Who knew that beards could signify so many things?
WSJ: Facial hair is showing up on more former corporate types. It’s one of those tiny luxuries unleashed by unemployment, a time when people are briefly released from workaday habits and may wish to take stock of their lives before setting out anew. Al Gore grew a beard after losing the tumultuous presidential election of 2000. Neatly trimmed, it looked cozy and anti-establishment as he pursued creative projects on his way to the Nobel Peace Prize.
…For most office workers, the look remained too daring — until they had nothing left to lose. At the Donsuki salon on Manhattan’s East Side, owner Suki Duggin says she’s been helping an increasing number of male clients groom newly liberated facial hair. One recent customer came in with a month’s growth on his chin, saying he’d lost his job and wanted “to totally change” his look, she says.
…Ben Bernanke‘s furry jawline gives the Fed chairman the look of a trustworthy intellectual. But Brad Warthen, editorial page editor for the State, a Columbia S.C., newspaper, recently pondered what would happen if Mr. Bernanke were to shave. “Could this be the bold stroke that is needed to jolt the economy back to where it should be?” Mr. Warthen posited in his blog.
Intellectuals, musicians, artists, and tycoons like investor Sam Zell, who just took Tribune Co. into bankruptcy proceedings, have free rein with facial hair. Not so, workaday businessmen. Beards are virtually verboten in corporate circles. Bill Richardson shaved his beard last week, just before the announcement that he would be the country’s next Secretary of Commerce.