Beards are very popular nowadays. In fact, a consensus taken in 2017 determined that 33% of American men have some kind of facial hair. That means if you take a poll of 10 random men, at least 3 of them will have some kind of beard, mustache, or goatee. Now compare this to the 2020 study that showed that 55% of men in the world have some kind of facial hair and you can see that beards and mustaches are probably far more common than you think! With this many bearded men around, there are interesting and unique beard facts everywhere.
Interestingly enough, if the bearded ratio is more than 50%, then it can be said that not having facial hair is more “out of the ordinary”.
All of this to say that these fun facts about beards are very relevant and interesting to think about given their commonality in modern society! So, let’s jump into the first fun fact about beards!
Beard Fact 1. Beards Were Once Prescribed
The first fun beard fact that we’ve got for you today is that beards were once prescribed by medical professionals. In the Victorian era, beards were thought to help prevent illness and disease. Back then, thick and full beards were seen as practical filters, that could sift air and prevent disease by catching harmful particles.
Although beards may be useful for the larger particles out there such as dirt or dust, bacteria and pathogens are so small that beards make virtually no difference in terms of filtering them out.
Beard Fact 2. Beards Make You Look More Aggressive
This beard fact may or may not be surprising to you, but men who have beards are typically seen as being more aggressive than those who are clean shaven, simply because of the facial hair itself. Now it’s kind of debated as to why people think this way, but we have our own theories!
We think that men who sport beards send a subconscious message of masculinity through their visual representation of testosterone. Obviously, a man with a beard has a well enough amount of testosterone in order to grow that beard in the first place. And this can be seen and recognized as typical “aggressive” masculine behavior.
Beard Fact 3. Epictetus Believed Beards Were Invaluable
Our next beard fact comes all the way from ancient Greece. Epictetus loved his beard so much that he said he “would rather be executed than have to shave his beard.” And at Volt, we understand this sentiment because we love our beards just as much.
Epictetus was an ancient greek stoic philosopher. For reference, stoicism was the belief that a man must endure hardships and do so without the display of feelings or complaints because stoic men are “indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.”
Perhaps it was this traditional view of masculinity which made Epictetus (and many ancient philosophers) fond of their facial hair in the same way that facial hair is commonly viewed as “more aggressive” mentioned above. It’s as if beards act as a social display of masculine energy.
Beard Fact 4. The US Planned To Harm Castro’s Beard
The US was claimed to have tried to sabotage Fidel Castro’s beard by one means or another. It’s not clear whether the US planned on tainting Castro’s cigars, or putting thallium in his shoes (Thallium Sulfate was a common pesticide that would cause illness and loss of hair) because you can find both of these theories on the internet.
What we do know is that the US planned to attack Castro’s image. The US hoped that the affect of their efforts would cause Castro’s beard to fall out, causing him to appear ill and sickly which would affect the overall morale of his subjects.
Now, no evidence has been found to support that the US went through with any of these plans, but it was known that the plan existed at one point.
Beard Fact 5. Peter The Great Taxed Beards
Peter the Great was not the biggest fan of beards. However, he did not despise them so much to make them illegal. Instead, he simply taxed beards as a way of discouraging them and gaining more money for his regime. Peter the Great would tax his subjects 100 rubles a year for “permission” to wear a beard. Which, at the time (1700s), was a very hefty fine.
Men who payed this tax would be given a medallion that they could wear which authorized them in their ability to wear a beard in public.
All in all beards have a large and interesting history. They’ve been part of the masculine image since before shaving was invented, leading us to believe that there are many more cool facts and details about beards left to be discovered.
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