Pogonotrophy in the Regency
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