The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams starred Dan Haggerty, the man who owned The Beard That Kept Its Promise.
I was just a kid, but even then there was something about that beard that inspired a real confidence in truth, justice, and all things awesomely Real Man. Only on the day of Dan’s death did I put it all together.
A few years ago, sporting flat shoes with no personality, sneering at anything un-PC, wearing jeans so skinny I wondered where their hips were and whether or not they even had room between those toothpicks for original equipment, male bartenders in hipster cities began growing massive beards. I had violent emotional and physical reactions against these beards. It would not be overstating it to say I was revolted, and that the revulsion forced me to look away lest I toss my cookies. So, when I ordered, I looked everywhere but at those…those…I don’t know what to call them.
I believe they picked up on my revulsion and reacted passively yet aggressively with very slow service or delivery of wrong food and drinks while saying, “That’s what you ordered”, their sneer implying their utter core contempt of this woman who was not blown away by their awesome beard.
Anyway, when I heard Grizzly Adams died, there it was. Splashed across the news feed was The Beard That Kept Its Promise, and all of the above reaction came into clear focus.
Hipster-bartender beard versus I’m-walkin’-with-mah-grizzly-bhar beard?
Hands down, the second wins. It wins because it isn’t lying to you about what’s underneath. Dan Haggerty may not have been perfect. Heck, he might even have gotten scared in the deep woods without the sound of the city close by, but everybody will tell you this: Under that beard, Dan Haggerty was a real man, and a Real Man. I could see it in his eyes. He was real.
And that, hipster-bartender-beard dudes, is not a bad thing to be. You see, in your eyes I see a demand for others to accept your maleness, and a wish for that acceptance to make it real to you.
Real Men are real men. That knowledge is DNA deep. They don’t need anybody’s stamp of approval to do what Real Men must. Real Men don’t have to grow beards to prove they are a man. They grow beards when and as they want because they like it.