People tend to refer to a group of people who share common features and call them a “community.” I think it is sort of a shorthand (or maybe it just sounds better to say “black community” or “bearded community” than to say “black people” or “guys with beards”). It seems to me, regardless of the reason, if we are called a community, let’s be one. Because the truth is, being a community should be more than being lumped in with a bunch of people that look like you.
There are a lot of reasons why guys grow beards or moustaches. Some guys just like the way it looks. Other guys feel like it makes them look more distinguished, or rugged, or older or younger. Others grow a beard or moustache to symbolize that they are a gentleman or that they believe in classic masculinity. I suppose I am motivated, in part, by most of these. Bearding isn’t zero sum; wearing a beard may win, but not wearing a beard does not lose. If you want to see the “right way” in action, check out a competition. From what I have seen and heard, competitions are the real deal when it comes to acceptance, real friendship and respect.
To be a real community of bearded guys (or guys with moustaches) becomes a random group of dudes with hair on their chin. We can enjoy our choices while at the same time being cool with people that want to do something different. If you shave, that is pretty damned manly too, what with it being something only guys do. If you have a “business beard” and not a two foot long flowing mane, that’s cool too!
I guess, when I think about it, what I am trying to say is that if I had to pick, I would rather hang out with a gentleman that doesn’t have a beard before I hang out with a dude that does any day. That is the community that I want to be in. If you can swing both, all the better. Am I alone in this?