Have you noticed recently that the closer we get to Christmas, (like
Santa’s elves, or characters from “The Hobbit” and “Game of Thrones”),
men, young men especially, walk among us, in our streets, with bespoke beards.
Bold framed brainy glasses, unusual shoes and tight canvas trousers breed like rabbits. Faster than germs on a Petrie dish. It’s an epidemic! (Or the Klondike Goldrush . . . That’ll explain all the Huskies then . . ..) Should I have spelled that Clone-dike?
Smug, or what seems like smugness, sits upon the young faces of these men, like Greek heroes or Victorian politicians. Or the offspring of Queen Victoria’s John Brown. Pleased with what they have achieved. And some, in only half a day . . . Amazing! A two foot beard.
They sport their beards like Spartans. Home from Thermopylae or some ancient bloody conflict. (“Them Persians have a lot to answer for!”)
Here’s a poem to celebrate this recent pre-Christmas rash of beards. There will be a lot of mirrors, trimmers and beard wax in Santa’s stocking this Yuletide.
BEARDS! (A male cry for attention).
By Randall Stephen Hall.
And on the subject of beards . . .
It’s weird isn’t it?
That the collected hairs
On a man’s chin
Can make some women swoon
Yet make others hate you for it.
You and your hairy mess.
What is it, that would
Make them climb closer
To get a better look
Yet, make others run away
To the darker end of our streets,
Climb up ladders
And, go wash their windows
(You see, I just don’t get it?)
But a beard
Has never brought me grief.
It’s just a thing that I do.
It happens like the full moon.
The tide is too strong . . .
For, you see, from time to time
The hairy madness falls upon me.
Like Lon Chaney Junior, on steroids.
Those first few days
When you have launched
Your prickly chin boat
Out into the world . . .
Not really seeking comments
From friends and relations
Who are generally . . .
And jokingly abusive . . .
(“It’s a Belfast thing).
(“It’s part of my Culture!”)
(“It’s a man thing . . . Catch yerself on.
Ya big hairy minger!”)
That’s what you call a Belfast compliment.
As supportive as a dig in the gub.
So, time passes . . .
The clock ticks.
And, as every prick makes jokes
About your attempted beard
Your prickly chin
Shakes itself from
Those neat Gillette slumbers
To roar a wee rebellious exclamation mark!
“ HAIRY FREEDOM!” it shouts
From the dark of its mouth.
(Like a wee hairy fart).
A hairy William Wallace.
More potato, with eyes
Than Mel Gibson with hair and a beard.
You catch people unawares
Some neither mention it, (the beard)
Nor put it into words.
Some don’t recognize you
Until you open your cake hole . . .
And even then, their look of surprise
(and/or disdain) placed there
So as not to encourage
The rabble gathering on the mount
Of your chin,
Leaves you an uninvited guest, still,
To the world of what was once
Considered male grooming.
Finally they fathom your face.
Then they link your scarecrow looks
With your hedgerow, tousled grace.
A hairy man
Doing hairy man stuff . . .
Your rough message to the world.
Putting its foot down with a stomp!
In the bright glare
Of any female glance.
(Maybe in with a chance then?)
Your beard begins to rage (with glasses!).
A man Barbie, breaking its chains.
No more soothing after shave
Or the hydration of moisturizers
For them boys . . . “ah naw, like”.
The hairy stubble
Tumbles forth unexpectedly.
With a mixture of
Brown, black, red, blond
Brown, Red, black and now grey hairs.
(More so these days).
But, it’s a good thing
This man beard, the feel of it.
Something to scratch and store your food in.
Any crumb in a storm.
This beard, coming and going . . .
Growing, in and out of fashion.
This passionate, irrational thing.
That rings the changes.
That enables you to rage
Put two fingers up to the world
And a fist in the air.
Like some Ché freedom fighter.
“It’s my chin . . .
And, it’s going to go right . . . there!”
“And if you don’t like it . . . girls
You don’t have to look.
Go read a book.
Sip your FRAPP-A-LAP-A-CHAPPIE
Check your nails, your sails, your hair.
Stocks and shares, apples and pears.
I don’t care!
That wasn’t very fair now. . .”
But the time invested in my beard
Means something to just me
And my man-stuff.
So sinful, weird and beyond
It’s my thing
My wee hairy allotment.
My freshly planted free state.
Without bishops telling me
How to cut it.
If you don’t like my hairy ginger carrots
My dark beet-roots, my stubbly cute-cumbers
My fluffy facial cabbage
It’s not worth the argument.
My beard seems to push
Some women’s control buttons.
“It’s out of control, for God’s sake!
For God’s sake, trim that thing Nigel!”
(Nigel, the Latinised form of Niall.
Though, no Nine Hostages taken here now . . .)
With a beard
Some women demand topiary.
Want you to weed it
And maintain its fences.
Most women don’t seem to go for
Immenseness in the beard department.
It’s all about boundaries.
Don’t like you beyond your boundaries.
Getting a bit too wild.
Ah now . . . ah now, now.
All this fuss over a beard.
A wee hairy thing
Sticking out of from
Our collective male chin.
The nearest thing we have to giving birth
To anything other than sperm . . .
“It’s a boy. No . . . it’s a girl!
Ahhh no, it’s a boy. It’s a boy!!!”.
So treat us gently now.
Mock us softly, (patronize the gooseberry chin
With kind patience.)
The hairy Sponge Bob.
We are not mental.
Just hair-ily incidental.
But we do have our moon time too
Ah yes . . .
From Iron John in the forest
To the Were Wolf on the mountainside.
The old goat in the field
To the wee rascal up the alleyway.
Parnell, Pitt and pith
Takes a lot of getting used to.
Like it or not . . .
You can’t hide a good beard.
It’s weird isn’t it?