Beards of Men

Beards seem to be in fashion again.

Younger men tend to have shorter beards than older men. In some portions of the younger set it is fashionable even to appear merely unshaven for a few days. One sees advertisements, usually for women’s apparel and accessories, which show young men with three-day, untrimmed beards hanging around attractive young women looking, variously, concupiscent, unfulfilled and depressed. They usually have dark beards. I guess those with blond beards are too happy and satisfied looking.

Not too many older men currently have the long beards sported by the generation of my great-grandfathers, contemporaries who never knew each other: Konstantin Alexander Pavellas and Asbury Harpending, Jr.


The following generation of men, around the 1900s, preferred waxed mustaches which, for me, have too much vanity associated with them, as shown by my two grandfathers, Alexander K. Pavellas and George Pagonis:


I think the most attractive of beards worn by a public figure, currently, is that of Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, which is on a par with that of my friend George Wegler.


I see, everywhere in Stockholm, men of a certain age displaying beards in the style of Ben and George, and I feel a kinship with these fellows, especially those with partially or fully-silvered beards. This is how I have now grown my beard, as best as I can with a few little baldish spots on my right side.

I grew my first beard upon achieving, at age 38, my goal of becoming the chief executive of a community hospital. This was in the City of Modesto, California, in the Great Central Valley. I shaved this beard after a while, thinking it not reflecting the inner Ron. Twenty-two years later I visited the land where three of my grandparents were born, Greece, and grew what I then considered a Greek beard, sort of unruly, but with the area under my nose, my philtrum, scraped clean.


When visiting Afghanistan in 2005 as a volunteer hospital consultant, I once again grew a beard and, to appease some remaining vanity, shaved my philtrum. I have since shaved it all, and now have regrown my beard similar in length to what you see below, but without bothering with the area under my nose.


If I look tired and hot, I was, and not too good in the guts, as well. It was July, 2005. Dr. Husman’s beard is a glorious thing, however, and I envy him his hirsuteness.

I feel, now, part of a fraternity of older men who are comfortable within their own skin and hair. It is a great pleasure to admire the beards of others. My only mild regret is that I never had the courage to let all my head hair grow out ‘naturally’ as did two people I admire, in the 1970s:

John Hartford and Allen Ginsberg

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About Ron Pavellas

Expatriate Californian living in Sweden with wife. Retired from employment in the USA. Currently focused on blog articles, memoirs, and creative writing.
This entry was posted in Alexander K. Pavellas, Asbury Harpending, George Pagonis, Jr., Ronald A. Pavellas and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Beards of Men

  1. caprizchka says:

    I have to admit that my favorites belong to your two great grandfathers. I did some image searches for beards and this one positively drives me wild: http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/static/2014-08/12/7/enhanced/webdr04/enhanced-15896-1407843185-9.jpg

    • Ron Pavellas says:

      Yeah, I rather like the natural, unfussy beards of the older guys. As for the image you found, he Looks like George Clooney made up for a role.

      • caprizchka says:

        LOL. Real life actors always disappoint me. Maybe this is what Clooney’s son will look like when he’s older than Clooney is today, and has lived a bit more life, etc., except that this guy is some kind of east Indian whereas Clooney is Irish German (which is it’s own mixtures) and as I recall his new bride is British-Lebanese.

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