This year some of us who shave have done so a little less often than usual.
Who are we trying to impress right now, right?
But then, that’s the thing about beards and mustaches: sometimes they’re as stylish as it gets, other times they’re out of fashion.
By some accounts, it’s been like that for tens of thousands of years.
Ancient cave paintings show men without facial hair, and it’s thought that they either fashioned low-tech razor blades out of flint, or used clamshells to pluck the hairs out.
Ancient Egyptians shaved, too, though that was less about style than it was about avoiding lice.
Egyptian leaders would then wear false beards as a way to show off their divinity.
Ancient Greece was pro-beard – think of the statues of Zeus, or even Socrates – while Alexander the Great was against them, because a beard was one more thing an enemy soldier could grab onto.
Another factor has been how easily someone can shave: in the 19th century the straight steel razor, the one you’d have to rub on the leather strap before using, was popular, while in the 20th century razors with disposable blades and, eventually, electric razors left the decision to be clean-shaven or bushy up to the individual.
And then there’s this: today in 1945, a woman in Detroit named Violet Arnold applied for a patent called “Method and apparatus for removing hair from the human body.”
Her method: a series of 11 treatments over five weeks where X-rays would go through aluminum plates and water bottles before getting to the hairs, which she said would be permanently taken care of.
I can’t imagine why this didn’t replace the razor.
And before we wrap up for the week, here’s someone who does something to faces that isn’t kind of terrifying.
Hannah Grace is a makeup artist in the UK who has won lots of fans online because she can use makeup to turn herself into an optical illusion. Or into a cartoon character. Or a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. Or even a person with an upside down head!
And no X-rays needed to do it!
The History of Shaving and Beards (Old Farmer’s Almanac)
Shaving with X-rays (Weird Universe)