Why the sudden growth spurt? The blustery weather — and brutal job market — are certainly part of it. But Paul Roof, assistant professor of sociology at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina, says there are other issues at play.
“For some it’s a trend, but for others it’s a way of life and simply self-expression,” he says. “At the heart of the revival, I think, is the ‘reclaiming of masculinity.’ Beards are a direct backlash against metrosexuality and the feminization of modern man. But beards are also the only accessory route that men have — the only way men can change their looks.”