On Tom Hardy, Robert Pattinson, and even Jack Whitehall: Beards And Why I Love Them

09 October 2012 by

Tom Hardy, an excellent wearer of beards

When Jon Hamm grew a beard after ending his role as in Mad Men, fully functioning clocks stopped such was the glorious sight of Don Draper with a beard. Needless to say, when he shaved it off at the start of the year, we were pretty gutted. New York Magazine even gave it an obituary. And rightly so. I remember when my bearded boyfriend tried to overly trim his beard. The audacity. I also remember the day he suggested going beardless. I think I laughed.

According to a recent survey, women find bearded men to be 'more respected, powerful and of a higher status'. I’m not sure if I would place that great an onus on beards, but I do love them. Beards hide all manner of horrors – big chins, small chins and child faces (my boyfriend). They are also just cool. They make boys look like men, and soup up those men who already look like men.

Another person who loves beards is photographer Jonathan Daniel Pryce, whose new project 100Beards acts as a sort of beautifully documented shrine to facial furniture. For his project, he photographed a new beard on a random man every day for 100 days all which you can see on his Tumblr. He’s currently somewhere around day 73 and going strong.

The key to the exhibition’s success is the variety. His subjects don’t exclusively reside in east London. Nor are they over 50. They are wonderful and grotesque and it just goes to prove that of the many, many men have beards, most of them look ace. In these photographs, the beard weareth the man, not vice versa.

‘I started the project for two main reasons’, Jonathan told Sabotage Times, ‘One, because beards are everywhere now and I’m fascinated with how trends emerge. I wanted to document the many beards I was seeing on a daily basis. Secondly, I have major beard envy – I can’t grow a good beard myself so I’m living vicariously through others.’

Poor guy. When I look at my boyfriend and his perfectly shaped beard (not patchy, no random patches of red, a smart smattering of grey: chic, if beards can be called that) I really feel for Jonathan not being able to grow a beard. Sort of like short hair on a woman, if you can grow a beard, you should grow a beard. That the Ancient Greeks regarded a beard as a sign of virility wasn’t lost on me.To me a beard is tantamount to a large penis. Real men have (or men who have the hormonal capacity) beards. There, I’ve said it.

Growing up I hated beards of course. I associated them mostly with pain (old people have the roughest beards). Oh sweet irony, though, because now, much like my rather unmoveable fondness for northerners, I just couldn’t date a beardless man.

Sure people thought by growing his beard in his late 30, my boyfriend was having a mid-life crisis. But to those haters, I say this: I did actually ask him to get his ear pierced and he said no because he’s far from having a mid-life crisis. So.

Photograph by Jonathan Daniel Pryce

'The 100 Beards Book' is out on November 1st



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