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My reader invoked the b-word earlier. We bearded folks have endured such obloquy before. This is how beards were harrassed out of fashion a century ago:

'In the British Library I read an instruction manual for a game called Beaver. The game involves two players pacing the streets, or staying put in a café/on top of a double decker bus – wherever they fancy – spotting bearded folk. The game is scored like lawn tennis, whenever one contender spots a beard they shout Beaver! 15 / love and so on. A double fault occurs when a competitor thinks he sees a bearded man from behind, but when the two come face to face the competitor finds he is mistaken.

The book is full of pictures of different types of ‘beaver’ such as the ‘half beaver’, the ‘santa beaver’, ‘mandarin beaver’ and the ‘nanny beaver,’ which falls from the middle of the chin and must be 2 inches long. Women sporting beards are Queen beavers, which “should be exclaimed sotto voce, in a whisper. The game may have begun in Oxford, in Malta or a place of unknown origin.'

This might not work quite as well in contemporary America. But if one more well-meaning female friend asks me why I'm hiding my face. I'll lose it. I was at dinner with Laura Ingraham the other night, and she recoiled as if a small animal had attached itself to my jaw-line. My mother is pretty much apoplectic about it, but mothers always are. But, hey, I'm no Darwin.

And he didn't use Just For Men, I'm guessing. I'm just not ready for the full Santa yet.

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