• Sweden's news in English
 

Move over Conchita, the beard is dead

Published: 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
Sweden builds future as EU construction falls
Sweden's Prime Minister (centre) and Green Party co-leader Åsa Romsen. Photo:TT

Sweden builds future as EU construction falls

The building industry in Sweden is experiencing a boom as the country's housing crisis continues, bucking the trend for a dip in construction across the EU. READ  

No charges after 'attack' at Swedish rail station
A screenshot of the controversial incident from YouTube.

No charges after 'attack' at Swedish rail station

Two police security guards filmed having a controversial altercation with a refugee child at Malmö train station in southern Sweden in February will not face charges. READ  

Migrant boat tragedy
'Swedes will compare this to the Holocaust'
Swedish MEP Cecilia Wikström. Photo: TT

'Swedes will compare this to the Holocaust'

A Swedish MEP is stepping up a pan-European cross-party campaign for "legal and safe routes to Europe" for migrants in the wake of the latest Mediterranean boat disaster. Cecilia Wikström, has told The Local that EU member states are currently doing so little to help guarantee safe passage that future generations will compare their actions to Sweden "turning a blind eye" to the Holocaust. READ  

Swedish streaker strikes at Skellefteå wedding
A different streaker in Sydney in 2008. Photo: Rob Griffith/TT

Swedish streaker strikes at Skellefteå wedding

UPDATED: A man in his forties ran naked into a wedding ceremony in Skellefteå in northern Sweden over the weekend, following a bet with the groom. The officiant at the wedding has bared all to The Local. READ  

Swedish baby groups help immigrant parents
Parenthood in a foreign country can feel lonely. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish baby groups help immigrant parents

Sweden has just been rated the top place in the world for expats to raise families, as The Local reported last week. But there is a flip side and immigrant parents often report feeling isolated from their native neighbours, so some Swedes are helping to break the ice. READ  

Sunshine should stay across Sweden all week
Blue skies in Hornstull, Stockholm this weekend. Photo: The Local

Sunshine should stay across Sweden all week

Dig out your sunglasses. This weekend's warm weather is set to stick around in the coming days, with some parts of Sweden reaching 20C. READ  

US student sues Swedish college for tuition fees
Students studying in Sweden. Photo: Magnus Liam Karlsson/imagebank.sweden.se

US student sues Swedish college for tuition fees

An American mathematics student has sued a Swedish university for rejecting her calls to repay tuition fees after she slammed course organizers for low quality of teaching and such poor logistics that students had to sit on the floor. READ  

My Swedish Career
'Cultural events aren't as common as you expect'
Laura Pertuy preparing leaflets for the French Film Festival. Photo: The Local

'Cultural events aren't as common as you expect'

Parisian Laura Pertuy, 27, helped relaunch Stockholm's French Film Festival this month and is hoping to forge closer links between the two European countries closest to her heart as she embarks on a new life in Sweden. READ  

Migrant boat tragedy
Refugees in Sweden fear for families lost at sea
Italian coastguard officers on Monday. Photo: Lino Azzopardi/TT

Refugees in Sweden fear for families lost at sea

UPDATED: As around 700 refugees remain missing after this weekend's shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea, devastated relatives in Sweden have told of their anxious wait to find out if their loved ones are dead or alive. READ  

Full refuges reject five battered women a day
File photo: TT

Full refuges reject five battered women a day

Women's shelters in Sweden remain under pressure with a new report indicating that five women a day were turned away in 2014 due to over-crowding. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching: April 18th
National
Syria claims ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders are Scandinavian
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
"You may only do something once, but do it 100%"
National
Swedish researchers pore over link between coffee and cancer
Features
What you can buy in Sweden for the price of a London shed
Blog updates

17 April

Editor’s blog, April 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, After several days of social media buzz about an upcoming announcement from Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus,..." READ »

 

15 April

Gång, timme, tid & dags (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! In this article I will talk about “gång”, “timmar”, “dags” and “tid”, because they all translate..." READ »

 
 
 
National
What's on in Sweden this week
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sexiness?
National
Swedes launch first donut into space
Politics
Is Sweden returning to 1990s social democratic welfare politics?
National
Mamma Mia! Abba entertainment venue set to open in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: April 15th
National
Why Sweden is top place in the world for expats to raise children
National
Swedish 'submarine' was civilian boat
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
National
Why has a US town got pulled into a Swedish spelling row?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hovås, Gothenburg
National
What does Zlatan think of his ban?
Sponsored Article
Does far-north Sweden have to punch above its weight?
National
Swedish teenagers help rebuild Breivik massacre island
National
Would you live in a steel box?
National
How an act of kindness by one Syrian immigrant went viral
Gallery
People-watching: April 8th
National
Swedish bids for Billboard fame
National
Swedish monkeys denied Saudi visas
National
Sunny spring weather predicted
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
National
Half of Swedes want begging ban
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Why are expats less likely to settle down with Swedes?
Sport
What does Sweden think of Zlatan's recent outburst?
Society
Get to grips with Sweden's most bizarre Easter traditions
Gallery
People-watching: April 1st
National
The Local's best April Fools' gags
National
US spy agency to feature in new 'Stieg Larsson' book sequel
National
Beaver bite at Swedish bus stop
Gallery
Property of the week: Åreda
National
How this Syrian travelled to Sweden
Was Swedish TV host too harsh on nationalist leader Åkesson?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Scandinavian airlines change cockpit rules after Germanwings crash
National
Sweden remembers Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer
Politics
Why petrol prices are going up
Gallery
People-watching: March 28th
Stieg Larsson's partner blasts Millennium trilogy sequel
Society
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Gallery
People-watching: March 25th
National
Which words are changing in Sweden's latest dictionary?
National
Is this house 'un-Swedish'?
National
Sweden pays tribute to victims of Germanwings Alps crash
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
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

3,351
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se