Many people tend to think that women are the only ones who allow popular culture to influence how they look. Oh contraire my dear; look close enough and you’ll notice that men are just as susceptible to the whims and fancies of the latest styles. Sure women are more obvious with it since hair, make-up and clothes are particularly noticed, but men, to a very large extent, reflect the trends of the day.
History has seen us through some good times, through some bad times, and indeed through some ugly times…literally. During the course of history and throughout different cultures, facial hair has been regarded various ways. For instance, men with facial hair, particularly beards, were seen as men of wisdom or sexual potency or high status, and in contrast, facial hair has also been seen as a lack of cleanliness and refinement, or an eccentric personality.
Beards were among the first facial hairstyles to surface. Many philosophers, Kings and noble men wore them. Soon beards were so popular throughout western Europe that the vast peasantry adopted the look which was so valued that men swore by their beard. When the bearded look became far too common placed, Kings and aristocrates took to the ‘clean-shaven’ look, which made handsome refinement a thing to be admired since many a man could no longer hide behind his beard, so to speak, but rather his features were completely exposed, thus emerged the ‘Gentleman’s Era’. And when men who were considered less handsome felt the need to maintain his refined quality without seeming brutish, thin moustaches and goatees started to surface.
Today the trend is no different; when trendsetters don styles, we all follow. Only today, unlike in times past, we no longer copy the Kings and politicians, but rather we follow the pop-icons of the day. For men, culture plays a significant part in shaping their identity, reinforcing their manhood and attracting the attention of the opposite sex. It is really no wonder why men tend to adopt not only the hairstyles, but also the facial hairstyles of well-liked actors, popular musicians and magazine models.
Today it is not so much a matter of what is in style as it is a matter of what style will look good on a man to make him the next GQ man of the year, and because of this facial hairstyles range from the clean shaven look, to the rugged ruffled look, to a full face beard. Goatees, patch spots and even stubble have also become very popular in today’s culture of men’s facial hairstyle. However, the moustache has lost some of its popularity among pop-culture icons, that is unless you’re acting as a cowboy in Broke Back Mountain, or you are Burt Reynolds.
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