Over the past week or so, the Internet has been a-flutter about a troubling bit of (now properly deconstructed) science regarding face shag. According to headlines across the web, beards have been discovered to be covered in poop. Well, microbes found in excrement, but still, beards bristling with poop!
A few days after the study detailing the findings made its rounds, journalists took to taking apart the turd claims, and found the science wonky and incomplete.
The perpetrator of said beard/poop-ocalypse is John Golobic, a microbiologist for Quest Diagnostics, who deemed beards filthy oases of fecal microbes. The New York Post reported Golobic as saying that beards can be brimming with the kind of bacteria known to cause health risks. Needless to say, such bridging between manly face sweaters and the toilet zone caused quite a commotion.
Buzzfeed included a quote by Golobic saying that beards are as “dirty as toilets,” and if Buzzfeed reports something so dire you know the entire Internet will be frantically scrubbing their face or, heaven forbid, shaving.
As said, though, the study, which gathered evidence from beard swabs, was all hype. The Guardian, following the madness back to a New Mexico TV segment, tested the veracity of Golobic’s claims, and found that the number of test subjects was real limited, and the bacteria in question were found in intestines. So, yes, the brand of bacteria found in poop, but also just one of the myriad lil’ organisms found in regular ol’ waste.
Jezebel, enjoying the craziness of the whole event, even reminding readers in their coverage that, beard or no beard, humans are simply lathered in bacteria all the time. According to their article about the new and mostly debunked beardemic, having a beard may lead to one’s skin having a smaller chance of being smothered in antibiotic resistant bacteria, so that’s a possible point for beards. Beard or not, bacteria’s going to shed from your face.
The social aspect of this brief beard fervor was probably the most fun part of the whole news event. For a small window, beards came under attack as disease-ridden monstrosities crawling across faces everywhere. And the bearded web was immediately up in arms. A few Facebook compatriots even posted the article so as to then comment adversely on the research.
Beards are unabashedly and completely vital to any male’s experience. Whether the beard remains for the long haul (lumbersexuals and hipsters are trying to appropriate them for their insidious uses, but beards will outlive such trends) or is shorn after the discovery that one’s face doesn’t take to the bearded lifestyle, it’s still a hair experiment that’s all part of growing into manhood, however that ’hood is defined individually and collectively.
Beards remain a bastion of free will against the tyranny of sexual selection. Shaving should be the choice of the individual sporting the beard; keeping the beard is a form of grit, not filthiness. And if you believe you’re too lazy to shave, that being the only reason the beard persists, that’s your beard telling you, “microbes be damned, I’m the symbol of your glory!” Any body hair, for that matter, carries this awesomeness.
Or, it looks good, and also, it’s just as clean as a shiny, shaved face, so long as you don’t forget to clean the thing. Face scrubbing should be mandatory, or that chin and neck scraggle will work against you, and you wouldn’t want to further the cause of beard detractors, would you?