Are You A Pogonologist?

How serious are you about your beard game? You probably have invested time in researching beard products, grooming styles, and beard culture. But, have you studied the history of this bold style we bearded brothers sport? Are you a student of the beard? The origin of the beard is vast and has a significant history. By the end of the blog, will you consider yourself a pogonologist?

You may not have heard of the term pogonology. If you’re wondering, it’s not a term associated with anything sexual or explicit. The term pogonology is the study or wearing of beards. Yes! You read it correctly. There is such a thing as the study of beards. Let’s take a look at the origin of pogonology.

The biologist and naturalist Charles Darwin first hypothesized that the process of sexual selection may have led to beards. Darwin first suggested this evolutionary explanation in his work titled The Descent of Man. Darwin and his evolutionary colleagues concluded that majority females prefer men with beards as opposed to men who don’t. Evolutionary psychology explanations for the existence of beards include signalling sexual maturity and dominance by increasing perceived size of jaws, and clean-shaved faces are rated less dominate than bearded. As a beard enthusiast, this hypothesis sounds great!

Now, let’s take a deeper look into a historical world view of pogonology. There are several different cultures where men wore beards and beards have some level of significance. Here are a few:

  • Lebanon gave great attention to the hair and beard. The beard has mostly a strong resemblance to that affected by the Assyrians, familiar from their sculptures.
  • Mesopotamian men concentrated in great detail to their beards. Oils, tongs, and ring shaped curling irons were used to produce an elaborate tiered pattern to their beards.
  • In Ancient Egypt, the highest ranking men grew hair on their chins, dyed them reddish brown (hennaed), sometimes plaited them with an interwoven golf thread.
  • In Ancient India, beards were grown long and symbolized dignity and wisdom. As punishment for disregarding sexual restraint or adultry, a man’s beard was cut off in public.
  • In China, Confucians believed their body was a gift from one’s parents. They discouraged mutilations of their bodies including not cutting their nails or beards. Professions like farmers and military were allowed to cut their beards.
  • Iranians had an affinity for long beards. Most of their kings wore long beards and their warriors enhanced theirs with jewelry.
  • Ancient Greeks regarded their beards as a sign of dignity, great strength, or a strong sex drive. They cut their beards to signify mourning.

During the early 19th century, a clean shaved face was a sign of nobility and upper class. In the early 20th century, there was a slow decline in growing beards. However, there were some notable men who wore beards like Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, and Abraham Lincoln. Beards begin to become trendy again in the late 20th century and early 21st century. In the 1960’s, beards became popular with the hippies and biker movements. In the 2010’s, the hipster movement created a surge in the bearded look. Beards also have significance in religion and art.

This is just a snapshot of the vast history and significance of the beard. So, wear your beards proudly with style and boldness. Beards have made their mark in history and they are a permanent fixture in subcultures around the world. The next time someone asks you why do you wear your beard and take great detail to groom and style it, tell them you’re a pogonologist.


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