I noticed something the other day about certain male behavior. I noticed with many men that when they experience major life changing experiences they do the following:
- Grow a Beard
- Work out or do some consistent physical activity
This is significant to me I remember when Kemal Attaturk wanted to modernize turkey he did away with the beard, the same for Peter the Great In Russia. I believe he use to impose a tax or fine of some sort against people with beards. I don’t remember exactly and I don’t feel like looking it up for historical accuracy. There is nothing more masculine than a beard. I remember when I was a kid I feltthat when I grew facial hair I would be a man, that and driving.
But to get back to what I wanted to talk about, each of us has a personal narrative that we tell ourselves. it is part of the process of being an individual. let me give you an example: I am Dave I dont like my job because I believe I deserve more, I have worked harder and I believe that my job doesnt value me and as a consequence give me the respect I should get. You see that is a narrative we tell ourselves. (Replace Dave with your name and you can instead of job put relationship or some other thing it is all the same.) It’s extremely subjective and not based in reality. The universe, life doesn’t give a fuck about what I feel I deserve. It’s a narrative I tell myself. I noticed that when a bout of depression comes along the narrative gets stuck in repeat and I cannot do anything else but listen to it and get crushed under it’s weight.
But I do notice that there are things that silence the narrative like physical exertion. The focus on running or lifting the weight or climbing completely shuts down for a while the narrative. I think that in addition to the physiological effects of physical activity is what helps many people including my self deal with depression. I think that another thing that challenges the narrative are changes to our physical perception. A huge amount of communication is done through body language posture and appearance, changing our physical look has many ramification on how we feel the energy we project out into society and in turn the response we get from the people around us and who come into and out of our lives.
I remember one day I was down, meaning I had a bout of depression. Before I know it there was a massive beard on my face and I noticed that peoples perception towards me was very different. This is important because well for starters there is this idea that you cannot trust a man in a beard. If you think about it the policeman, the military men, and many people in positions of power do not sport beards.
I will quote from a memoire I read at a bookstore, it was from Craig Ferguson’s American on Purpose
I think its significant this generalizations about beards. When You sport a beard it is an act of rebellion, rebellion against the social norm. I think its a precursor to internal change and a period of self evaluation. You all remember Conan O’Brien and that tonight show fiasco ?
Side Note: Ok So I lied, I wasn’t that lazy after all
Tsar Peter I (or Peter the Great) wanted Russian men to look more like others in western society. At that time, in the 17th-18th century, men in Western Europe and the Americas were removing their beards and mustaches and opting for a different style of dress. First the tsar insisted that men wear European dress at court events; then, he began to order court subjects and townspeople to dress in European style. Within a few years he imposed a tax on beards. Clergymen were exempt from the tax, but everyone else had to pay for the right to wear beards.