Student, teacher discuss reasons for growing beards

Furry little creatures are sweeping Ball State’s campus. No, not squirrels -- beards.

With events such as “no shave November” and Pinterest posts of scruffy models, beards have become a trend amongst men. While some people associate beards with lumberjacks and members from the show “Duck Dynasty,” the unclean face trend has made its way to city men.

Fashionable, city men with beards even have their own online community called Urban Beardsman Magazine. The “brainchild” of the website, Eric Bandholz said on his website that he created term urban beardsman after attending the West Coast Beard & Mustache Championships and identifying a new sort of beard-wearer in-between the woodsman and biker types.

One of the beards around campus belongs to the face of Jonah Weber, a freshman psychology major. He identifies with the lumberjack beard group.

“I liked facial hair and I thought beards looked cool,” Weber said. “I’m really an outdoorsy person. Looking like a lumberjack in the woods is just fun.”

Though Weber grows his beard to look like an outdoorsman, he recognizes some men grow beards to fit into fashionable culture.

“It’d be interesting if people just started growing beards for fashion rather than just because they wanted one,” Weber said.

“I think it’s cool that it’s a growing trend,” Weber said.

Pete Davis, associate professor of English, is a veteran beard-sporter. He has had his off and on for about five years. Davis grows his beard “for fun” rather than to fit a certain look.

“I’ve always been a big facial hair experimenter,” Davis said.

Davis does not limit his facial hair strictly to beards. He has sported a mustache, goatee and sideburns. A few years ago, Davis decided he was not going to shave his face for a full year. Ever since then, he has had a beard.

When it comes to girls, Weber sees a “50/50 mix” of girls who like beards and those who don’t.

“A lot of girls don’t like facial hair,” Weber said. “But when you do find a girl that likes facial hair, they just want to touch it.”

Morgan Stinson, a freshman actuarial science major, prefers short and scruffy facial hair in most cases.

“It really depends on what guy is wearing the beard,” Stinson said.

Along with looking like a lumberjack, Weber also grows his beard to look older.

”If you shave after having a beard, everyone’s like ‘you look like you’re 17’ when usually people are like ‘you look like you’re 22,’” Weber said.

Davis also experiences mistaken ages when sporting his beard.

“Old men think that I’m more of an old man when I have a beard,” Davis said.

When his beard reaches a certain length, Davis notices it becomes an object of conversation. He has had people come up to him and ask how long he has been growing his beard. Davis receives many compliments on his facial hair; however, he believes “half the compliments are ironic.”

Weber said having a longer beard requires grooming. In the mornings he has to comb down his “bed beard.” He also washes and trims his facial hair. Both Weber and Davis shampoo their beards when they become longer.

As for the future of facial hair, Davis said he hopes to get back to the ways of the 19th century and have a president with “giant sideburns.”

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