There was a time when almost all rugged outdoorsmen wore a beard. Then there was a time when they didn’t. Civil war era facial hair styles.
If you stroll around downtown, you’ll see an awful lot of guys looking like they stepped out of a Civil War photo album. Off and on over the years beards have been in, then out, then in again. Fortunately women aren’t involved. I know of no men taking their beards to a salon to be curled, permanented, trimmed, waved, colored and tortured into the hairstyle of the day.
When I was a boy during WWII, most men were in the service and almost every one was made to shave, closely, every day. For some reason, men serving in submarines could grow beards. I’ll have to ask my stepson about that. He served in subs for a time. Maybe the whiskers are sensitive to sonar impulses, or something.
Civil war era facial hair styles
When beards are out, guys who dare grow one are made fun of. Mustaches came in a bit after WWII, but often drew fire. I had kind of a puny one, but a stranger told me, loudly in public, that only a smart-aleck would grow a mustache and you could tell that if a guy wore a mustache, he was automatically a smart-aleck. I stuck out my tongue at him to show I wasn’t a smart-aleck.
The mountain men, who went after the beaver in the west in the early 1800s, apparently didn’t have beards. An artist who actually attended a rendezvous, big gathering of trappers and suppliers, showed almost everyone clean-shaven. I suspect there were a lot of three and four day beards. Why shave every day? The only women to impress were Native Americans who might have been more interested in your scalp than beard. Later artists and illustrators drew a lot of mountain men with beards.
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