Recently I read the story of The Twits by Roald Dahl to my son again, as we both l o v e it, and laugh out loud at the same hilarious situations every time… the way Mr and Mrs Twit try to make each other’s life a misery is pure entertainment and a joy to recite. They are a horrible lot and their destiny is quite horrible too. But that’s the Happy Ending.
Apparently Dahl’s inspiration for the book was… bearded men. He couldn’t stand the sight of them and “wanting to do something about men with beards” he created Mr Twit. Mean Mr Twit sports a full length filthy stinking beard with lunchbox qualities, as there’s always some food to be found in it…
The first sentence of the story actually is: “What a lot of hairy-faced men there are around nowadays!” And with this opening line the story, first published in 1980, becomes very 2013!
What is it with the beards??? Last year they came in the disguise of the farmer look: The beard + flat cap combo. This year it has become a full-blown craze, with the thick bushy beard as a remarkable top-of-the-list facial hairdo.
Roald Dahl thought bearded men were ‘hiding’ something, I think some men are actually better off that way. Others seem to ‘toughen up a pretty face’.
From Wikipedia: Over the course of history, men with facial hair have been ascribed various attributes such as wisdom, sexual virility, masculinity, or a higher status; however, beards may also be perceived to be associated with a lack of general cleanliness and a loss of refinement, particularly in modern times. (…)
(…) Sikhs consider the beard to be part of the nobility and dignity of their manhood. Sikhs also refrain from cutting their hair and beards out of respect for the God-given form.
The God-given form is not the ideal shape for everyone, and so, the barber shop is back! This is a men’s haven where he can have his beauty treatment, moment to himself, come to his senses, basically. The old school barber shop is cultivated and the barbers look the part. Online in the mean time, there’s true beard cult to be found, not trend, as they value their long history as well as the ‘hot news’.
PS – 31 03 2014 The paper is picking up on it, they spotted a “wooly war” between the lovers and haters of the beard
PS – 07 09 2015 The story of the beards continues here
PS – 02 10 2017 The barbers of Schorem have reached world fame. Today they were back on the Dutch daily talkshow De Wereld Draait Door and were questioned on the international beard factor and the succes of their pomade.
From a single barber shop in Rotterdam to international fame and a million euro business. Leen and Bertus now travel the world, lecturing on the beard and demonstrating how to prune it.
They brought their crew along to the studio and apart from facial hair, glasses and suits seem to be an issue.
To be continued, no doubt.
PS – Summer 2018
My son is now 13 years old, and did this for a school assignment, Make a poster for a book you read. First year English class. He did one of his first loves, The Twits by Roald Dahl.
Proud mum 😉
PS – Summer 2019
I heard of it on the radio: After the king held his annual speech at the congregation of national politicians during the Prinsjesdag ceremony, there was talk about his appearance. The King Had A Beard.
I looked it up and yes.
Going by the amount of posts on the matter, I think The beard has landed.
PS | 2020 OCT 2
Through a newsletter by King & McGaw:
‘The Beard Pictures’ are a series of photo-pieces by Gilbert and George depicting the artist duo wearing beards made from a surreal range of materials such as brightly coloured leaves, demonstrating both the religious and cultural context of facial hair.