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HBS Men and Facial Hair.With or Without?

When you get no free alcohol and no real money at the RC Casino Night, you start browsing through the Gucci numbers on the ladies and assessing the synchronized dramatic wholesale improvement in the appearance of the HBS male population. Male grooming and fashion have come a long way with an escalating range of ‘balding management’ styles (as a skydecker I observe it all), longer workouts at Shad, more guys wearing Diesel jeans on campus and more HBS men choosing to wear facial hair as a fashion statement.

With a 70% male population at HBS, I am responding to the need for a male grooming section in The Harbus for the metrosexual, industrious, restless and individualistic HBS male. Since we are talking about the facial hair issue, how important is it for a HBS man to defluff? Is the 5 o’clock shadow sexy or scruffy?

In my current HBS section, I have counted seven men (out of 70) with some variation of prominent facial hair-goatees, birds nests, kempt beards or a full on throttle. You can not ignore the statistics. That is about 10% of my class. On talking to my sectionmates about their choice of facial hair styling, I was as astonished by the diversity of the responses as one usually is with the diversity of the student pool in HBS.

It is time to embark on avant garde beard studies-the distinguished beard styles like Fidel Castro’s bird’s nest, vermicelli number that undermines authority, and Abraham Lincoln’s distinguished design that gave him the assured aura of the President of the US. Coming from a consulting background in London, I can reveal that I only came across five bearded men in my pint-sized career. Four of the five bearded men were partners in the firm making seven figure salaries a year. The fifth was the plumber. So, are bearded men successful deep thinkers (Plato, Freud, Aristotle, Karl Marx), problem makers (Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden), creative contributors (Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Charles Dickens) or are they just plain lazy?

And, why do 10% of male buddies in ND maintain beards? One of my sectionmates is convinced that his “H Bomb” capacity is sufficiently explosive to negate the need for grooming during the next two years. Another mate believes it makes his face look more angular than round. A significant number do it to look more mature. Other HBS men want to exhaust every benefit of being unemployed to include taking time off shaving, among their break from ironing shirts and wearing uniforms. Then, there are others who have a two-day policy. They shave on Friday night before going on a prowl and once again on Sunday night before the start of classes. Further still, another friend is growing a beard as an act of camouflage from the stare of his TOM professor during class.

What do females prefer? Many women fancy Brad Pitt and even Brad Pitt reportedly does not shave when he is holidaying-is this because he already has Angelina? Is he too busy changing Shiloh’s diapers? Or, is his Gillette 5 blade Fusion on vacation when he is on vacation?

While at HBS, you learn to make your point by citing evidence. Therefore, I highly encourage all male students to look at the accompanying poll results. You should gather that goatees can work for you. One of my female HBS colleagues went as far as trying to persuade me that a beard is one of the most natural exfoliants for her face. She is leading the cause for guys with beards. Accordingly, I am positive there are many other facial hair enthusiasts at HBS waiting to come out of the closet as the term progresses and they realize that shaving is less important that the 3 holy S’s at HBS-Sleeping, Socializing and Shading.

September 18, 2006
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