B eard envy
This year is coming to an end and for many enthusiasts it comes with a fresh crop of facial hair. November is dubbed "Movember" in celebration of the "Mo" and this, in some mysterious way, relates to the research of an organ found in close proximity to the sphincter found at the end of one's digestive tract. Conveniently located on the heels of Movember is what has become known as Decembeard, and if that isn't enough there's always Januhairy to license facial gardens of all kinds. What might escape the eyes of the media however is the plight of the significant portion of the population that cannot grow facial hair; be it by some genetic affliction or by the prohibitive and horrific costs that are paid in the attempt. I say significant because, of course, this portion of the population includes myself.
Beard Envy is a satirical photo essay by Josh Laverty. All images and text are copyright its original creator. For licensing purposes contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Living in Muskoka, It is a common sight to meet a wood enthusiast on the street, or in a store. These manic man-beards emanate the sheer manliness of their follicular superiority. Unkempt and wild, they are mere steps away from full hair-lightenment.
Less common, but no less influential is the untamed bear-faced hunter/youth pastor type. Wearing many hats, but always in a toque, these beards are at home in the forest and the city alike. p.4
Being a ginger myself, it is especially euphoric inducing to see follicular fullness taking place on the face of a man with similar colouring. p.5
Members of the bearded population are quick to disparage the collection of man glitter in their beards, but others would sacrifice or pay a great price to gain this accessory.
Beards are often associated with joy and wisdom. Consider the pondering man of thought, who runs his fingers through his beard in contemplative motions and can anyone refute the jolly St Nicholas who brings joy to children around the world? For others, it is the patchiness of uneven facial hair, or the pain of ingrown hairs and hives that stand in the way of such things.
Men with beards are perceived as being more attractive, more wise, more powerful and more mature. Having a beard even makes you more likely to win a staring contest. It follows that pogonolocial envy would result.
Probably the single largest contributor to my envy is in the number of genuinely honestto-goodnes great people I know in my life who have had great facial hair.
My uncle for example, who has perfected the scruff level that irritates my own skin enough to prove an impassable barrier to the full bearded state. p.11
Or my father, who is not only a master carpenter, but is literally Santa Clause; not just to our family, but professionally speaking at some of the busiest malls in Ontario. He's set the standard so very high, what point is there in trying?
The next time you see a beard, remember the plight of the beardless; the follicle failures have a heart too. We can be jolly, wise and mature, even if our faces say otherwise.
Josh Laverty (above) is a photographer and author based in Muskoka Ontario. His beardless face has been behind a camera for more than 20 years, photographing people, product and events.
Many thanks to the men on the previous pages; in this order of appearance: David Guyatt, Tyler Ellis, Marshall Burnham, Orville Holness and Rick Laverty