created over 4 years ago | Tagged:
After Jorge Hendrickson lost his job at a Manhattan hedge fund three weeks ago, he stopped shaving. "I've shaved for so long, and it's nice to be able to look at the positive side" of losing a job, says Mr. Hendrickson, 24. "I'm changing my lifestyle while I can."
Facial hair is showing up on more former corporate types. It's one of those tiny luxuries unleashed by unemployment, a time when people are briefly released from workaday habits and may wish to take stock of their lives before setting out anew. Al Gore grew a beard after losing the tumultuous presidential election of 2000. Neatly trimmed, it looked cozy and anti-establishment as he pursued creative projects on his way to the Nobel Peace Prize.
Scott Berger, a 35-year-old investment analyst, stopped shaving in October after being laid off from hedge fund Laurus Capital Management. "It's something you can't do in the corporate world," he says. He does, however, cut his facial hair closely with a beard trimmer, pledging, "I'm not ever going to look like a lumberjack."
The trend may be driven in part by the music industry, where beards have become fashionable. Carrissa Turley, a hair stylist at Rudy's Barbershop in trendy West Hollywood, Calif., says she began to see an uptick in beard requests in mid-October. Men up to age 40 began coming in with photos of bearded musicians from bands, including the Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. "It's kind of the hipster thing now," Ms. Turley says.
For many men, growing that unemployment beard is akin to a tame dance at a bachelor party -- a momentary freedom enjoyed while the rules are suspended. Many of today's beards may be as short-lived as the holidays. Mr. Berger shaves for job interviews, then re-grows his beard, which takes about two weeks. "I can't go on an interview with a beard," he says.