If you are following me on Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter you would have seen a post I made about two months ago saying that I am blade shaving my beard for the first time in over a year! No I didn’t have an extremely long beard, I just kept it within limits, and it sometimes did cross the limits for a few days before I had it under control again. But never with razor blade, never soft shaving! It’s been the same way for years actually (and in 2012 I shaved it because my sister asked me to do so for her wedding…)
Anyway, the reason I did it in 2013 was different, I wasn’t going to another wedding and the bride asked me to do it…I was scared.
You see, in Egypt, apart from lots of regular people having beards for various reasons, a beard is usually mistakenly related with being an Islamist, in the old days it was commonly known that if you have a beard, you are one of the Muslim Brotherhood, and lately people even learned to differentiate between Salafi people (those who follow the exact Sunna – practices – of the prophet Mohammed) and Muslim Brotherhood people by the availability of a mustache or not!
I had to go back by bus from Sharm back to Cairo, a road that is, in a normal day, packed with at least 6 military check points, and one or the other always has to question me, apparently I don’t look so nice to them. And when was I going back this time? It was a few days after the military had disengaged the Rabia sit-ins and protests. There was a curfew* from 7pm till 6 am, and the legend had it that if the army sees me with a beard they’ll give me a hard time. Let alone if I unluckily pass through one of the demonstrations, if it is anti-brotherhood then I’ll get a good beating, if it is pro-brotherhood then I’ll be expected to join, refuse, get a good beating.
*Curfew: Unlike parental curfew, a military curfew is when no one is allowed to be on the streets at night during curfew hours, and if you were you either have a strong reason, or you could go to jail. Military jail. With lots of military check points, police and military cruising around the streets to make sure everyone is home.
I shaved my beard! For those annoying reasons, which don’t really make sense to me, I did!
Two months later I am now in England, and I can’t help but notice how “trendy” it is to have a beard. From a well trimmed beard to a long, hairy one! Some remove their mustache as well (salafi? are you??) I wonder if any of those people have ever imagined that in another part of the world they could be being questioned by the police and/or random people on the street for just having that beard!
I know it is wrong, and everyone is supposed to be free to have whatever facial hair (and anything else) they wish. But I couldn’t help but think of it, having went through it myself! Talking with Giulia from Travel Reportage she also had this funny thought that “what if Salafi people knew they are fashionable in the land of infidels and non-believers!”
What do you thing of beards? Are they fashionable and trendy? If you are a male, do you keep one? Ladies, do you like men with beards?