Originally published November 15, 1958.
The present trends began in World War II, when men grew beards because they had no time to shave. Another reason for the beard boom may lie in the conformist climate of the times. A beard provides a man with a small opportunity for a personal revolt against sameness. Then, too, there is the vanity factor. Finally there is the basic, rock-bottom reason: Most men hate to shave.
“Used to be, the average guy who wore a beard, he was 1 in 50,” a barber said recently. “Now he’s like 1 in, say, 25.”
There are now so many American beards that Russia has seen fit to attack them. A few months ago, the truth-organ of the Young Communists’ League, edited by a beardless man, raved in an editorial, “Beards are unsanitary and uncultured and decadent. Young men who affect beards are those who also listen and contort themselves to degenerate American jazz.”
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