Beard and Mustache, Man to Man thing

Barba e Bigode
Why do men grow beards and mustaches? Certainly not to please the partner – women are not great fond of these masculine facial adornments – but to appear more dominant and aggressive in front of the other males with whom they have to compete. It is, in essence, a form of secondary sexual selection.

The true meaning of Beard and Mustache

When we see a man take care of his own beard (or let it grow free and loose, with feigned neglect and carelessness), it is easy to think that it does to please the partner. In fact, the hairs on the face, from the evolutionary point of view, have a much greater significance for men than for women.

The features that distinguish the male face – with the beard first – seem to have been drawn by natural selection, the process that encourages the evolution of certain characteristics to multiply mating opportunities.

But, according to several surveys, the vast majority of women do not seem so interested in the beard. Some enjoy men with a fuzzy beard, others with a thick beard, others still fond of shaven faces. This absence of obvious preference suggests that the hairs on the face have not evolved to please the females of our species.

Disrupt the competition

The evolutionary impulse behind the beard could thus conceal a form of secondary sexual selection. To succeed with women is not enough to seduce them, but also to compete with eventual rivals. And although the abundant presence of facial hair is not directly linked to testosterone levels, several studies have shown that men and women perceive bearded men as more mature, stronger and more aggressive.

Sexual domination is a rapid shortcut in the direction of reproductive success: a study from data collected in Britain between 1842 and 1871 shows that in periods with fewer women available in the community, beards and mustaches have become strongly fashionable among men still single .

Another beard-and-voice experiment – as it also expresses sexual dominance – has shown that the more serious voices are perceived as more attractive by women and more dominant by men. But the beards do not add to the force of attraction of a masculine face in the eyes of women, but they certainly have an effect in terms of dominance in the eyes of men.

In short, the hipster fashion that favors the beard for men may well be brought back to the simple necessity of competing with other males, long before it shakes the female imagination. For a similar reason, women often believe they have to be thinner than would be desirable for a man. And these two examples, male beard and female thinness, are enough to show that we can not always really see what pleases the opposite sex.

1 The empire of barbers. In the old days it was not customary for the man to make his own beard. Most men visited a barber shop at least once a week. These halls became real clubs of the ball, meeting places of men who exchanged information of all kinds, especially, as it is today, politics, business, sports and … women. Anthropologists, in effect, say that beards and hair are very important: they serve to seduce, to be recognized within the community, to communicate to others our sexual and cultural identity. To summarize: they are one of the most important parts of our body and for this reason must be entrusted to smart hands and attentive eyes. The razor does not play.

2 The beard in antiquity. Pogonotomy is the name that the ancient Greeks gave to the ancient art of shaving (bearded pogon and témno cut). Prostrated from the prehistory with the use of flint knives or obsidian, it spread then with the advent of Metal articles. The Egyptians shaved from 3400 years before Christ, but it was the Greeks who perfected the technique. It is said that the first barber arrived in Rome from Sicily around the year 300 a. The razors were used by the free hand, like the one handled by a girl in a barber shop of Santiago de Cuba. The blades were of varying thickness, as they were used to shave the beard or the beard.

3 The beard of the warrior and the religious. Without beard: the ephemeric Apollo, the pharaohs of Egypt, Alexander the Great, Caesar, Churchill. With beard (or mustache): Zeus, Abram, Jesus and most Christian saints, Seneca (who hated to shave) and Hitler, who made the mustache his trademark. Some religions impose on their followers the use of beards, among them the faithful of Indian Sikhism, and Orthodox Jews who wear long beards. Other men wear a beard for a simple appeal of vanity: Emperor Hadrian introduced her to Rome to hide a wart on her chin. Lord Brummel, on the other hand, who was the prototype of the English dandy, had three personal barbers, respectively for the hair, the beard and the chops. Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, created a very salty tax for those who wished to wear a beard.

4 Rules and measures. The rules and measures related to the beard have, in fact, origins quite old. In Italy of the Renaissance there were at least 70 edicts regulating the length of the mustaches (as well as the laces on the cuffs and cuffs of the shirts). The Jewish religion, 3,000 years ago, forbade the razor and imposed scissors as the only authorized tool for shaving. In Sparta, one of the most common punishments for offenders was to let the beard grow on one side of the face, leaving the other side scraped. In Egypt, it was Pharaoh who wore a false beard and his personal barber was generally one of the most important dignitaries of the court; In the 70 days during the mummification period of a pharaoh, it was forbidden to shave. The Romans forbade the beard to the soldiers, so that the enemies had nothing to grab. The Normans, a thousand years after that, imposed the use of whiskers on the French and the English, to distinguish them from the rest of the population.

