The Beard.

A man without a beard is like a lion without a mane. Inside every clean-shaven man there is a beard screaming to be let out.  The function of manes in lions has been long debated since the time of Darwin, but it’s really just about appearances. Lions grow manes for the same reason most men grow beards. It’s not just ornamentation, it’s a sign of maturity, virility and health.  The size and density of the mane can help a lion appear larger, more threatening and warns away possible opponents. A healthy mane suggests a body flooded with testosterone causing all the lady lions to swoon and it intimidates and scares off any other potential suitors (Blanchard, 2010). Like the lion’s mane, a mans beards, similar to my own, are widely assumed to fulfil a similar role of providing a visual aid to identification of gender at a glance, its  associated with social dominance and it enhances attractiveness to potential mates. Those incapable of growing beards  tend to be bitter and may be quick to point out that ninety eight per cent of the Forbes 100 richest men are clean shaven.  But it is my opinion that ninety eight percent of the world’s most interesting men have beards, and a well grown beard can transform a pasty featureless face into one of a rugged manly hunk (Dixson & Brooks, 2013).For the past few years a number of predictions have declared that beards are dying – “Sorry guys, beards are over”…….. “Beards Aren’t Cool Anymore”.the beardIn reality this is merely the attempt of those suffering “beard envy” to sneer at the handsome lush growth us beard wearers have achieved. Their own attempt has usually resulted in a wispy embarrassing attempt, and they are destined to have to continue one of mankind’s most tedious daily tasks – shaving, whilst accepting men with beards are better.

The power of beards may go much further than merely making the grower more attractive. It may improve sporting performance because there appears to be something behind the beard that makes an athlete feel more confident in their performance. In 2013 a Californian company, West Coast Shaving, analysed the performance of six of the best quarterbacks playing within the NFL. The company compared the quarterbacks’ performance clean shaven to their performance with a beard. Whether it’s because facial hair kept their chins warmer during chilly North American winter games or it made them feel more manly and powerful, the results didn’t lie – every single quarterback on the list played better with a beard as opposed to clean shaven. The beard has made a major impact in the world of sports. There appears to be something magical in it that brings out the best in some athletes. But will it make you run faster, who knows?? But grow a beard, test it and respect it, remembering if you can grow a beard you should always show pity to those poor men who can’t.


Blanchard DC. (2010). Of Lion Manes and Human Beards: Some Unusual Effects of the Interaction between Aggression and Sociality. Front Behav Neurosci 3, 45.


Dixson BJ & Brooks RC. (2013). The role of facial hair in women’s perceptions of men’s attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities. Evolution and Human Behavior 34, 236-241.



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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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