Friday, February 3, 2012

A Man With A Beard...

by Drew Martin
I caught myself staring at a man's beard on the subway last night. It was not a scrappy beard or anything too wild. It was a well-kept beard that did not hang from his face but worked into an overall mane. The man was probably in his 50's. He wore glasses and peered down at the book he was reading while standing by the train's doors. The first thing to cross my mind was what the native Americans must have thought about the hairy Europeans when they first saw them. Did the beards offend their smooth-faced aesthetics? Or were they intrigued by this growth on these bewhiskered and smelly white some kind of hybrid of bear and man? Some tribes did believe that beavers were their deceased ancestors, returning in another form. It is suggested that a young Pocahontas fancied Captain John Smith (pictured left) and it is fact that she married John Rolfe, both of whom would have been rather woolly. I wonder if some of the first-contact natives assumed that the European women, who did not make the first voyages, were also bearded or did they consider their models in nature that the male exhibits different plumage, antlers and such? My grandfather used to shake his head when he saw a man with facial hair and say aloud "A man with a beard has something to hide."