Is the rising popularity of the beard a reflection of men's role in society today? Like hemlines rising with the onset of votes for women, full on masculine facial hair is making its own break for freedom and has become a 21st century fashion statement.
Jeremy Paxman has shaved his FILF-y beard 147 days after its debut on Newsnight and, in doing so, lost the admiration of at least a third of the population. As the news broke, hundreds of spoons clattered into cereal bowls and thousands of tongues were burnt by spluttered tea...
Pogonophobia - which translates as an abnormal fear of beards. Granted, they don't suit every face and they loiter on every corner of Hoxton and Shoreditch like suits in Canary Wharf - but they are just the right amount of bohemian for me. Nonconformist, but without the sandals. I am a big fan.
I have grown a beard. The decision came from nowhere although was accompanied by an undertaking to my daughters that I would get an ear pierced. There was therefore a whiff of mid-life crisis in the air that day.
The truth is, beards tend to fascinate people in the Western world. Other cultures have the beard built into their social DNA, but here, in this side of the world, a beard raises a question or two. Especially if you're David Beckham.
I am an Indian living in Britain. I hate shaving. Having never been a creature of habit, I detest the sheer routine of tepid water and lacerated skin. This persistent sanding down of pebbledash on my face; what for? I am content with a bit of beard. Leave me be.