When we’re wrong, we can admit it. And in our prediction last year, when we predicted beards would die in 2016, we were very, very far off the mark. We apologise.
Beards are not, in fact, dead or dying. Far from it. The clearest sign of that is the way the red carpet looked at the year’s first major awards show, the Golden Globes.
It was, as Jon Hamm put succinctly, a “beard parade.” Of the eight men who won a spherical statue for their acting, seven of them were sporting beards. The only clean-shaven man among the winners was Hugh Laurie, a British national who splits his time between London and Los Angeles.
The theory we used to posit that the beard was on the downtrend last year was that society had reached “peak beard” — the point at which beards are so dominant, the only way to stick out as an attractive mate would be to be completely clean-shaven.
In our defence, the evidence was on our side. Last year’s Golden Globes were not nearly as hairy, so it looked like peak beard had already come and gone. Not so, it appears.
According to an interview The Times UK did with historian Alun Withey, an academic who will run a three-year research project on the beard and its cultural history in the UK, people have been predicting the end of the beard since 2013. Each time, it seems, they have been wrong, and the beard has remained as strong as ever in the eyes of the public.
It’s easy to see why. The beard is a shortcut to masculinity, and it will make any man seem older and most seem more attractive (until we reach peak beard).
To save face, we won’t be making any more predictions. The beard, it seems, is here to stay for at least the time being. We will say, if you’re going to grow a beard, at least do it properly.