I saw a man and what a man he was.
He was in mid-20, a slender fellow, wearing skinny jeans, slim-fitting leather jacket and a red scarf. Not exactly the archetype of alpha-masculinity that has been passed down through the ages.
But he had a beard. And not just any beard. A luxuriant beard, thick as the fur on a orangutan's hide. It was rich in colour, too, owning a deep brown with a scarlet hue. Oh! How I envied that man.
I have a beard, see, but it's patchy in places, blond in others. It feels wispy and weak like pubic hair when it gets too long.
Some might say it's a decent enough beard, but decent is not enough. I see these guys, the same age as I, with lustrous manes of fur starting just below their eyeballs – as if every facial pore were a follicle, each one clutching like scepters one glorious hair! – and I long to be one of them.
You see, facial hair is the great signifier of masculinity for men of my generation. Fashion alone no longer does the trick. It has become androgynous, sometimes subtly (skinny jeans), sometimes overtly (jewel encrusted T-shirts, purses slung around biceps).
In the early 20th century, male fashion was at one time the key indicator of status and masculinity, particularly among the blue collar workers. But from the 1960s onward – between long hair, bell-bottoms, a thankfully brief period of booty shorts in the 1980s and finally, the appropriation of metrosexuality into everyday manhood – a manly man can also be as primmed as a beauty queen.
So, for us (or maybe just for me, whatever), a full beard is the penultimate symbol of masculinity. (Penis, what?) I prove my manhood by flaunting an untamed forest of virility – on my face. It's one of the few common bonds we share with our simian brothers.
If a man can grow a beard, he should. There are men that would love to grow beards but settle for wimpy moustaches instead. We owe it to these guys to flaunt what we have. Men who are blessed with ample facial hair but who shave their faces are a)wasting precious sleeping minutes every morning and b) are denying themselves the true essence of masculinity -- as untamed and unruly as the jungle. You were right ladies, all along.
So I see this dude walking down the street, with the wildest bush of primordial manhood covering most of his face, skinny jeans and all, and I stand in awe. Blessed be that beard.