We welcomed The Aloha Bears last night to kick off LeiBear Day Weekend at their Meet & Greet. Being around the handsome, hunky, bearded and thirsty men made us smile. They'll be sure to enjoy $6 Absolut cocktails today and DJ/VJ Matt tonight at 10PM. Tomorrow, the bears meet up at Bacchus then set sail on a booze cruise (weather permitting) and return to Bacchus for our festival-like beer garden (weather permitting). Will Lester ruin the party? Absolutely not - we've got a back-up plan. Never a cover and always fun!
Beards have long been linked to the ways that men feel about themselves at any given point in time. Whilst we all like to think of ourselves as individuals, wearing a beard – or indeed not – is generally influenced by a number of factors, and involves conscious decisions.
The beard, for example, was once portrayed as an outward symbol of inner male characteristics. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, beliefs in the four bodily humors meant that beards were regarded as a form of bodily waste. In fact, facial hair was seen as the result of heat rising out of the ‘reins’ – the area that included the genitals! To have a thick beard suggested that lots was going on down there and, therefore…
…the beard was considered a reliable marker of virility and sexual potency.
The eighteenth century, by contrast, was almost entirely clean-shaven. For some reason (and it’s not entirely clear why) beards fell dramatically from favor. After decades, centuries perhaps, of beardedness, the new model man was smooth-cheeked and sensuous. This was the age of dandies, fops and massive wigs. It was also the first point in time that men began to shave themselves rather than go to a barber, aided by the invention of new, sharper types of steel razor.
In nineteenth and early-twentieth century military circles, the mustache was a mark of the fighting man. Burly, mustachioed recruits were often placed deliberately at the front of marching columns to instill fear into enemies. In fact, until 1916, British soldiers were required by regulation to wear a mustache, until Sir Neville Macready, who hated his mustache, repealed the order.
The twentieth century also saw beards, mustaches and whiskers become more fleeting and transient. In the 60s beards were a symbol of dropping out from society; by the 70s even the Joy of Sex man had a fulsome crop of facial hair! Celebrity culture has played a part, even since the 1920s, and the internet has almost certainly amplified this. But the emulation of heroes, whether Tudor monarchs or modern day movie stars, has remained a constant motivation.
For gay men, we look to Tom of Finland for fetishizing facial hair. In the 60s Tom was creating characters for his erotic serial stories. In 1968 Tom settled on Kake, a dark-haired, mustached leatherman who often wore a tight white T-shirt bearing the motto “Fucker.” Kake lived up to this moniker, a sort of post-Stonewall, hyper-masculine Johnny Appleseed traveling the world on his motorcycle to spread the seeds of the liberated, mutually satisfying, ecstatically explicit gay sex.Tom lived out many of his most personal fantasies through Kake, and Kake’s international fans made him the template for what came to be known as the gay clone look of the 1970s.
Who knows how long the trend of facial hair will last. We think all men are sexy. Here's a bearded smorgasbord for your eyes.
No matter if you're hairy or smooth, let's celebrate the hirsuit this LeiBear Day Weekend.
Check out thealohabears.com for events scheduled through Monday.