Why I Don’t Need a Beard to Prove I’m a Man

The beard is no longer weird, baby.

The beard, in fact, is back. Big time.

It’s hip to be hirsute. Fun to be furry. Cool to be covered in man-hair.

Need proof? They’ve even coined a phrase — “Lumbersexual”  — to describe the phenomenon.

Let’s all bust out our best plaid shirts, ancient jeans and spend two months growing face warmers. After that, let’s grab a chainsaw and chop down some trees. Sound like fun?

Ok. While you’re all doing that I’ll be over here emptying the dishwasher or vacuuming my kids’ bedroom or doing a load of laundry. I guess that makes me less manly. Is that what society wants me to believe? Come on, people.

I’m reading that the “lumbersexual” is a reaction to the “metrosexual” movement of about 10 years ago. Being a metrosexual didn’t bother me. You see, I believe in hygiene and I enjoy wearing nice clothes and filling my house with quality furniture and furnishings (when I can afford it.) That doesn’t mean that I refuse to touch a power tool (my manicure!) or wear grungy clothing(Ewww. Those pants have PLEATS!) It simply means that I’m comfortable in different environments.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes — “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. ” — Walt Whitman.

If some men need to reinforce their sexuality by adopting a stereotype of what a “man” is through clothing, hobbies and untamed facial hair, then good for them.

For me, being a man is about being a loving, supportive and caring husband. Being a man is about being an involved father, generous with his time and knowledge, capable of showing love, tenderness and also providing discipline to his children’s lives. Being a man also means teaching children the skills necessary to become successful and well-adjusted adults. If those skills require the use of a chainsaw or another loud machine, then so be it.

Lumbersexuality (I can’t believe I just typed those letters in that particular order to create a “word”) also apparently refers to a response by some men who feel threatened by successful women. Again, that doesn’t bother me. I’m all for women working, earning a substantial living and living a positive, healthy life. I’m also not ashamed that I do tons of housework. In my grandfather’s day, a man might have been ridiculed for picking up a vacuum or washing windows. Not anymore. My wife and I both take pride in our home and want it to be clean, organized and safe for our children to grow up in. If part of that responsibility falls to me, I embrace it.

But there is also a practical reason why a beard has never graced my face. My boss frowns on facial hair.

Photo credit: Arthur78 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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