Monday, January 16, 2017


Last week somebody commented that my drawings are not keeping up with the times and that, "if I hadn't noticed, I now have a full beard."


But I' not entirely sure how long it will be around so I didn't want those who only know me from cartoons to be confused by the change ups in drawing.

There seems to be a definite divide among the pro-beards and the anti-beards.  There is a guy who opened a men's shop in Highland Square and he sells his own brand of beard balm.  I told him that my beard seems to be controversial.  Apparently that is a sore spot with him.  "Man!" he exclaimed, "I wish people would just let people look the way the want to look!"

Actually I wasn't complaining I was bragging.  It makes me kind of happy that people care and feel that they have a stake in it.

Generally the divide seems to be about age 45.  Under 45 people tend to really like it.  Over 45 - not so much:
In some ways, having a beard is a ministry - like having a dog.  When I walk Sebastian, people who would normally not talk to me will walk right up to me.  "Hello fella!  How are you!  You are such a good looker!"  They say that to the dog, not me.  But then they notice me and we might have a conversation.  "Oh!  Hi to you also Father.  I've been meaning to talk to a priest . . ."

It also is somewhat of an icebreaker to start a conversation with other men. . .
Growing a beard is one of the last socially acceptable, publicly masculine things to do.  The greatest men of all times have had beards.  In fact, the oldest depiction of St. Sebastian has him sporting a great white beard.  (It was much later that artists started depicting him as a very young man.)  But then there is St. Pio, St Kolbe, St. Nicholas (who you let into your house every year to fill your shoes with candy) and St. Francis.
Then there's St. Peter, and of course Jesus.  (Thanks Rocco.)  The very first pope NOT to have a beard was also the first not be named a saint.  Coincidence?  You decide.

From the "The Bearded Catholic Blog" it is pointed out that C.S. Lewis in his Screwtape Letters wrote this:

"The aim is to guide each sex away from those members of the other with whom spiritually helpful, happy, and fertile marriages are most likely. Thus we have now for many centuries triumphed over nature to the extent of making certain secondary characteristics of the male (such as the beard) disagreeable to nearly all the females - and there is more in that than you might suppose."

For these reasons, Tony Vasinda wrote an article over at the Catholic Beard Balm Co. that "All Catholic Men Eventually Grow Beards."  Read it HERE.
But for the time being, it remains somewhat controversial.  But hey, a guy can dream right?


lgreen515 said...

I am over 45. I love beards and always have. i have never seen my husband without one. And I was most distressed when my son said he was going to shave his beard after vacation. I love your beard and the seminarian's beard. In fact, the seminarian's beard is refulgent. That is all.

Anonymous said...

you might be interested in this story:
He was 'persecuted for wearing a beard', even by his local priest :-)

Pat said...

In my family, my maternal and paternal grandfathers had mustaches. My father and my mother's brothers were all clean-shaven. My husband (whose father was clean-shaven) wears a mustache. My son wears a somewhat longer goatee but no mustache. I was wondering if each generation seeks to do something a little different than what their fathers did.

I also wonder if growing a beard nowadays makes a statement (even if unconsciously) about something that only biological males can do.

Anonymous said...

Hi Fr. V -

My husband is exactly one week younger than me. When we got married at the age of 26, I looked 26. Fred looked like he was 12. This was before he developed his bald spots - one in the usual place, and one where the band of his hard hat rested on the back of his head.

Shortly after we got married, he decided to grow a beard and mustache so he would look more his age, and because he was tired of shaving. And he worked in construction at that time, so he looked more like one of the guys. He kept it neatly trimmed, close to his face.

I thought he looked quite handsome. But we had not anticipated one thing.

After about a week, the skin on my face became painfully chapped.

Fred's beard was coarse, and when he kissed me, it irritated my face. And because we are happily married, we kiss often.

As a celibate, of course, you (and St. Maximilian Kolbe, Padre Pio, St. Nick, my good St. Francis, and other holy bearded men) would not have to consider this. You may even find this funny. Go ahead, laugh. It's okay. My skin may be delicate, but I have developed a thick skin. I can take it. I am sure your beard is splendid.

On the up side, Fred's growing bald spots cancelled the need for his beard since he now looks his age. He started shaving and nicking up his face again 25 years ago, and we are living happily ever after.

Blessings to you and all your bearded brethren - Sue from St. B

Anonymous said...

Last week I was the first to comment on your beard. I think a beard can be very handsome on a person, if it is WELL trimmed. I do not like a beard if it looks like the Amish, a grizzly bear or Duck Dynasty. That is just my opinion, that and a quarter will not get you anything.

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you that I love the beard. Especially with 3 Kings and a Camel in them. Your picture with beard ornaments hangs above my desk. When tasks become overwhelming, I look up, see you with ornaments, and laugh. It's a good tension relief!

Anonymous said...

I like your beard. Personally, I hope you don't listen to your sister. 🙂

Cyndy said...

Okay, fine! Keep your macho lumberjack beard but don't be surprised if I start dropping gyros and souvlaki off whenever I pass the rectory!