Why Do Men Shave Their Beards?

Who was it that decided that all men must take a razor to our faces every day and scrape off all of the little hairs that have grown there, only to have them grow back within a few hours so that we can repeat the whole process again the next day?

If you were to add up the amount of time the average man wastes in his lifetime performing this pointless ritual, it would amount to several months. It irritates the skin and leaves a bunch of little nicks and scrapes so that you have to tear off little pieces of toilet paper to stop the bleeding.

And if, God forbid, you should have a pimple anywhere on your face, you’ll scrape it right off and leave a big hole in your face.

Why do we do it? Are we going for the pre-pubescent look here??

It doesn’t make sense that so many guys go to the gym to build their muscles to make themselves appear more masculine, only to shave off their facial hair to make themselves look more feminine. Why bother?


I shave because I hate the way facial hair feels on my face.

Back in my early 20s, I had a mustache and, while it was a good soup filter, the smell of soured milk trapped in it was horrible.

My guess is that some woman somewhere didn’t like to get rug burn on the insides of her thighs.

My personal experience is that it’s hard to keep the skin clean under a beard. Heck, I have a very short goatee now and when I massage the skin through the wiskers, my fingertips come away smelling somewhat ripe, even though I just showered earlier that morning.

Oh my! Is my on-going major league board crush with Homebrew in jeopardy because I have a beard?

My wife insisted I grow a beard because it was softer than my skin (my facial hair is very wiry and I feel like sandpaper a half-hour after I shave).

However, the general reason why men are clean-shaven is that it’s a cultural thing. Beard have gone in and out of style all throughout history.

I have a medium length goatee, and have not had any problems keeping it clean…I just use shampoo instead of normal soap or facial cleanser. It works great, and stays nice and clean.

I shave because it would be a shame to hide my face. Plus it’s cooler in the summer, makes it easier to wash your face, and of course eliminates beard burns on your wife’s thighs.

I don’t like beards, but I wouldn’t mind a decent five ‘o’ clock shadow.

Because my fiancee won’t kiss me unless I do.

Don’t worry sweetie, I just don’t like facial hair on me. I don’t mind it on others.

Because we can. Ever work up a sweat while wearing a full beard? Ever want to tear your face off because it itches so badly? Ever had your lover nuzzle you and coo while stroking your freshly shaven face?

Contrary to your statement in the OP, there are theories that men who shave actually enjoy more youthful facial skin due to the exfoliating nature of shaving.

Well for my postal millenium, I can think of no better titled thread.

I had a beard in my early 20’s to look older.
I now don’t have a beard so that I look younger.

It is simply down to the social imagery of beard = old, non-beard = young.

Cheers, Bippy

P.S. I was known as “Bippy the Beardless” even when I had a beard, which caused some confusion :wink:

I’ve got a vandyke, which combines both worlds! Heat of a beard with annoyance of shaving-- but the woman loves it. I’m shaving it after the wedding this summer though, because I’ve had it for two years and I feel like a change.

Since I am a Bearded Lizard, a few thoughts:

  1. Personally, I don’t get the itching feeling
  2. The cleanliness issue mystifies me. No harder (easier, actually) to keep your face clean beneath a beard than to keep your scalp clean beneath your hair
  3. Mrs. Lizardo likes the beard aesthetically. In fact, Mrs. Lizardo insists. I shaved it off for her once (she’d never seen me without) and her simple comment was “grow it back.”
  4. Mrs. Lizardo has registered no complaint about “rug burn” in any intimate areas
  5. Like Bippy, I grew it in my 20’s to look older (aside: Careerwise, I had reached a level where most of my peers were 10-15 years older than I was. I found I was taken far more seriously, got better promotions and raises after growing the beard).
  6. Like Bippy, I will shave it off to look younger (time period indeterminate; based strictly upon when it goes too grey).
  7. I have a full (though always neatly-trimmed) beard, have also had goatee, which struck me as the worst of both worlds (i.e. beard upkeep AND significant shaving).

Not sure if I am passing on an urban legend or if this has some basis in fact. I could not find anything in a quick Google.

Years ago I read an explination of how styles changed at the beginning of the last century. The author suggested that several of the male stlyes of the 1920s were a direct result of returning soldiers from WWI. Basically, the argument went, whatever the veterans did was taken up as the “in” thing to do.

Now WWI was the war of lethal gas. Everybody used it and everybody wore protection against it. Gas masks in those days required a smooth face to give a good seal and so all soldiers shaved daily. This became a habit and they continued to shave when they got home. So they guys who didn’t serve started shaving in order to fit in with this style.

Again no cite, sorry.

As for me personally I shaved sporatically for a few years in my teens but since then have alwawys worn a beard. I hate shaving. I feels like cleaning your face with a vegitable peeler.

My skin goes nuts. Otherwise, I’d probably have a beard. As it is, I shave about once per week. Any longer, and the annoyance starts in earnest.

My husband hasn’t shaved since 1967. I love his beard, and wouldn’t recognize him without it. It’s soft and white and kids think he’s Santa Claus!

It’s just another sign of The Man keeping us down.

I love my husband’s beard. I’ve never known him without some type of facial hair. It has gone from being a thin mustache to bushy goatee to now a trim beard. No problem keeping it clean. Most becoming. Plus, it tickles, but doesn’t scratch. But he has to keep his mustache well trimmed (or it makes me sneeze!)

His mom hates his beard and keeps pressuring him to be clean shaven. Sorry, Mom! I’m the one kissing him, and I like it!!

(Not that he’d shave if I asked, but still!!)

Because. A response as pointless as the question.

Fagjunk Theology: Not just for sodomite propagandists anymore.