Its October, the leaves are falling, the witches are abroad, and I’ve opened the blog up to guest writers again. Yes its Indie October. Throughout October some old favourites among my guests will be returning along with some new voices. Today’s Guest Post is from Teesside travel author Will Nett, who has been looking into the hirsute.
Note. The management would like to point out all opinions expressed here are Will’s own…
Next week’s US election has got me thinking about some of the big historical voting issues, but perhaps none more so than that of facial hair, of which no candidate who had any has been elected since William Taft in 1909. Even he drew the line at a beard though, instead favouring the sort of hipster lip slug you can now see in any Shoreditch vintage bicycle repair shop.
As far as the modern electorate are concerned, particularly in the US and the UK it seems, beards are wholly unelectable, despite their undoubted resurgence over the last decade.
Slather yourself in butternut squash puree, as Donald Trump appears to have done, our present your hair as if it was based on a child’s macaroni cheese and straw painting, a la Boris Johnson, but when it comes to facial hair, don’t go there.
On the UK side of the water, Lord Salisbury remains the last Prime Minister to wear a full beard, since his premiership back in 1902, although this is not as groundbreaking as it may seem, coming in an era when dogs, women and children were issued with a set of enormous muttonchops at birth.
Almost half a century before Salisbury went full werewolf, Abraham Lincoln sported a beard after apparently receiving a letter urging him to grow one. A few weeks before his White House victory, in 1861, a little girl called Grace Bedell wrote to him that ‘all the ladies like whiskers’ although it is unclear if she was in fact referring to cat food. He grew a beard anyway, and was elected shortly after. Oddly, he went for the ‘beard only’ option, declining to grow a moustache, thus confirming my own theory that it is impossible not to look either absurdly odd, or downright sinister, when wearing a beard and no moustache, as my own attempts have shown.
As I am unable to grow a moustache in the little groove beneath my philtrum- is this a genetic thing?- I always end up looking like my fellow Yorkshireman, Guy Fawkes, but after he was beheaded and booted through the streets of Parliament Square. A little current affairs nod, there. I don’t just pull this out of thin air, you know.
I dabbled with a goatee earlier in the year but looked like Joe Mantegna, so now I’ve gone for the full Tom-Hanks-In-Castaway shebang to see out the year, by which time attention will have turned to the most famous beard of them all. I mean Father Christmas. Not God. God’s not real.
About Will Nett
Will Nett is about 40, from Middlesbrough and the author of My Only Boro, the book that was a bestseller in the town for three Christmases in a row.
Will is one of the most affable writers in the Tees area, and his global appeal and general popularity have seen his writing career straddle two millennia. He is an incurable backpacker, occasional banjo picker and habitual note-maker/taker, most of which have found their way into his Gonzo-steeped books, which also include Local Author Writes Book, and his riotous travelogue, Billy No Maps. He has been a Sudoku salesman, snooker table repair man, model, cinema usher and unprofessional gambler.
His latest book, The Golfer’s Lament, was submitted for the William Hill Sports Book Of The Year Award 2020.