Facial Hair in the F&I

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AtlatlMan

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Of course I am well aware the standard habit the Western European world, especially the Anglophone world, was to go about clean shaven in the 18th century. Any else was regarded as uncouth or barbarous. However I am rather attached to my mustache, literally and figuratively, and would rather not part from it. I would also like to put together a frontiersman impression for the F&I period. As I understand it the one cultural exception to a clean face was among the Germans, we're all familiar with those Hessian staches. Now if I built a peronsa around being of German extraction, could I make this stick? Would allow me to actually polish up those wasted college semesters in German language anyway...
 

JB67

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Of course I am well aware the standard habit the Western European world, especially the Anglophone world, was to go about clean shaven in the 18th century. Any else was regarded as uncouth or barbarous. However I am rather attached to my mustache, literally and figuratively, and would rather not part from it. I would also like to put together a frontiersman impression for the F&I period. As I understand it the one cultural exception to a clean face was among the Germans, we're all familiar with those Hessian staches. Now if I built a peronsa around being of German extraction, could I make this stick? Would allow me to actually polish up those wasted college semesters in German language anyway...
Waldoboro, Maine, had a number of German immigrants around the time of the F&I War, and sits right on the frontier.

The Wikipedia page: Waldoboro, Maine

Later, you could enlist in the Continental Army and serve as a translator.

I had a moustache I was fond of, too. Probably had it close to 20 years. Then I wanted to get into historical reenacting. The group I found wasn't particular about it, but I decided I wanted to be as accurate as I could, so I got brave and shaved it off. On the plus side, it had turned so gray I think I look 10 years younger now!
 
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I wear a beard, they were rare but not unknown back then. But….. I wear glasses, and bifocals at that before Ben got around to inventing them, known but rare. I may soon get hearing aid, I’m not getting an ear trumpet.
I have non slip soles on my shoes.
And my camp is full of authentic style stuff but far more than a traveling guy would have had… and I travel lite.
So many are clean shaven today it won’t look bad in your daily life, but are you going to grew a que? Or shave your head and wear a wig?
We are just old guys playing cowboys and Indians. Go as HC as you feel, but don’t apologize if your Apple pie is made with Granny Smith apples.
 
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Well, actually, yes. Already there.
😊 well I do too
Now of note, I have an early nineteenth century kit, and do early Santa Fe trail period, Missouri frontier period. Too old to be a Mountain man.
But.
French Revolution put an end to pony tails. So even in the uK and Anglo dominated America by 1790 hair was usually not pass the top of the shoulders, often shorter and worn loose. But I’m not cutting of my pony tail when I change centuries
 

Brokennock

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Of course I am well aware the standard habit the Western European world, especially the Anglophone world, was to go about clean shaven in the 18th century. Any else was regarded as uncouth or barbarous. However I am rather attached to my mustache, literally and figuratively, and would rather not part from it. I would also like to put together a frontiersman impression for the F&I period. As I understand it the one cultural exception to a clean face was among the Germans, we're all familiar with those Hessian staches. Now if I built a peronsa around being of German extraction, could I make this stick? Would allow me to actually polish up those wasted college semesters in German language anyway...
My understanding is that even for those of German extraction, the mustache was a military thing, hence the Hessian examples often cited.
And also why the Amish eschewed the mustache.
 
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Some paintings
Poor guys for sure
135815E6-2C9E-4C20-9B76-6A08ADAEB267.png
75E52344-7AD0-442D-96F7-3D09E96E4DE3.png
1FAA4856-19D3-41CA-BE44-B2FEEC0E7008.png
4F9BA8F4-CB7E-41C7-9E96-360F87BCB231.png
 

Brokennock

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Great paintings, thankyou.
But, where were they painted?
If painted in Europe, especially in countries not heavily represented in the American colonies,,, it might be a false lead.
Also, if painted in cities of poor folks, such as the beggars, it might not be a good representation of folks of even slightly higher economic status or people of that status more likely to spend time outdoors in the woods and fields. Farmers, firewood gatherers, surveyors, etc.
Facial hair is a great place to accumulate dirt and vermin when spending time in the woods and fields. I know I have not had a tick on my face since I shaved my beard and maintain it shaved clean or at a stubble level of clippers with no guard. Prior to this it was not uncommon to feel one moving through my facial hair hours after coming home from hunting,,, especially after pheasant hunting.
Poor folks of begging status probably didn't have much choice in the matter.
On a related side note, food for thought regarding this. Have folks seen the videos of barbers/male hair stylists who go out and give free haircuts and shaves to homeless men? Notice how good it makes those men feel?
A clean well cared for beard or mustache is no bother,,,, but how does it feel after a month or more without washing or grooming?
 
