To beard or not to beard? – Students debate the meaning behind facial hair

Photo by Sana Ullah

Photo by Sana Ullah

Selima Hussain / Contributing writer

Animals aren’t the only ones with whiskers.

While some students choose to maintain their long beards for style or out of laziness, others prefer to keep their facial hair out of personal taste or religious purposes.

Some choose to shave, others like to let their beards and mustaches flourish. These students insist on leaving their facial hair as it is—even if their girlfriends or crushes find it unattractive.

“My mustache makes me, me,” said Daniel Smart, a freshman and marine biology major. “I would never shave it off because it’s a part of who I am.”

Smart had his mustache since he was 13 and doesn’t plan on engaging in a new look anytime soon.

Alex Miles, freshman and business administration student, also carries a mustache and beard.

“My girlfriend is in New York, so I’m growing it out. But honestly, I’m too lazy to shave it off.”

Jayson Esdaille, a sophomore biology major, thinks that his beard adds a “certain edge to his face.”

“It makes me look unique,” said Esdaille. “My girlfriend would have to love me with my beard, or not at all.”

A fully grown beard or mustache on a man can incite many different reactions from the female population.

Diana Deonanan, a junior who is double majoring in biology and psychology, finds beards and mustaches extremely unappealing.

“It’s disgusting. I don’t think facial hair is professional, like a clean cut. I would never date someone with a huge beard like James Harden.”

           For Jennifer Lobo, a junior nursing and psychology major, deciding whether or not facial hair is attractive depends on how it’s styled.

“If it’s neat and well kept, it’s attractive. But kissing can be uncomfortable when your partner has a lot of facial hair,” Lobo said.

Maria Reid, a social psychology expert and member of the department of psychology, believes that men sport beards and mustaches for aesthetic reasons– not just to appear masculine to women.

“Some men might have a beard to give their face a different shape, or to make them look older– especially if they have a boyish face. But I think it’s more of a personal preference than anything else,” she said. “There is a linkage between testosterone and facial hair growth, but it isn’t very strong.”

Biology Instructor Maureen Walter does not believe biology is the reason women might or might not be attracted to beards.

“I know that facial symmetry has a definite role in the attractiveness of a person, but as far as facial hair is concerned, I’m not too sure,” she said. “I think it may have more cultural implications than biological.”

Sholom Neistein, a Jewish alum who holds a degree in psychology, said that shaving isn’t allowed in Orthodox Judaism.

“The Torah states that a blade should not touch the face,” he said. “I still shave, but I use an electrical razor that has no blades. My dad has a very long beard, but he has to keep it kempt while he’s at work.”

Islam is another religion in which having a beard has cultural implications.

“A lot of Muslim men have beards because that was the way of Prophet Mohammed — peace be upon him — which is also known as the Sunnah,” said Mohamed Ghumrawi, a Muslim alum with a degree in criminal justice.

“The Prophet believed that having a beard was a symbolic identity of Muslims, and was a way to differentiate between believers and nonbelievers.”

The decision to grow a beard can range from sheer personal preference to the holy word of a very important Prophet. Whether or not a woman finds facial hair striking varies.

“I love men with beards,” said Reid. “My first crush was on my French teacher, and I remember he had this thick, luxurious beard. It was fantastic.”

There may still be hope for men who take fashion advice from James Harden.

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