To ‘stache or not to ‘stache

The history of facial hair and its place at Lincoln High School


Op/Ed: To ‘stache or not to ‘stache

Abraham Lincoln.


William II.

Chuck Norris.

End of story.

There is only one fantastical force that binds these incredible people – incredible facial hair. To some, facial hair is a thing to behold, an accomplishment to be proud of. For others, facial hair is the scraggly, unkempt, tufts of adolescence attached to the face of most high schoolers, something to snip or shave off. 

The beard and the mustache both have long and varied histories. From the Greeks to the English to modern Americans, the beard has meant a lot to a great deal of people. In Chinese culture, beards and untidy facial hair are considered bad luck, while for people in Victorian England, a well-groomed mustache signified wealth, and in Peter the Great’s Russia, beards were taxed.

In this century however, beards have become something of a novelty, a statement for the hipster or ultra-religious.  Since 2003, some have dubbed November “Novembeard”- a month of no shaving and growing awareness of men’s health issues. Last year’s “Novembeard” did not get much attention, but the lack of awareness surrounding the event certainly hasn’t stopped people on campus from letting their luscious locks burst forth from their face. 

Such bold fashion statements certainly must lead to strong opinions. The topic of facial hair, especially teen facial hair, was a subject I assumed to be universally loved by men and universally hated by women. As it turns out however, both men and women have a lot of common ground when it comes to their perception of facial hair.

Mustaches are loved by all. Beards are not warmly accepted unless they are short or well trimmed, although they are not nearly as popular as the mustache. One female participant interviewed stressed her hatred of the sole patch, while another professed her love for the handlebar mustache style. One male subject said beards are cool only on certain people like lumberjacks. Overall, most people agree that facial hair is not for everyone, but if people can find a style that fits them then it is worth having.

Facial hair on teens is a more controversial issue – most of the men interviewed found teenage facial hair to be alright so long as it isn’t too patchy. The women interviewed however universally disliked facial hair on high schoolers.  Some said high school facial hair is gross, while others said they didn’t like it. 

When asked “what do you think of teens with mustaches”, one participant replied

“Please stop. All the boys who can grow one don’t have the face for it and look like nightmare fuel baby men… It’s really sad, please stop, buy a razor”. 

Most women don’t hold such strong opinions, but overall the women questioned didn’t like teen facial hair. 

Facial hair has been with mankind since the beginning, and it will never go away. While not inherently a bad thing, there is merit to the criticism of teen facial hair, although in some cases it can be pretty awe inspiring.

So long as men continue to hit puberty, scraggly beards and patchy mustaches will continue to grow across the country, and who knows, maybe someday you may sport a truly epic face of hair.