• Sweden edition
 
Opinion
Move over Conchita, the beard is dead
Austria's Eurovision entrant and beard embracer Conchita Wurst. Photo: AP

Move over Conchita, the beard is dead

Published: 12 May 2014 12:18 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 May 2014 12:18 GMT+02:00

 
If there’s one word on, over and around everyone’s lips right now, it’s "beard". You couldn’t open your eyes over the last few weeks without seeing a certain bearded gent/lady beaming at you from inside a skin-tight sequined dress. And now, after Conchita Wurst’s dramatic Eurovison victory, we’re sure to be seeing her beard/mascara combo on our screens for a good while longer.
 
Conchita, however, might be too late, because all across Europe, a great change is already underway. Borders are being redrawn, priorities reshuffled, and long-held beliefs are being tossed out like baby-flavoured bathwater. What appeared impossible has finally come to pass, and no amount of Eurovison sequins can halt it. Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, we have finally reached Peak Beard.
 
Yes, it seems that ridiculously expansive facial hair is on its way out. After five years of watching young men morph into feral lumberjacks, making Stockholm look as if a massed invasion by 1970s folk bands were underway, the beard is finally past its cool-by date. The signs are everywhere. Dapper men are sporting twirly moustaches. Youthful TV presenters are clean-shaven as altar boys. Footballers are no longer slathered in scrubland as they tell us how well/badly it went and why. And fashion posters for fancy shops are now awash with fully-bearded men, allowing us to see how daft they look and how mainstream and sell-out it’s all become.
 
But the death-knell, the thing that beats the nail firmly into its hairy coffin, is that cool New-Yorkers are no longer sprouting surreal amounts of facial hair. And when cool people in New York no longer do something, trend-slavish Stockholmers are obliged to drop that same thing and run screaming from it, like cartoon ducks being pursued by a cloud of angry, pointy-assed bees. Off they go, any second now.
 
I remember, a few years back, when the Stockholm beard supernova ignited. I had returned to work after the summer holidays and for a while I was sure I’d wandered into an Amish horse market. Bearded men suddenly outnumbered the bare-chinned four to one. I sat through meetings where I was the only un-bearded man in the room. And stepping outside, I found you couldn’t cross a street in Stockholm without seeing men with facial hair reaching down to their nipples. They wandered Södermalm in herds, each hairy chin construction more daft and convoluted than the next. They whizzed by on their fixed-gear bikes and served us in trendy bars and cafes, with their smug beanies and arms engraved with tattoo doodles, all looking as if they owned the world and would do so for ever and ever and ever.
 
But they didn’t. The cruel wheel of fashion turned and now beards, at least beards on young men, have become sad. All over this town for the next few months you will hear the long scissors coming out, and after this summer the men of my office will slink back to work, all smooth and clean-shaven, and pretend that nothing has happened. There will be nods of silent agreement to never discuss the hairy mania of the last five years. It will have been a dream, a bristled Bobby Ewing stumbling, pasty and naked, from the shower. “Beards?” their quizzical looks will say. “What beards?”
 
And now, as the age of the beard limps to a close, it feels like a gesture of some kind is required. So I say let’s collect all the tonnes of facial hair that will tumble to bathroom floors around Stockholm over the next few months — every wiry curl, every fluffy ball of ginger and black — and use it to make a suitable monument. A great tangled beard it will be, fat and full and five metres high, with a pair of unfeasibly large black-rimmed glasses perched ironically on top.
 
And when that’s done, let’s go back to how it was, where people could wear beards because they want to, and not just as an ironic fashion accessory. Conchita Wurst may indeed have missed Peak Beard, but I prefer to see her as the vanguard of a new age, an age when people, male or female alike, can again bristle up and display their whiskers with the non-ironic pride they deserve.
 
The Beard™ is dead. So long live the beard.
 
Paddy moved to Sweden for love and stayed on for the pickled fish. He is a member of the Stockholm Writers’ Group

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

Neo-Nazi attacks
Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian
Police intervene after neo-Nazis attack an anti-Nazi rally in Kärrtorp, December 2013. Photo: Hampus Andersson/TT

Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian

A Stockholm court has cleared three neo-Nazis of stabbing a Nigerian man in an unprovoked attack. But two of the men will face jail after they were convicted of racial agitation at a riot. READ  

Julian Assange
Assange court ruling expected on Monday
Julian Assange at Ecuador's embassy in the UK. Photo: Anthony Devlin

Assange court ruling expected on Monday

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can expect the next court ruling on his case to take place on Monday October 27th in Stockholm. READ  

Politics
Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at an EU summit in Brussels this week. Photo: TT

Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'

Sweden is set to get 1.2 billion kronor ($168 million) back from the EU on December 1st, according to leaked EU documents which suggest that other European countries will have to make large top-up payments this year. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

979
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN