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I am a localization manager, blogger and translator/proof-reader living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, intercultural communication, diversity, dancing and good movies.  

Interested in intercultural communication and/or diversity management? In the mood for a Tandem-partner or looking for someone willing to learn Danish or Swedish with you? Desperately seeking an enthusiastic dance partner for ballroom dance or swing?

Just drop me a line for a coffee. I am always willing to get to know interesting and fascinating people.
=)
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hips don't lie, beards do. And people do it as well, sometimes - Part I

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life’s about creating yourself.
George Bernard Shaw [1856-1950]

The first bearded man in my life was Mr. Cookies. 
He was neither a least famous bearded cousin of Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar nor the older brother of the Gingerbread man.

[Gingy, the cute and valiant Gingerbread man of the Shrek series
No close relation with Mr. Cookies.
Well, at least not as far as I know. One never knows]

He was the bearded neighbour living on the first floor of my apartment building when I was a child. A quiet and peaceful man a little bit overweight, probably in his forties, married with a blond enchanting nice woman, he was always kind, smiling and funny to talk to. 

I have never been religious, not even as a child, but Mr. Cookies - this was his real last name, only translated into Italian, of course - was to me the closest thing to Santa Claus, that I had ever seen in real life so far. And probably also afterwards.
So a bearded man was for me so far someone somehow friendly and helpful and such, but for sure not attractive or sexy. And not only because as a child I had not yet very clear in my mind what sex appeal or sexyness should be.

Then it was the turn of Candy Candy, of course. Or, to put it better, of Uncle Albert aka William Albert Ardley, a young intelligent, talented (and rich) man, hipster ante litteram, busy while traveling the world with sunglasses, casual clothes and of course... a long blond beard.


So here we are, with just another bearded man: someone interesting, good-hearted and ready to protect our little Candy, but for sure not a possible partner for her. He was Uncle Albert, after all! 

[Spoiler: Uncle Albert or... Uncle William?!
It doesn't matter: both are bearded men, after all]

Once again, a bearded man was not really material for relationships. Until he shaved his long blond beard and became suddenly the perfect match for our brave leading lady.

[Uncle Albert without the beard:
Young, blond, rich, elegant and handsome.
Where can I buy one, please?]

So far, so good, even without quoting Anne of Green Gables, Mademoiselle Anne or The Rose of Versailles. As easy as pie... and yet things got a little bit complicated and... intercultural.

Because after spending my childhood watching Japanese anime, reading Japanese manga and other interesting stuff, at some point I started to learn history at school, and I discovered that the clean-shaven Romans, during the Roman Empire, willing to differentiate themselves from the Greeks, that considered a well groomed beard an indicator of wisdom, experience and virility, started to use the Greek word "barbarian" (literally, someone who doesn't speak Greek, or metaphorically someone who doesn't speak well) in a different way.

"Barbarians" became the word for addressing in a pejorative way everyone that was not-Roman, and above all tribes and civilizations speaking other languages and having different customs and traditions like Germanics, Celts, Iberians, Thracians and Parthians, defined as rude, brutal, rough, cruel, numb, wild and violent, in comparison to the "civilized" Romans themselves.

The ancient Roman army was devastatingly effective against Barbarian warriors. One on one, Roman legionnaires were strong and well trained, but not necessarily stronger than their enemies. Their world-dominating success came from their performance as a team, where each individual would willingly give his life to save his cohorts. They would march in step, shoulder-to-shoulder in a phalanx into hordes of running, screaming, mace-brandishing soldiers, each knowing he may die a painful death, but taking that risk for the greater good.
Kevin Gibbons

Diversity is just as old as the world itself, and so in the "good ol' times" being a foreigner meant automatically being barbarous, uncultured, uncivilized. And... in most cases, proud of showing long beards and/or spectacular moustaches.

[Arminius says goodbye to Thusnelda (1884)
painting by Johannes Gehrts [1855-1921]
What a wonderful huge blond beard!?]

And in the end...
Like almost one third of the female Western population of the last century, as a young woman I just fell in love with Cary Grant. His worship, the cinematic handsome bachelor par excellence. Yes. Yes, I confirm. About fifty years before George Clooney, there was Cary Grant.

Elegant, charming, British, funny, intelligent, sharp and always so perfect that Archibald Leach - this was actually the real name of Cary Grant - was used to say: "Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant". In almost every movie he starred in, Cary Grant was well-educated, well-dressed, well-groomed and... shaven.

Cary Grant would display a beard only during a war, a natural disaster, an international crisis. Or during the first part of a romantic comedy while playing the grumpy and talented guy willing to hide his awesomeness and yet, sooner or later, ready to shave his unmistakable face and to show his sex appeal in order to conquer the main lady.
We are not talking about just some girl next door, but about great girls like Deborah Kerr, Katharine Hepburn, Leslie Caron, Audrey Hepburn...
And they lived happily ever after. Of course.

[No matter what, Cary Grant (born Archibald Alexander Leach, 1904-1986)
would always shave his face!]

Probably also because of all these reasons, that unconsciously conspire against the situation, I am not that into beards.
Please, don't get me wrong: the well-groomed three-days stubble celebrated in the funny song "3-Tage-Bart" by the German band Die Ärzte is ok, but those neverending hipster beards? Not really my cup of tea. Nope.

Die Accessoires sind schon perfekt
Doch eins hast du noch nicht gecheckt
Die glatte Haut dort im Gesicht
Nein, darauf stehn die Frauen nicht
Keine Frage, dir fehlt der 3-Tage-Bart

Die Ärzte, 3-Tage-Bart
(Le Frisur, 1996)

And yes. I said it. I used the word "hipster". I had no choice.
Berlin is "poor, but sexy". Everybody knows it.
And yet Berlin is also the capital of techno music, they say. Berlin is the capital of cool. Berlin is the capital of parties. Berlin is the capital of... beards, I would like to add.
Yes, indeed. As the real ultimate European hipster metropolis, Berlin is a place where about 50% or even more of the male adult population is wearing a beard. A hipster one.

[Hipster beards?
Nope, they don't look like Ryan Gosling's beard]

But wait a minute... What has a hipster beard with hips and with lies to do?
Stay tuned for that... You will discover it in Part II of this post!

This one is for Juan.
Thanks a lot, for everything.

Previous posts:
Mood: No Regrets - Part I, Feat. Katharine Hepburn
Quick and dirty, Feat. Audrey Hepburn
Who could be the new Doris Day? Or do we still have a "Girl next door", after all?

Tags: Beards, Berlin, Hipster, Lyrics, Quotes, People, Cary Grant, Diversity