bottoms and forced to read JACK WILLS in neon writing. He often pairs this with an equally lamentable T-shirt, or god-help him a football slip – and on his tired face is (yes you guessed it) a blood scraggly beard.
Once into my pint and paper I am disturbed by the ursine man sitting next to me, who is constantly scratching the underside of his thatched throat. Beards are not comfortable and diminish the effect that any gentleman should want to have on his viewing public.
Sadly the seventies are over and we don’t have to wear a tie all over the place. Many believe this to be a good thing and I can see the advantages, at times, of a more relaxed world. When the ghastly eighties began beards also left the building and the world realised a smooth face is a happy face!
I am certain that this aversion comes from having spent time with horrendously vile bearded teachers at school. There was a strange correlation at my school; the nastier and more irksome the man, the thicker his beard. The thickest, though well maintained, was owned by a Mr.Oates. He took a very worrying amount of delight in bringing small boys to tears by bullying and screaming at them – I will never forget the rainbow rusty reds, Browns, and greys jumping around his bilious mouth. Just like there is evil in short men, bearded chaps have a monster hiding in them.
Think now is time to have a shave!