“The presence, absence, colour, and size of the mane is associated with genetic precondition, sexual maturity, climate, and testosterone production; the rule of thumb is the darker and fuller the mane, the healthier the lion. Sexual selection of mates by lionesses favors males with the densest, darkest mane Research in Tanzania also suggests mane length signals fighting success in male–male relationships. Darker-maned individuals may have longer reproductive lives and higher offspring survival, although they suffer in the hottest months of the year. In prides including a coalition of two or three males, it is possible that lionesses solicit mating more actively with the males who are more heavily maned.” -Wikipedia on Lions
I can identify with a lioness.
This quote combined with what Plato says about beards and boys:
“They do not fall in love with mere boys, but wait until they reach the age at which they begin to show some intelligence, that is to say, until they are near growing a beard.”-Plato
leads me to consider the similarities between a male that I consider a “man” or, perhaps a “manly man” (as opposed to a boy, or just a guy). I think that boys take a relatively long time to mature into men. As a generally un-solid rule I tend to measure manliness by strength of facial hair. Obviously, I realize there are some men who simply cannot grow a beard. Take Native Americans, for instance, I would consider the men of this culture to be exceedingly manly. However, when have you ever seen a man of this race with a full-grown beard? Rarely, if ever. It’s simply not in the gene pool. Be that as it may, their culture holds their men in the highest respect. The men are the hunters, the providers, the fighters, the warriors, the fathers, the leaders. They take their roles as men in the tribe seriously, they are wise in teaching their young boys to grow into good men, teaching them duty, honor and loyalty. Just as any metaphor this can’t be taken too far.
So with exceptions, of course I believe (I- as in me, personally and not speaking for anyone else) that I can respect a man more readily when he has a good beard. Not for the sake of a beard, but a beard to me, is symbolic of the entire aspect of masculinity in a rather traditional sense; a certain type of pride, like a lion has it’s “pride,” it’s family that he protects even with his own life. A man who has such a pride or desires such a pride, will want to be the provider, the protector, and the leader. In pilgrim times, the men would choose their wife, buy a plot of land and build her a house which they would make home and raise their family. The man was the spiritual leader. Hunting comes to mind a lot, when I think of a “real man.” Falling trees to build a log cabin, traipsing through the woods with a shotgun to provide dinner, leading the family in prayers, and Bible study, fishing, wearing flannels, training up the children along with his beloved wife, staying faithful to his family, honoring his commitments, making the big decisions- but not without consulting his wife, honest, solid in his convictions, chivalrous, gentle, virtuous, admirable, modest and hairy as a beast.
I believe that men not only deserve respect, but they need it. In order for him to take the lead, he must know that you are behind him 100%, encouraging, loving and submissive. It is so important for a woman to be able to see a man, step up and take initiative. It speaks highly to his character, leadership and masculinity to be bold enough to be decisive. A woman needs to be able to respect her man, it’s not something she should have to conjure up without precedence. It should come naturally (innately, or inherently). Respect should precede love, and exist simultaneously within it. I’m not saying that if you can’t grow a beard a woman will never respect you; I am saying that if you desire respect, you’d better become respectable. God made man to be above the woman.
“But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” -I Corinthians 11:2
So men, if you want to be the head of woman become a man worthy to be followed. Become the man God has designed you to be, the man we can all be proud of. Impress us. Not by focusing on yourself, or bragging of feats of strength or wit, not by arrogance of self, which is entirely unattractive in anyone. Your glory, your worth and your excellence is all in Christ. Allow Him to rule your life, and your heart.
“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” -Galations 6:14
One more thing: If you desire to be respected, respect her. Treat all of God’s children as just that- precious heirs of the most High God to be esteemed highly in love, cherished. Be compassionate. Wise as serpents and gentle as doves.(Matthew 10:16, Philippians 2:1-4)
These are my opinions and my exhortations to all you men, and men in training out there. Don’t sweat it if you can’t grow a beard, lots of women don’t fancy ‘em anymore anyways.