I was raised to believe men should be clean shaven. Never mind hair grows naturally out of a man's face. Never mind early man probably didn't have the tools to shave, nor did it occur to him to shave, as the hair kept his face warm and protected. Never mind some of the greatest men to have lived on Earth had beards, including Abraham Lincoln, William Shakespeare, Frederick Douglass and, last but certainly not least, Jesus.

Just because I was raised to believe something doesn't mean I believe it. Challenging the norm is important for personal growth and for society as a whole. That includes challenging what your parents want you to believe. Besides, I'm a bit of a rebel sometimes.

I don't know why my parents were so opposed to beards. They told me bearded men are too lazy to shave. Of course, that's not true. To have a nice beard requires care and attention. There are many products available to help men groom their beards, including shampoos, conditioners, combs, brushes, oils, scissors and trimmers. There's also a ton of advice about how to groom a beard. There's even debate about the bacteria content of beards versus a clean-shaven face.

Besides, who would call Jesus lazy?

When my hometown had its 75th anniversary in 1967, many of the men grew beards as a commemoration. Some men, including every man in my family, resisted. There were commemorative wooden coins, some supporting beards and some supporting shaving.

The rebel in me was fascinated with beards. I secretly wished my dad would grow a beard, just for kicks. Just because he could. Just because he never had. But it never happened.

As a grown woman, I didn't really like beards, until I met my husband. Even then, I didn't love that he had a beard, but I realized complaining about his beard would be like him complaining about my hairstyle. If he likes it, it should wear it. It doesn't matter what anyone says.

My husband took good care of his beard. He kept it trimmed and he shampooed and conditioned it. He combed it and brushed it. He changed his style of beard over the years, too, eventually trimming back to a moustache and goatee, which was the most flattering of all. I guess you could say his beard grew on me. Not literally, of course.

I knew my parents wouldn't like his beard. I thought they might not like him, either.

They did not.

I'm pleased to report my dad eventually liked my husband, after they had a few real conversations and watched a western together. My mom, though, was a tough nut to crack. She never accepted him and I think his beard had something to do with it.

It was hurtful, not receiving your mother's support for your choice of mate, but I could deal with it because, you know, I'm a bit of a rebel.

(606) 326-2661 |

lward@dailyindependent.com

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