Once as popular as penny farthings, knickers, and artisanal cured meats, hipster beards are finally on their way out of style.
Dr. Alun Withey, noted beardologist, has launched a study into the long history of beards—from 1700 to 1918—and he has said that the imminent lull in facial symbols of virility is nothing new. In fact, it’s part of a larger pattern.
“People have been predicting the fall of [beards] since 2014 and that Peak Beard has been reached,” Dr. Withey said. He pointed to the 2013 Oscars as the moment beards really got the star treatment, as stars like George Clooney and Ben Affleck worked the red carpet like a couple of tuxedo-clad lumberjacks.
Additionally, as the beard becomes more commonplace, data shows that facial hair becomes less sexy.
So what’s next for the beard? We spoke with the beard Jim Carrey wore to the 1999 MTV Movie Awards, who thinks that everything is going to be A-OK for beards.
“It all sounds bad on paper, like there’s going to be some mass shaving frenzy, but we’re going to be all right,” said the beard, who has been living in the lap of luxury since its 1999 debut in the limelight.
“Even if all those hipster kids stop wearing big beards,” the beard added, “there’s always the hockey playoffs—a real big time for beards.” It explained that Hollywood is also a major sustainer of beards amid the ebbs and flows of beard fashion.
“We got all these sequels coming around, some that take place almost 20 years after the first movie. How do you think they’re going to convey the passage of time?” it said. “Hollywood’s been a major job creator for beards. I think we’ll be fine.”
The beard explained that Beards International, the global union for large bodies of facial hair, is banking on tech and business leaders like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Travis Kalanick to pull a Howard Hughes and grow a beard to their knees.
“Think about it. Hughes was basically the Elon Musk of his time, and we have so many of these mad geniuses running around with their ‘big ideas.’ One of them’s bound to crack. And when they do…” the beard trailed off as it started wringing its beard hands.
The 21st-century beard trend exploded after the 1990’s swell of goatees. Most men were afraid to grow full beards after HBO’s Kids in the Hall produced a cautionary sketch about the dangers of not shaving. It was, of course, a joke—but like Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds, it created a large-scale panic. It was only in the mid-’00s that men felt safe growing significant facial hair again.
Beards may be inextricable from the current climate, but they are by no means finished in the next.
“We’ll always be around. And hopefully, now that the pipsqueaks on their tall bikes are into straight-edge razors or whatever, maybe the beard can mean something again,” Carrey’s 1999 beard said. “You know, maybe beards are back!”