by Phil Weir
Beards have come and gone through the ages, depending on the dictates of fleeting, fickle fashion.
However, style-wise, goatees, designer stubble, plus the classic full-on shapeless fuzz-cum-tangle have always had their devotees, although, stubble apart, extensive facial hair, to date, has tended to be the choice of the more mature practitioner, especially those with six chins and a wart or seven to hide.
However, for the first time in living memory, in this country anyway, young chaps in their 20s are sporting beards of Biblical proportions – lower-jaw jungles that Grizzly Adams and the Taliban would be proud to call their own.
These are mostly of epic productions – great stair-carpets worth of wiry shag-pile, reaching from nose to navel, the likes of which have not been seen since the gloriously hirsute kings of ancient Assyria grew them so long that they frequently came to grief aboard their chariots, their beard-ends snagging fatally in their vehicles’ speeding wheels. And the mighty beards of today’s young men are no less intricately and lovingly constructed than the hanging garden-like chin shrubbery of Tiglath Pileser III, or for that matter, Sennacherib, the First and Last.
But who is there out there to titivate these beards, except the beardees themselves?
And that’s exactly why it’s about time dedicated beard TLC salons started opening up on our High Streets.
Women have their nail bars and beauty parlours, So why not beard-treatment establishments for men?
These chin-hedge-horticulture HQs, as well as offering such basic grooming applications as trims and dyeing, could also provide a full-on pampering experience for those with a jowl mane.
On arrival, a customer would be invited to don a bib and lie face down on a gurney, designed by John Paul Goatier, before being wheeled to various treatment points.
First, the sink (designed by Vivienne Westwhisker) – the patient would be edged up, chin to porcelain, before having his beard manhandled into the scented water for a vigorous shampoo and conditioning, to remove food fragments, birds’ nests, household pets, lost spectacles, illegal aliens, Lord Lucan, the missing Sky doofer, etc.
Then the beardee would be carried in a sedan chair (designed by Tommy Figurehugger) to a lounge for a cup of coffee and a flick through a copy of Bearded Photographer Monthly, Bearded Caravanning, etc. There, while the music of ZZ Top played gently in the background, the beard would be allowed to dry naturally in a beard hammock (a bit like a horse’s nosebag, but more low slung).
Next step? Back on the gurney would go the face fungus fashionista, for the meat and potatoes of the appointment – a session with a highly-qualified beard topiarist.
Chin planted on top of a special mount (designed by Curl Lagerfeld), the beardee would then have his pride and joy extended out full length in front of him on a flat work station where the stylist would set about it with scissors, scythe and flamethrower.
Once the whiskers have been wrestled into a satisfactory award-winning shape, the patient would then be passed on to lesser technicians who would engage in dyeing and perfuming the beard-do, before adding such accessories as ribbons, jewellery, freshly-cut wildflowers, horse brasses, fairy lights, mobile phone holsters, and such.
From there it would be a short trip to the cash register, for the bearded one to pay for the procedure, plus any potions or paraphernalia – powerfully-reeking balms, curlers, rain sheaths, etc.
And, of course, as is the way with hairdressers and barbers, the salon owners could get witty and inventive and puntastic with the names of their establishments – Yogi Beard! Paddington Beard! Rupert The Beard! John Logie Beard! Charlie Chin’s! Chin and Tonic! Huckleberry Chin’s! Fuzz Aldrin’s! The Crown Jowls! The Jowl In The Crown! Russell’s Sprout! Der Bierdgarten!
Holy Moses! Is that the time? Must rush. I’m getting my toe hair trimmed down at Emperor HairyHeToes and I’m late for my appointment.