Posted by: Redbeard | February 9, 2014

Long Beards and Camouflage

Long Beards and Camouflage

I sometimes write at the beach, and today is an almost warm day with a slight, on-shore Southern breeze of about 25 knots. Perfect for letting moisture and sand permeate any electronic device I might have brought with me so that it will be tragically ruined, thus forcing me to buy the new, improved, quantum leap in functionality, all you have to do is look at it and it does stuff version. But that’s not why we are here is it.

Does it appear to anyone that there is resurgence of men with beards? And does anyone think it might be because of an enormously popular television show about a family that makes duck calls? They may have made it more acceptable but for some time men have been discovering that having a full beard, or other well groomed type of facial hair, is very natural and I might even say an important part of being a complete man. I might say that, but I won’t. Some guys, a very, very small amount of guys, just didn’t get the “beard” gene and that any type of facial hair they may attempt to grow just looks sad. Kudos to them for having the good sense to shave.

Mustaches always seem to be accepted and recently little “soul” patches under the bottom lip have become a fad. But the only type of facial hair you have seen in recent years, plastered around the fashion pages and on want-to-be-hip television shows, is the two or three day growth. These “almost” beards should, according to a recent survey of women, be more appropriately called the human version of 60 grit sandpaper. Either grow it or shave it guys. Our women take considerable time and money to make themselves pretty and soft…for us. What do we do? Treat them like of plank of rough cut cedar. Not very nice of us is it. The in between look is out guys. On an increasing basis though, and acceptable from the production floor to the board room are glorious, well kept, luxurious full beards. One note of course is that safety, takes priority. For example, a fireman needs a good seal on their respirator, and the food handler must wear a beard net, while the mechanic must keep their long locks out of the gears and rollers. Fortunately there are many ways for most of us to be safe and have a great beard.

Many of you guys may be thinking of sporting your own facial hair and wonder how it will be received by your spouse, family, or even your boss. Here is the way. Start it on vacation. Shave only the lower portion of your neck and a line on each cheek. Early shaping is essential to acceptance. Use basic soap, and some regular cream rinse to keep it healthy and soft. Then decide when you get home. It really is your decision whether to trim and shape it, to let it grow out, or succumb to..ah..pressure. You will continue to see more men with beards as barriers and prejudice or overcome. By the way, women with beards are not acceptable, ever.

Now to talk about camouflage. Hang on, wind blew my beard onto the keyboard. There, that feels better. Maybe, if I open my shirt and stick my beard inside. I’ll give it a try. Yes, it is a camouflage (camo) shirt and yes I have a number of them. Why? Because they come in a wide variety of patterns, colors, and fabrics, just like any other type of shirt on the market. The added benefit of blending in to foliage and trees has a limited use outside of the forest but is nonetheless something to consider with today’s environmental efforts. Just think of being able to water your lawn but not be seen. It would drive the neighbors crazy. I find it fun to dress from head to toe in camo, go to Cabela’s, and hide from the family. I’ve surprised a couple of sales associates as well. Wow, they jump really high.

I think it is part of the whole return to nature movement. We may do it in a 45 foot motor home nowadays rather than a canvas tent, but that’s technology and comfort rearing its head. Look, if we wanted to live off the land and off the grid we would. But you know what? Every mountain man that ever was, eventually comes to town for supplies of one kind or another. So wearing some camo gives us a little reminder of where many of us would rather be. Yes it is great to have easy access to shopping centers and grocery stores. It is even better to return to a home nicely placed amongst the trees.

Long beards and camouflage are not new and have never really gone away. Think ZZtop, most of our old ancestors, and military paint schemes.  Interest in hunting and fishing has never been higher due in a large part to conservation and management efforts by the users. Proper use and training of the equipment needed has as well made things safer and more acceptable to a wider audience.

At the end of the day I am as much inclined to take my camera into the woods as I am a shotgun or rifle. The majesty of a full racked buck in bright sun against a forest background is something to be photographed. Of course a nice deer steak isn’t bad either. Either way I like my beard to keep my face bit warmer and my camo to blend in a little, as well as remind me of the earth that provides a lot of what I need.

Now I’ve got to dump the sand out of this laptop. Hey, can someone help me up, I’m a bit buried in this sand.  Anyone?  Hey!

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