Pogonotrophy in the Regency Era
I’ve been catching up on old episodes of the television drama Endeavor, set in the 1960s and 1970s. From one season to the next the lead character, DS Morse, played by Shaun Evans, grows a 1970s style mustache. He shaves it off by the latest season though, thank goodness.
In any case, I was inspired to reprise this post from three years ago. Enjoy!
Pogonotrophy, a Word for your Next Scrabble Game, Means…
The art of cultivating facial hair. I stumbled across this word in a BBC article from a few years ago about the history of mustache–or for the Brits, moustache–wearing.
From carefully groomed goatees, to artful late-day stubble, to luxurious Smith Brothers‘ type beards, modern men have a great many fashion options for styling their whiskers. Or if they’d rather just grow them out ala Navy Seals battling foreign terrorists, there’s a name for the beard that results, the yeard.
Regency men didn’t bother much with facial hair.
Fashions come, and fashions go
The clean-shaven late Georgian and Regency face was wedged between seventeenth century mustaches and Victorian beards.
Which look do you prefer?
The Exception: The Hussars
Of course, the late Georgian/Regency era was also a time of war. One exception to the fashion for a clean upper lip was in the military, specifically, in the hussars.
The hussars were a dashing and nattily-dressed lot, with a reputation for wildness. Here’s a bit from Wikipedia:
Moustaches were universally worn by Napoleonic-era hussars; the British hussars were the only moustachioed troops in the British Army—leading to their being taunted as being “foreigners”, at times.
Mustache, Scruffy Beard, or Yeard?
If you’ve ever kissed a mustachioed man after he’s just washed his face or brushed his teeth…well, kisses are better without a damp mopping. You can guess my preference. The heroes in my Regency stories might have a two-day or three-day stubble when their valets are unavailable, but they’ll never have a mustache.
In fact, the only mustachioed character of mine (that I can recall) is one of the villains in Avenging the Earl’s Lady:
Under his oily mustache, the Major’s lip curled. “Then I claim my rights as the man challenged. It shall be swords. Otherwise, I defer to all your wishes and await word from your second.” He chuckled. “Best write your will. Shaldon won’t rescue you this time.”
I suppose if I ever write a hero who’s in the hussars I’ll have to retract that “never”!
What about you? Do you prefer your heroes to be clean-shaven or masters of Pogonotrophy?
All images are from Wikimedia Commons