This is a comprehensive and unbiased overview of British beards ands moustaches, their history (awesome) and their place in the future (all over faces). Also, moustache is spelled with an O, and Americans are liars.
Facial hair has adorned British men (and unlucky women) since recorded history began. It mostly adorned their faces. While it was perfectly acceptable not to have facial hair, you had to either be a child or able to grow a child inside you. There was no other excuse.
Beards during post Roman and pre-Renaissance times were widespread. They grew out even if you took them off, and personal hygiene wasn't at it's zenith in medieval Britain.
Hi, I'm your doctor. Don't be scared. Just show me your armpits.
During times of famine morsels of food could be found or hidden in facial hair. But most useful of all, it kept the blood out of your mouth if you had to go a bit crazy.
Which we did quite often, to be honest.
The issue with facial hair before the industrial revolution was pretty simple, really. For a regular guy, it was a toss up between a pretty unkept beard and a lower-facial area that looked like ground beef stretched over a jawbone. That's to say that affordable shaving technology wasn't up to much. With the widespread availability of high-quality, sharp metal face razors, that changed. Oh, it changed. It sure did change.
That is change we can all believe in.
There are too many famous nineteenth and twentieth British century moustaches and beards to list in any way here. For about 100 years, sexually repressed Britain had a love affair with facial hair, the likes of which hadn't been seen before and hasn't been seen since. During times of conformity and strict social norms, it was a comfort to know that the hair that grew from your face was yours. Walrus moustache? Why not. Mutton chops? That's fine with everyone here. Shaving a dirty word into your beard? Keep that one to yourself, you filthy heathen.
Also I'm not sure they would understand the concept of Super Mario.
Britain's passion for facial hair and the shaping of the aforementioned hair reached its Zenith during Victorian Britain. It is widely believed that Britain upped it's production of beards to compensate for their long-living Queen's lack of any noticable whiskers. During this period, and for around two decades afterwards, Britain's Empire expanded outwards into the world. This was mostly due to the fact that the French were our main competitors, and their schitzophrenic relationship with face hair (among other things) led to them being poor competitors.
Fuck you, I said we had a quarter, not a good quarter.
Well, in the twentieth century, there was something of a social revolution in the United Kingdom. I think in the interest of balance, it should be noted that these changes were important, and cannot be described as either good or bad. Becuase they were awful. People stopped wearing hats in public, women started voting, people thought of themselves as individuals. You're not truly British if the very concept of it doesn't make you want to tut dissaprovingly.
Beard envy is a silent killer, Emmeline.
But worst of all, people didn't just trim their beards. They didn't just shave them down to moustaches, or leave sideburns, or neckbeards. They just kept shaving down until they saw their shameful naked faces. Nobody knows why.
Britain triumphed in the Second World War, which is a miracle in itself, as for the first time in practically fity years it had neither a head of state nor a head of cabinet with any facial hair whatsoever. But as soon as the war was over, Britain's debt caught up with her and what was left of her world power status was almost instantly lost to the United States. We sent our premier economist to the U.S to argue the case for a removal of our debt. But his moustache wasn't good enough.
How old are you, Keynes? Fifteen?
Britain entered a dark period that it still resides in today. Leaders and everymen strut the streets, confident of their hirsute visages. The few remaining politicians in Britain with facial hair were largely conviced to shave (forcefully shorn) by Margaret Thatcher. The current most famous moustache in British politics belongs to Peter Mandelson. And he hasn't even had it for a decade.
And it was pathetic.
Is there hope on the horizon for the United Kingdom's chin/lip/cheek fur? If recent trends continue, basically no. But there are a few minor glimmers of hope. Some Victorian style moustaches have been spotted on young men of the hipster variety.
You look like a dick, but it's the thought that counts.
When BBC presenter Adrian Chiles started growing what can only be described as a 'fuzz' of ginger beard, he was advised to shave it by his employers. Entrance left, the Beard Liberation Front. I don't think I need to make a joke here, to be honest.
We currently have few up and coming politicians with any facial hair. Some of them don't even look like they're fully capable of growing any. Our current Monarch is exempt, as she has ovaries and whatnot. But the next one's going to be a man. And he's been beardless for pretty much his entire life. But there might be some light at the end of the tunnel.
I have a massive boner for this.