Genghis Khan, Erik The Red, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Santa Claus… What do they have in common (besides an uncompromising will to conquer the farthest reaches of Earth)? Ice beards!
Throughout history, men of power, courage, conviction and a shameless disregard for personal appearance have braved harsh winter climates with a devil-may-care attitude. These men of renowned aplomb quite literally spit into the wind. And sneeze. And drool.
With Movember drawing to a close and the snowy promises of the holiday stretch revving up, it’s high time to prepare for the ice-beards’ arrival. We’re here to help you make the most of this scraggly season, whether you’re cultivating your own icy mane or just curious how to confront the slushy stubble (do NOT touch it!).
History Of The Ice Beard
It is no coincidence that men of the furry, frozen visage are celebrated across ages — with a great beard comes great responsibility. I know what you’re saying, Genghis Khan is not celebrated — nor should he be. He was ruthless, maniacal and generally a pretty big downer.
But as a leader of men and conqueror of lands he was second to none. And sure, Erik the Red and the vikings who followed were often equally unsavory; but their brutish, fearless indifference toward hardship or opposition epitomizes what it is to be a manly man’s man. (Especially the brutish indifference part.)
And Santa, well… anyone who sneaks into residences and homes across numerous jurisdictions while families sleep is probably wanted for something. But his mighty white winter-beard is as old and grand as time itself.
Even the earliest man (and let’s face it, probably woman), flaunted some primitive version of the modern ice beard, though these early incarnations probably featured a lot more gristly mammoth giblets. And thanks to the Earth’s fluctuating glacial periods, many of these wintry whiskers were year-long fashion trends.
In fact, a robust ice beard may well have been the determining trait in selecting a viable mate. Of course, if everyone is walking around naked with snow on their faces, the dating pool is probably pretty shallow.
Ice Beards In The 21st Century
Not all ice beards are barbarous, however. Today, despite their checkered past, ice beards are jovial relics of a harsh, unforgiving time when grueling battle, relentless adversity, and unsophisticated shaving technology reigned.
They adorn the faces of robust runners and doughty winter cyclists; they’re the calling card of everyday adventurers whose dedication to the outdoors is complimented by a hint of stubborn lunacy. Even the most novice skiers will brandish a five o’clock dusting, assuming they can sprout some basic bristles.
The prevalence of contemporary ice beards is increasing, too, thanks in large part to urban populations’ growing subset of lumbersexuals and hipsters, whose ironic fashion sense currently reveres the cuddly pillager look.
Though many of these potential ice beards go unrealized due to a waning proportion of truly hearty alphas, those who do embrace winter’s kiss will be of the most rugged stock and exemplify those qualities that accompany any great ice beard. Such frosty plumage puts the dating population on notice: AAAHHHH! I HAVE ICE BEARD!!!
Ice Beard Science & Hygiene
Obviously, there’s a lot to be gained by harvesting your own ice beard — connecting with your ancestry, attracting mates, catching mammoth gristle — but there are some serious health considerations to observe before launching a campaign.
First of all, beards can be really gross. They’re like a dragnet for anything and everything that comes out of, bounces off, or falls from your face — skin, spit, boogers, hummus, all of it. A 2015 action-news survey (and subsequent viral Internet display) noted that a man’s beard can contain a slew of bacteria, some of which are also found in fecal matter. (Granted, so do likely many other anatomical areas.)
Now, despite being a super reliable segment on an Albuquerque Action news “study” broadcast, we should all take this with a grain of salt (if there’s none handy, check your beard). There are billions of bacteria on every surface you touch, just because it’s found one place doesn’t mean it’s necessarily dirty or bad bacteria. But the finding is important: your beard is not clean, so clean it once in a while, just as you would any other hair.
Secondly, frozen beards are not cleaner. Studies have confirmed that germs can survive some pretty inhospitable environments, including extreme cold. What’s more, even if your face were 100 percent sanitary, that’s still a bunch of frozen head slush all over your face. When you go inside, it’s all going to thaw and drip somewhere, so be considerate and carry a hanky at all times. Retire to the restroom when you ride to a restaurant, they have health codes to maintain. Feel free to show off your hard-won beard as you walk in, however; it’s impolite to rob the public of a good gander at a glorious frozen goatee.
Grow Your Own Ice Beard!
It is unclear if ice beards imbue strength and dominance, or if they are nourished by them. It’s like a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum, if the chicken could sail a fleet of warships across a frozen sea and the egg rolled around mercilessly crushing lesser civilizations with extreme prejudice. Nonetheless, now is the time to embark upon a hero’s journey, if indeed you have the mettle to showcase a cascade of frozen facial filigree and flurried slaver.
Growing an ice beard is as easy as growing a boring normal beard, just more extreme. Even the slightest stubble will catch the vapor and saliva necessary to create some frosty fuzz. The longer your real whiskers, the heavier and more proud your ice beard. Like icicles from the eve, beardcicles will build upon themselves so long as there’s moisture and a face full of cold.
Some people assume any precipitation caught in facial hair counts as an ice beard — not so! A true ice beard is earned by braving the elements while exercising. If it’s not from your own lungs, it doesn’t count. Like the ice beards of yore, they are earned from equal parts courage and crazy. In life, nothing worth it comes easy.
Now, go forth and get your beards! Winter is coming.