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Friday, October 15, 2010

Chilean Miners Emerge Clean-Shaven

My wife drew my attention to something today.  It's a seemingly insignificant tidbit of news that would escape all but the most dedicated shaver.  Buried in the stories of the Chilean miners who emerged yesterday from an extended stay in the bowels of the earth.  Of all the things to do before they escaped their rocky tomb, before they greeted their children, wives and in one case, mistresses, they took the time to shave.

Of all the things to do...why shave?

I have not yet read any reports of why the great majority of these brave men took the time to remove their whiskers, but I suspect it further evidence of just how deeply ingrained shaving is in so many of the world's cultures.  There are writings that go back centuries that comment specifically upon this singular act of male grooming.  To be clean shaven was a status symbol - a statement.  It placed you among the very best of men.

My guess (and it is only a guess), is that they wanted to show that men can endure weeks of captivity, hunger, thirst and boredom without losing their civility.  For them, I believe it was a matter of personal dignity.

So perhaps, it wasn't such a small thing after all.  It is nice to have such men back.

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