• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swimrun
Record win at Sweden's tough island race
Photo: Jakob Edholm/ÖTILLÖ14

Record win at Sweden's tough island race

Two Swedes crushed last year's course record at the Swimrun world championship in Stockholm's archipelago on Monday. READ  

Sweden reveals Academy Award submission
Swedish director Ruben Östlund on set. Photo. TT

Sweden reveals Academy Award submission

The movie set to represent Sweden at the 2015 Academy Awards was revealed on Monday, a film that has already won awards abroad. READ  

Amphetamines
Hidden forest drug stash leads to prosecution

Hidden forest drug stash leads to prosecution

A 53-year-old man has been prosecuted after police in western Sweden made one of their largest drug seizures in the area. READ  

Man shot dead in hunting accident
Photo: Hunter Desportes/Flickr

Man shot dead in hunting accident

UPDATED: Police in northern Sweden say a man was killed on Monday morning after what they described as a "hunting accident". READ  

Pirate Bay Swede's trial set for final stage

Pirate Bay Swede's trial set for final stage

The mother of Swedish Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has told The Local about her son's "suffering" in jail ahead of the final stages of his trial. READ  

Suspected Ebola case ruled out in Sweden
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Suspected Ebola case ruled out in Sweden

UPDATED: Officials at a Stockholm hospital reported that they had found a suspected case of the Ebola virus on Sunday night. But the case was dismissed on Monday. READ  

Murderer on the loose after breakout

Murderer on the loose after breakout

A 34-year-old man who killed a child is on the run after he broke out of a psychiatric ward in central Sweden. READ  

Skåne floods
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
A Malmö bus under water. Photo: Stig Åke Jönsson/TT

Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods

Flood waters subsided in the southern Sweden region of Skåne on Monday, after flash flooding saw chaos on roads and trains at the weekend. READ  

Elections 2014
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto

UPDATED: Leaders of the Moderate Party, the Centre Party, the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats have announced their complete list of election promises in Stockholm's Nacka. READ  

Zlatan scores hat trick in PSG thrashing
Photo: AP

Zlatan scores hat trick in PSG thrashing

Champions Paris Saint-Germain thumped Saint-Etienne 5-0 as Bordeaux saw their 100 percent record at the start of the Ligue 1 season ended on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Bastia. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Politics
How immigration became a key election issue
Society
Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
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

754
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