Let me start by saying... You probably read the title wrong the first time. Your mind is so used to seeing that other 'philia' that starts with the letter 'P' and has an 'o' in it that it just automatically fills it in, especially if you read the Daily Express.
Pogonophilia is the state of admiring, being fond of or having a fetish for... People who have beards - You see I said people, not men because there are ladies who wear full beards proudly. But in fairness, I am actually going to just be talking about men, because: ewww.
I've lost track of the number of posts I've seen on twitter and other blogs and Facebook that start with things like 'Oh, I saw this guy with this completely lush beard at the Railway station this morning and I just wanted to rush up to him and run my fingers through it and get naked and have his babies right there outside WHSmiths.' or 'I'm sitting in Costa and there's a guy sitting opposite me with a Brad Pitt beard and a sharp suit, reading Dostoevsky's treatise on the vagaries of the human condition and I'd go over and jam my tongue in his ear but I seem to be temporarily stuck to the chair by my own lady-juices.'
What is it that's suddenly made beards fashionable and/or desirous?
Ok, so Brad Pitt seems to have gone a bit Worzel Gummidge, and La Depp seems to be hanging on to a watered down version of the Jack Sparrow goatee, George Clooney is rocking the Silver Fox look, Mel Gibson looks like a boggle-eyed anti-semetic musketeer, Colin Farrel, Billy Connolly, Daniel Craig, Viggo Mortenson, Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale - All of these guys currently sport, or have sported in the recent past facial hair.
In the past, (like, 50-60 years ago, not prehistoric times - where beard wearing wasn't a lifestyle choice, it was a neccesity) - Beards were the preserve of Fishermen and members of The Royal Navy (Yes, I know there's a salty seaman joke in there - feel free to fill it in yourself - I can't be bothered) Then if we move forward slightly you get everyone being clean-shaven except for the Hippies and Beatniks, From then until 2010 it was just Bikers, Tramps and Santa.
Look, here's an example... This was me in about 1994.
Calm down ladies... I know... 26 years old, full of beans and brimming with so much rebellion that I should be driving James Dean's Silver Porsche. A veritable love machine of the old school (Ignore the washing machines... Long story).
So, why did I grow a beard originally? Well apart from the whole motorcycling thing? It's because I'm a mutant - It's all my Mother's fault you see, she had a freakishly small womb (Obviously, this was whilst she was still alive.) and I spent a significant portion of my gestation period with my forearm jammed into my chin causing a certain lack of mandibular development, making me look a little bit like Beaker, off of the Muppets when I shave my beard off. (Which is why I don't, ever, not even to go to a Muppet themed fancy dress party - I go as Sam, the American Eagle - Gives me the opportunity to paint myself blue... again)
While we're on the subject, did you know that the only animal other than humans to actually have a chin is the elephant? - Which is strange, because scientist believe that the chin's job is to support the muscles required to move the lips well enough to enable us to speak.
But over the years, I've developed my hirsuteness from full Captain Birdseye (You should never go full Captain Birdseye) to the interesting Goatee/Walrus moustache with disconnected sideburns combo that I'm rocking here - I have stuck with this style as it seems to work for me:
That's the MicroDandy by the way - Yes, he was cute wasn't he - You'll also note that my hairline has... Retracted slightly from its position in the previous picture. I think it makes me look distinguished - And I lie to myself regularly about other things too.
I would have used a current picture, but I'm growing my hair at the moment and it's in that difficult 'In between short and long' stage that makes me look like a startled clown.
That's why I have a beard, but why do I think women like men with beards? I think it's part of a cycle. The late 70's / Early 80's were the golden age of 'The Man', the one who'd jump from a helicopter, scale your trellis (ooh-err) and deliver you a box of chocolates. Hard drinking, Hard fighting, Hard loving men who made women feel like women and misogyny was a normal and expected part of everyday life. Then, as the 80's turned into the 90's and political correctness and sexual equality became increasingly popularised, Men (not men... But Men) started to be regarded as anachronistic, overly neanderthal buckets of testosterone who, if anyone ever invented a cucumber that could mow the lawn, would be consigned to the cupboard and only brought out for the process of procreation. Thus causing the Golden Age of the metro-sexual - These chaps were characterised by their fantastically quaffed hair, Gucci manbags, colour co-ordinated silk ties, socks and pants and legendarily low sperm counts.
These amazingly successful subspecies dominated advertising and finance for many years until everything went a bit pear-shaped. Benetton and Gap spiraled out of control and became satires of themselves, the stock market and banks followed suit and every news report seemed to show slightly effeminate males running around trying to grab the last few lettuce and watercress sandwiches after there'd been a run on Pret-a-Manger and having a bit of a cry.
It was time for a change, someone needed to take charge and steer the ship towards land, who were those people? Who could emerge from a cloud of dry-ice wearing just fireman's trousers or a kilt with a good quarter pint of baby-oil smothered over their pecs? Who could we trust to buy their food from a roadside greasy spoon which only sells thick slices of bacon, sausages with indeterminate contents and pasties that just have meat and potato in them?
Men, that's who... Men with beards... Beards that say 'Yes, I can both change a plug, spatchcock a donkey and make love to a beautiful woman until she is incapable of anything other than lying there shaking whilst muttering "thank you, please sir can I have another?" over and over again.'
The Mark of a Man.