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Great paintings, thankyou.
But, where were they painted?
If painted in Europe, especially in countries not heavily represented in the American colonies,,, it might be a false lead.
Also, if painted in cities of poor folks, such as the beggars, it might not be a good representation of folks of even slightly higher economic status or people of that status more likely to spend time outdoors in the woods and fields. Farmers, firewood gatherers, surveyors, etc.
Facial hair is a great place to accumulate dirt and vermin when spending time in the woods and fields. I know I have not had a tick on my face since I shaved my beard and maintain it shaved clean or at a stubble level of clippers with no guard. Prior to this it was not uncommon to feel one moving through my facial hair hours after coming home from hunting,,, especially after pheasant hunting.
Poor folks of begging status probably didn't have much choice in the matter.
On a related side note, food for thought regarding this. Have folks seen the videos of barbers/male hair stylists who go out and give free haircuts and shaves to homeless men? Notice how good it makes those men feel?
A clean well cared for beard or mustache is no bother,,,, but how does it feel after a month or more without washing or grooming?
Unfortunately.
Paintings aren’t photos, and it’s easy to find facial hair before 1700 when it was in style.
With rare exceptions people stayed in style, and shaved, at-least a few times a week,
It’s interesting that few men shaved themselves if a barber was handy, this right up to tie invention of safety razors. Shaving yourself was akin to cutting your own hair.
Razors do make it on your o the list of goods and taken to trading post and rendezvous
The flip side of a European painting of bearded poor not being applicable to America is that painters painted for an audience. And could spiff up their subjects.
I found one painting of a group of sailors about 1790. Half were in trousers half in breeches. There was a mild mix of hats, and slim to er ah robust was seen.
All were clean shaved, in fact clean shaved was the norm for men in paintings across the board.
However a fellow in town might only see the barber a few times a week, and sailors or soldiers were routinely shaved twice a week. The barber worked ‘full time’ so we can think of him doing about 1/3 of the men per day.
So inspite of the paintings showing clean faces 2/3 of the men would have a pretty pronounced ‘five o-clock shadow’.
Unfortunately, no matter what reasonable argument, and all the ‘they must have done’ painting and written is all we got. And all we got say beards or just mustache just would have stood out like a sore thumb.
It’s hard for us in this ‘do your own thang’ world to appreciate social pressure back then.
Still, I ain’t shaving every time I go to an event, though I will freely tell anyone it’s out of place
 

Brokennock

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Unfortunately.
Paintings aren’t photos, and it’s easy to find facial hair before 1700 when it was in style.
With rare exceptions people stayed in style, and shaved, at-least a few times a week,
It’s interesting that few men shaved themselves if a barber was handy, this right up to tie invention of safety razors. Shaving yourself was akin to cutting your own hair.
Razors do make it on your o the list of goods and taken to trading post and rendezvous
The flip side of a European painting of bearded poor not being applicable to America is that painters painted for an audience. And could spiff up their subjects.
I found one painting of a group of sailors about 1790. Half were in trousers half in breeches. There was a mild mix of hats, and slim to er ah robust was seen.
All were clean shaved, in fact clean shaved was the norm for men in paintings across the board.
However a fellow in town might only see the barber a few times a week, and sailors or soldiers were routinely shaved twice a week. The barber worked ‘full time’ so we can think of him doing about 1/3 of the men per day.
So inspite of the paintings showing clean faces 2/3 of the men would have a pretty pronounced ‘five o-clock shadow’.
Unfortunately, no matter what reasonable argument, and all the ‘they must have done’ painting and written is all we got. And all we got say beards or just mustache just would have stood out like a sore thumb.
It’s hard for us in this ‘do your own thang’ world to appreciate social pressure back then.
Still, I ain’t shaving every time I go to an event, though I will freely tell anyone it’s out of place
All true.
There is a big difference between a few days, or even a week's, growth, and a full beard or serious mustache.
I'm quite sure most men's faces were not shaved Paris Island clean every day, but there isn't a lot of evidence for full beard (except the Amish) or mustache being common or the norm for men in Colonial America.
You are one of the few who will openly and readily acknowledge that something you do, wear, or carry, would have been out of place or outside the norm in the time period being portrayed. Too many instead will make excuses, justifications, and elaborate back stories to force their oddity of the period into use.
 
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We all do stuff that’s not HC, we live in the here and now.
And good arguments just ain’t evidence, and we should be able to admit it
iTHINK the world was a little richer and more varied than what we can prove. But we got to use what we got till Musk or Amazon start selling time machines
 

Loyalist Dave

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Of course I am well aware the standard habit the Western European world, especially the Anglophone world, was to go about clean shaven in the 18th century. Any else was regarded as uncouth or barbarous. However I am rather attached to my mustache, literally and figuratively, and would rather not part from it. I would also like to put together a frontiersman impression for the F&I period. As I understand it the one cultural exception to a clean face was among the Germans, we're all familiar with those Hessian staches. Now if I built a peronsa around being of German extraction, could I make this stick? Would allow me to actually polish up those wasted college semesters in German language anyway...

Well there are pros and cons to artwork...,

PRO..., you have some images of men with mustaches and beards

CON..., those may be of ethnic groups that did not have much if any presence in North America at the time..., ethnic Germans were not united into one nation yet....,

PRO..., cultural bias kept some fashions from influencing the immigrants in some areas. So where you have a good sized ethnic community, they are likely going to keep speaking their mother tongue, and to keep ethnic appearances...,

CON..., while long distance travel was possible, a lot of the communities had a majority of members that stayed put. In fact there were towns as late as 20th century where if you didn't speak the mother-tongue, you likely had a difficult time. Low German, Low Dutch/Flemmish were two of the languages that stayed here in America for a long time since the communities were rather insulated. Makes it hard to be in a location and year and be of "X" group, if that group didn't move about much...., OR if they moved for only a few reasons and your chosen reason isn't one of those.

Here are a group of individuals, the Pope, the soldier, the priest, he farmer and the devil all have facial hair....

GERMANS 18th century.jpg


BUT if you only looked at this piece of art, you'd say NOPE, they were clean shaven like the British, but these are prosperous men from Berlin, not run of the mill Germans....

GERMANS 18th century BERLINERS.jpg


THEN you have Frederick I of Prussia, sporting a nice mustache, but this portrait was in 1701, a half century before the F&I. Still..., if a king does it, and he's not hated by his people, the fashion lives on....

GERMANS 18th century FREDERICK I 1701.jpg


LD
 
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