Julian II, a.k.a. Julian Augustus, Emperor of Rome, better known as Julian the Apostate and my personal folk hero, was the last pagan Roman Emperor. He also had a beard. After enough people gave him guff for it, he wrote Misopogon (‘Beard-hater’), a diatribe against the Antiochenes. (Short version: he’d expected the hardcore Christians of Antioch to embrace him. Like most of his Empire, they didn’t. He was pissed.)
Okay, fine. Like Julian, I am bearded. What is interesting is that to the young, it registers me elder. This evening I was at a going-away party for an education executive leaving to take up a higher position. He was a Coug. For those who do not know Washington colleges, that means Washington State University, rival of the University of Washington, my much-loved alma mater. His daughter had seen the light and was attending UW. She and I exchanged old times/new times stuff for a while (and I’m glad her father wanted better things for her; speaks volumes about him).
(Seriously, my host was a fine gentleman and a very bright fellow whose guests were fun, funny and intelligent. He offered great food and drink, prominently featuring cheeses from the WSU Creamery. A salute to him and to delicious dining, and full respect to the value of land grant educational institutions that make foodieism possible. Any city slicker dumb enough to make fun of food production, while savoring gourmet this and artisan that, is effete and idiotic at once. )
The question arose as to Deb’s age, and the young lady guessed many years low. In my case, she guessed three years high. I’m not sensitive about how I look, which is a wise stance in 50ish fat, balding, salt-and-pepper old guys. When I laughed, she said: “The beard makes you look wise.” (Tell my nephew that; maybe he’ll pay attention to me.)
Interesting observation. I would like to hear from readers, especially women, since the beard is a fairly defining masculine aspect. Does a heavy, silvery beard make a man seem wise? When you see a heavy beard on a man, what does it evoke?