Friday, January 30, 2015

An Hairy Man

Taverners like women. Women are fine. Well, many are. We quite approve of chaps too, when they are fine, upstanding fellows. 

There are differences between men and women, despite what the zozchial engineers would have us forced to believe. One only has to see a fine head of hair on a pretty gal to understand that. 

Men with hair like that would raise a few eyebrows, although a few poncy chaps (not at all upstanding) do try to look like women these days. They never seem to quite pull it off though. A proper chap looks like this......

Hair has always featured in both fashion and culture. Whoever saw an ancient 'Hero' without wild hair?  To aspire to Greatness, a chap must be able to grow his hair. In the right places. That is, on his face.
First verse of the fourteenth chapter of the Second Book of Kings: 
'And he said, "Behold, my brother Esau is an hairy man, but I am a smooth man."

A corrupt huirsuit pursuit !  Esau's non-upstanding Bro had the hide to pretend to be hairy; a goat hide !  

Ladies these days are likened unto Topiarists, shaping their hair even in the most out of the way places and even shaving it all off in those places - at the behest of the Gillette razor company. But in ancient days back, beyond 50 years ago, a bushy gal was as sought after as a bushy chap.

Except in the Military

Armies of note throughout history, particulalry in the 'modern era', say, the last 2000 years, have eschewed the hairy face.  Why, I know quite well. You try wearing a helmet and visor with a beard.  The sharp sting of a hair pulled out mid-joust can be a fatal distraction.

In the British Army, beards are a 'Privilege' that has become rare. 
The Only (British) Army Rank Allowed to Have a Beard on Parade
Meet the Pioneer Sergeant, the holder of the only position within the British Army allowed to have a beard when on parade.
Pioneer Sergeants have existed since the 1700s. The tradition began when every British infantry company had one 'pioneer' who would march in front of the regiment.
He would wear a 'stout' apron, which protected his uniform whilst he was performing his duties, and carry an axe to clear the path for anyone following behind.
"Ello, ello, cobber. Where did 'e get that 'at? 
It was also the Pioneer Sergeant's duty to kill horses that had been wounded in battle. He would often have to cut off one of the stricken horse's legs so that its rider could receive a new animal - each had a number branded onto its hoof to prevent false claims, such as if a cavalryman had sold his mount.
Pioneers in those times would also carry a sawback sword, pickaxe, billhooks, shovels, and axes. They were traditionally the largest, strongest and most imposing members of the company.
The pioneer sergeant also acted as the blacksmith for the unit. As a result, he was allowed a beard to protect his face from the heat of the forge. Nowadays the Pioneer Sergeant is usually responsible for carpentry, joinery and similar types of work.
In modern parades, Pioneer Sergeants still wear their ceremonial aprons and carry their traditional axes, which act in place of a bayonet.
That's not to stay there aren't exceptions to the rule though. Other Army members can sport a beard in certain circumstances.
Disguised as a Taliban.
Soldiers can grow a beard for medical reasons, such as in the case of a temporary skin irritation, or, more commonly for religious reasons.
It is prohibited, for example, within the Sikh religion to cut one's hair. As a result Sikhs within the British Army are allowed to have beards.
Lady Solders are forbidden to grow beards.
Such prohibition is just Patriarchal Oppression according to feminists.
Members of the special forces may also wear beards when behind enemy lines or on covert intelligence operations.
There have also been reports in recent years of British Army members serving in Afghanistan having beards or stubble to try to blend in with Afghan men, who see beards as a symbol of virility and authority.
I am advised that Pipe Majors in the Royal Regiment of Scotland are allowed a beard. Infantry Pioneers (Currently Pipes and Drums in the Scottish units meaning both the Pipey and Drum major may wear a beard on parade) 

The Royal Artillery have 'The Battle Axe Man' 74 Battery the Battle Axe Company 32 Regiment RA, he must be the tallest man in the Battery who sports a full beard and as a Battle honor he also carries a Battle Axe sporting a golden eagle on ceremonial parades.
Interestingly, other branches of the Armed Forces have wholly different attitudes towards facial hair.
In the Royal Navy, full beards have always been allowed as long as permission is sought and granted, whereas moustaches, which are permitted within the RAF, Army and Royal Marines are forbidden.
But anyone wishing to grow a beard in the Navy must have a 'full set,' that is, a full beard covering the whole jawline, joined to a moustache.
Yes, there is Morality of sorts at sea.
And commanding officers can order an individual to shave off his facial hair if it becomes clear after around six weeks that he cannot grow a proper full set.
Navy members should then keep their beard, once approved, for at least six months. 
Members of the RAF, on the other hand, may not have beards in any circumstances (unless they are Sikh). Moustaches may be worn, but only on the condition that it does not extend below the edge of the mouth -  so no "handlebars".
Indeed, one RAF Flight Lieutenant was so keen not to lose his impressive 'tache that he refused an order from an American general to trim it whilst on a posting with the US Air Force 366 Fighter Squadron in Afghanistan.
I am grateful for all of this interesting stuff to a fellow sitting quietly in the corner of the UK room, supping his pint from a dimpled glass.

RAF pilot refuses US order to trim moustache
An RAF pilot has been ordered to trim his handlebar moustache by an American General who took offence at its length, but the British serviceman was not prepared to lose his whiskers without a fight.
The British airman, who sports a handlebar moustache in the proud tradition of the RAF, refused to comply when his superior officer in Afghanistan took offence at his facial hair.
Showing a bravado akin to that of Biggles, he fought back, eventually convincing the general that his generous whiskers were in line with regulations laid down by the Queen herself.
Fine man. Tell those Yanks to go pull someone else's chain !  The last time the Americans tried to tell an English chap what to do, he burned the House down. Only after a generous splash of white-wash did it get the name, White House. 
The moustache was once such a part of the RAF uniform that rules during the Second World War stated: "The whole of the upper lip shall remain unshaven."
Flt Lt Ball was told to cut his back while on a posting with the American Air Force 366 Fighter Squadron, where he operates an F-15 fighter-bomber.
The general said that US pilots were only allowed to grow small moustaches and insisted that Flt Lt Ball followed suit, but he refused.
Instead the RAF fighter pilot decided to go above the head of his superior officer and consulted regulations approved by the Queen which set out the permitted size of an RAF moustache.

Flt Lt Ball measured his whiskers and to his delight they did not contravene the rules. He took his findings to the general, and after a frank "exchange of views" was allowed to keep the facial hair intact.
Flt Lt Ball said: "The yanks are not allowed to grow a full-length tash. After I was told to trim mine down I had to dig out the Queen's Regulations to prove I was not breaching our own code."
In 2007 the RAF relaxed its restrictions on facial hair for men serving in Afghanistan, because beards are thought to be a sign of status in the country.
 I have been known to refuse a few orders of my own in my time !  I was even ordered by an Air Commodore to trim my sideburns back to a more 'standard' attribute. I kept them despite! Airships need thrust.

But right now you must be in need of a drink, so place your order.



  1. I had a feeling you would like that link ;-)

    I knew that Army men could not sport a beard on parade but I had no idea there were quite so many varied regulations regarding facial hair in the armed services!

    1. In the Netherlands (having briefly touched on the different region) servicemen are issued with hairnets.

  2. I was told my jungle greens were too far down over my gaiters, though why I needed gaiters anyway in jungle greens was a question they did not like.

    1. No doubt the answer went something along the lines of 'Gechya 'air cut, you 'orrible little man". :)

  3. The pioneer sergent with the beard, the one in the first picture. He is very handsome and manly looking:)

    1. I am sure he would be delighted to have you say that to him. :)

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