World Beard Day 2014 is celebrated by beards all over the world and none are more proud than the military and tactical beards deployed and at home.
There is nothing truly new or novel about a man and his beard. Biologically of course, the beard has been around since the dawn of human kind and for just as long it has been a recognized symbol of masculinity among warriors of nearly all cultures. In more recent history however, military beards have been restricted as trends in society (and advances in shaving technology) supported widespread policy restrictions requiring a “cleaner” and more civilized appearance among soldiers. While military brass in many western nations have continued to chip away at the chops once prized by rugged, battle-proven soldiers over the last decades, more recent conflicts in the middle east have brought to light the presence of beards among operators in the tactical world and we have seen a resurgence of the tactical beard, particularly among veterans who often wear their beard as proudly as they wear the scars that they have come home with.
For both our bearded warriors abroad as well as our bearded brothers at home, today offers an opportunity to reflect on the manly brotherhood that is represented by the bearded among us. Coincidentally, today is also celebrated by the other end of the bearded spectrum: hipsters. Grounded in little more than fashion trends and pop culture, hipsters and beta-hipsters seem to have adopted the beard as merely an accessory to the “urban-rugged” ensemble, often found paired with ironic glasses, beanies and excessively-restrictive jeans. However, as an indicator of the pop-fickleness seen in hipster circles and the lack of fortitude that anyone wearing skin-tight denim on a regular basis can physically possess, we are relieved to hear that this hallowed day may very soon return fully to the men that were born to celebrate it. A recent scientific study now shows that we may have reached “peak beard”, defined as “the climax of the trend for beards in professions not naturally associated with a bristly chin – bankers, film stars, and even footballers began sporting facial hair.” As one of the authors of the study suggests, “The idea is that perhaps people start copying the George Clooneys and the Joaquin Phoenixs and start wearing those beards, but then when more and more people get onto the bandwagon the value of being on the bandwagon diminishes.”
While this theory clearly holds true for those prone to shifting fashion trends, a deeply-seeded primal drive to express our inner warrior in its mostly masculine way declares that the display of our facial Kevlar has always been here and will not fade like the stone-washed jeans and retro t-shirts worn by our skateboard-riding counterparts. In fact, the community of bearded operators and those who support them continues to grow. If imitation is any form of flattery, social groups and clubs modeled after the original Tactical Beard Owners Club (TBOC) appear weekly in areas all over the globe while this band of bearded brothers celebrates another year with the launch of a new website bringing the community closer together in consolidated support for each other in the field and back at home.
For the men around the world for whom a beard is simply a sign of being a man, the beard is far from a passing phase. These men celebrate Beard Day every day and the meeting of two beards on a path instantly creates a spark of understanding and acknowledgment of each others common masculinity. Trends may come and go, but the Beard is forever.
To all our bearded brothers out there, we wish you a happy and beardy World Beard Day! Beard on!!
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