A Word In Your Ear - January 16, 2014

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Had a shave today, men? Here in Great Marton, I wouldn’t usually leave the house without one.

The exception is when I’m engaged on a messy gardening chore or D.I.Y.

Then I dress down, remain unshaven and reward myself with an early pint at the local – like a weary builder up since dawn.

But why do people go unshaven when appearing in front of millions as celebrities on television, or in roles requiring smartness?

You wouldn’t expect a vicar to be dog-collared up and unshaven, nor a senior police officer – though the offender I was thinking of was fictional and foreign (Sicily’s Montalbano).

Anyone running a food business or personal service would find trade dipping if he didn’t bother to run a razor across his stubble. Customers would naturally wonder what else he skimped upon.

Designer stubble or trimmed beards are different – but not great bushy ones that might hide all manner of horrors.

Increasingly, it seems, dressing the part is a losing cause. But the real losers are those who don’t bother.

We were watching an antiques programme the other evening at Edmonds Towers, enthralled as an expert pointed out period style and fineries. Then he stood up.

“Oh, no!” exclaimed She Who Knows. “He’s wearing jeans!”

How can you be convinced by someone who wears labourer’s rough denim beneath tailored jacket and shirt? They’re either at odds with themselves or a sucker for poor fashion tastes.

At one time folk would be embarrassed answering their door unshaven or improperly dressed to a postman. Now, I’m told, some people go to supermarkets wearing bedclothes.

Certainly, it’s good to feel relaxed. Tim Henman won his top title at Paris, the only time I’ve seen him play tennis unshaven (with brigadier-like father for once not present).

I’m even writing this in an old, cotton tracksuit that’s comfortable around the house.

But, at least, I’ve shaved!

n Make your life bristle – 
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