5 Barbers, doctors and prostitutes. In Beijing, numerous barbershops run by young and beautiful girls are actually a cover to hide brothels and houses of illegal masseurs.
That, in some circumstances, barber shops were not respectable places, Juvenal, the Roman poet who mourned the screams, the noise, and the gossip that happened between the “tonsores” of ancient Rome, also knew. One reason, however, existed for this: the barbers between one beard and another also practiced the professions of dentist and surgeons, plucking teeth, incising abscesses, and eliminating hemorrhoids. And all this without anesthesia. This mixture of professions lasted for many centuries: in France the surgeon barbers’ body was only extinguished in 1718, while in Italy the two categories remained united until the beginning of the 19th century.

6 How many hairs are there in a beard? Each man has between 20 and 25 thousand of the beard that grow to the rhythm of half millimeter to the day. A person who normally shaves will have produced throughout the life about 3.5 kilos of hair of beard. Those who do not shave, meanwhile, could try to beat the record of the Indian Shamsher Sinbgh, whose beard is 1.85 meters. Or the record of the Norwegian Hans Langseth, whose whiskers, measured shortly after his death in 1927, reached 5.33 meters.

7 Hair distinguishes us from apes. Millions of years ago, hair was a way of distinguishing ourselves from apes. They, their whole body covered with hair, and we, glabrous, with a single tuft of hair on their faces and on their heads. In this way we could recognize ourselves quickly and not be confused with some enraged ape. Today, the hair is no longer a distinctive sign of the species, but a way of communicating to other humans our identity and personality. Hairs with effect today constitute a kind of “mask” with which we seduce our partners, isolate ourselves from others, show ourselves more or less aggressive, reveal our ideas, declare ourselves to belong to a particular group, and so on. And the best thing is that with each new haircut and beard, we have a new opportunity to “change our identity”. Hair and beard are the most common form of non-verbal communication. In the photo, a street barber in Hanoi (Vietnam) awaits the arrival of clients. Hanging on the wall, the masks they can choose.

8 Hair Codes. Each culture and each historical cycle has its own “capillary” language. In antiquity, long, abundant hair was a display of strength, virility, and courage. Buddhist monks shave their heads completely to declare their vow of chastity, whereas in modern Western societies complete baldness is no longer synonymous with old age, but with virility, fascination and sexual potency.

9 How much hair do they grow? An army of about 120,000 hairs grows on average 1.5 cm per month (0.4 mm per day). At night, according to some scholars, the pace of growth is slower. The peak – invisible to the naked eye – would be between 10 and 11 in the morning, and then again between 4 and 6 in the afternoon. If our hair strands were attached to each other, we could weave a 16-kilogram (16-mile) wire, but with a tiny diameter, just between 2 and 9 centimeters of a millimeter.

10 Rite of initiation. According to some psychoanalysts the first haircut in the barber is a kind of rite of initiation: from that moment the boy grew and is no longer the mother (or his hair) that shortens the boy’s hair. In many African populations, the connection of hair with growth is still very evident. Something similar happens to members of the Amish community who live in some American counties as if time had stopped in the mid-19th century. Amish men can only grow a beard after marriage. But the mustache remains forbidden. In the photo, a barber from Luxor, Egypt, with a young client.

11 The longest beard. Sarwan Singh, a 42-year-old Canadian professor of Indian origin, is the man with the longest beard in the world. Before a jury, he unfolded a beard of 2 meters and 30 centimeters! Very well cared for, combed and … never cut. Yes, because that bearded record belongs to the Sikh religion, and is convinced that his “facial ornament” is a gift from God. Like other followers of his religion, he never cuts off his beard, so as to keep himself as close as possible to the original aspect conferred upon him by the deity.

12 Pubic hair. Our journey through the world of hair could not fail to refer to the most hidden of the human anatomy: the pubic hair. The hairs develop when the body gains the ability to procreate and are the visible sign to indicate full sexual maturity. Its concentration in some specific areas of the human body seems linked to the role of pheromones in mating. Males of many species recognize the fertile period of females through olfactory signals. We are also stimulated by pheromones, and our ancestors were even more so. The hairs, retaining and maintaining the odors for longer, have the function of making the search for the partner or partner easier.

Fonte: Revista Oasis