August 10, 2022

Growing A Winter Coat, by Brendon Marks


Most women will only admit men are superior in three areas: opening jars, killing bugs, and producing methane. But there is one area where men truly have no equal. That is pogonotrophy. This is not a horrible misspelling of pornography; pogonotrophy means ‘the growing of a beard.’

I know that there are many women who can mount a serious challenge in the mustache department or a hairy old mole, but I’m talking about a real beard. The average man will grow twenty-seven feet of hair out of his face during his lifetime. I’m not sure how they determined that.

Can you imagine what it must have been like to figure that out? Take a guy, let his beard grow for ten days, measure each hair, divide by ten and take the average. Multiply by the average life span of a man from puberty to death (in days) and you’ve got it. Now do that for a hundred guys and take the average. All I can say is that somebody must have really, really wanted to know.

I am relatively certain that I have scraped at least 25 feet of hair off my face already (at least enough to fill the box on my pick-up), which means I only have two feet left to go and then I die?

Sooner or later every man tries his hand (or face) at pogonotrophy. It may be to celebrate a centennial, perpetuate a hunting season tradition, avoid capture, or because he has sustained a serious injury to that part of his brain that controls his shaving hand or his sense of good taste. A beard does drastically change your appearance and some men handle the difference better than their brethren.

Some beards are always kept neat and trim so that they are little more than a thin coat of hair with a very distinct edge. I would expect that the constant trimming would be just as much effort as shaving, so what the heck’s the point? Others are allowed to grow wild. The wild ones cause the most drastic change in appearance. They also tend to collect things like doughnut crumbs, vegetables strained out of soup, small field animals and whole families of birds. I have a couple of friends at work that I have never seen without a beard. If they shaved I probably wouldn’t know them.

Most men look older when they have a beard, giving rise to the practice of young doctors fresh out of medical school growing a beard to have more credibility with older patients. It also explains why some young men who are constantly reminded of their youthful appearance (meaning they can’t buy beer without a hassle) grow a pathetically anemic tuft of hair somewhere around their mouth or chin.

Some men do look better with a beard than they do without. Either because they are incredibly ugly to begin with and anything that covers up their face is an improvement, or they simply don’t have a chin.

I have practiced pogonotrophy on several occasions; the last time lasted about four months. I called it my muleskinner look. My wife tolerated it for about three. It’s not that she suffers from pogonophobia (fear of beards), it’s because she doesn’t care for the practice of having me remove her makeup with a steel-wool pad. Her kisses were similar to what I would receive from a Sunday school teacher and any sort of nuzzling was completely out of the question.

However, nothing like what happened to Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame ever happened to me. Willie, while staying at a fancy hotel in New York City, approached the doorman and asked for directions to the restroom. He was directed out the front door and down the street to a public restroom in Central Park. Clearly a case of facial profiling.

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One Response to “Growing A Winter Coat, by Brendon Marks”
  1. Sharon King says:

    I could not figure out how a fellow employee got a mustache so fast. It finally dawned on me. He shaved off the beard.
    Older men seem to grow a beard because people keep telling them they missed a spot shaving. (Two cousins)

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