I'm not criticising my neighbour but when I hugged him on impulse the other day as a thank you for finding a lost key to my bike lock, I was suddenly made aware that he had grown a beard. Ouch!
One sees it everywhere. Imitation Beckhams? Or are they imitation Imams? The worst is probably the total baldie with a great bush on the chin. "Mummy", do I hear a little girl cry? "Why are the men wearing their heads upside down?"
Equally with smokers and baldies, I avoid the bearded. One of my Paris lovers grew one and I made it clear I couldn't have a sexcessful evening with him unless he came clean shaven for our date. Bless him, he shaved. On the spot!
It's not only the kiss that suffers. Full love making involves lingual caresses of other body areas. Does one really enjoy the sensation of a brillo pad between one's thighs? Or do we deny oral sex its place in the love making experience?
My feeling on returning recently to the UK and seeing these dreadful facial growths was that men were retreating from sex. Or was it that they felt so dominated by the confident females one sees striding around that they had to fight back and say, "It's ok to be male" and even more that, "A man has to convince you that he has the hormones to grow a bushy beard.
I've noticed the older male usually grows a beard. Grey, of course. Perhaps it's a statement that his sex life is finally over? But now the younger ones are wearing these feeble little fungi. Is this also a statement? Men must be Men! Awch! If they have no other way of proving their maleness: must they grow these often badly tufted outgrowths?
When Mark Antony accepted Cleopatra's invitation to dine aboard her barge on the river Cydnus, we are told (by Plutarch) that he shaved himself almost to the bone to impress her--and indeed to start his historic love affair with her. Are we to believe that Roman men who did not have the facilities available to present day men would have managed such a feat, using a very sharp knife?
My impression is that stubbled jaws and beards are a sign of disregard of and disrespect to women's sensibilities. Females have more sensitivity to touch and the notion of being scraped by a stubbled male face wherever it puts itself in her anatomy, is an insult to that notion of the love of women which should be at the heart of male approaches to sex. Or are women so desperate these days for a caveman experience after a belly full of beer and pizza (and I'm afraid that's what it amounts to for many) that they will accept anything? Face down, presumably?
Beards like the present ones were prevalent during Victorian times when women were corseted and closeted and had few political rights. Can it be that men by becoming bearded are striking back into the heart of female liberation by saying, beards show who's boss?
And then there's the 'Health and Safety' question, "When did you last shampoo your beard dear?"