You heard the story about the birds and the bees. Implicit in that story is that birds need to make themselves physically attractive to the bees and vice versa. Otherwise, they would not be drawn to each other and none of us would be here.

I started thinking about this idiomatic dynamic while observing the bevy of bearded Boston Red Sox baseball players now playing in the World Series. Typically you think that baseball players--let's make them the bees because they sting the ball--play because they enjoy it and, as pros, make millions of dollars. Another reason, I have always assumed, is to make themselves attractive to the birds. Not in all cases, I realize. Many of the Red Sox players are married with children and couldn't care less about attracting more birds. But a few are not married and may still be game.

The point is the beards make every one of them look unattractive, unkempt, disturbingly rebellious, slightly trashy, a bit juvenile, and unconcerned with what people think of how they look.  Have you seen the beards on these guys? They couldn't grow more ugly beards. Gargantuan, unmanaged and in several cases a place to nest several bird's eggs, these beards are an eyesore.

Abraham Lincoln would have probably liked the beards, having been a big beard guy himself, but he's not alive anymore so let's move on to someone else of higher current relevance. I can see members of  ZZ  Top, the 1970s rock band, getting a kick out of the beards. Notorious them-selves for wicked and whacky beards. ZZ Top marketed them as their corporate logos. And of course the nuts on the current and quirky TV show, "Duck Dynasty," are probably
rooting for the Bearded Bosox to win. Each has a behemoth beard.

These beards are not for me. Not to be risk averse and judgmental, but I find them slightly distasteful and a little juvenile. Having asserted this, no one has accused me of living a well-manicured life. You should see the inside of my car--it's a trash dumpster. And I don't wear high-end clothes. Three-piece suits are not my roots. Sometimes, OK most of the time, my pants are wrinkled and my socks don't match. But I have never grown a beard as unsightly as this
baseball team. During the dog days of summer in high school, I sported a low-rent goatee. Thought it was cool. But I never a hd a beard beyond a quarter inch of cheesy, half-baked stubble. Even with a goatee, I never had a bird say she liked it.

Baseball players are notoriously superstitious. The Beard Soxers have gone beard batty because they believe it's helping them win. So far it's working. They are one win away from clinching the World Series. It's good for them but bad for anyone who has to look at them rocking all that nastiness including the birds out there who may otherwise find these guys handsome and
worthy of dating. Probably not but maybe.

That's the thing. They are purposely making themselves physically unattractive. Give them points for their moxie especially doing it on TV where millions of Americans are seeing their grossly overdone facial hair, writing them off as ugly dudes. They are daring. They apparently don't care as much about how they look as how they play and whether they win. As admirer of
winners, I find this appealing. But the price they are paying is high viewed from a lens of the birds and the bees.

Can you imagine any of the players' wives liking how their husbands look? I'm dubious. But as long as their bearded bees keep winning and make millions more dollars so they can buy bigger houses and take more extravagant vacations, the wives tolerate their husbands' far-fetched faces.

Evidently, it's not about the looks anymore, even among the birds and bees. It's all about money and fame and vacations in the Hamptons and Aruba. The birds and the bees have evolved.






October 30, 2013  09:39 PM ET

The way Boston is playing they should be called the "killer bees."
Well written Charles!
I'm sure these " Bearded Wonders" are an Orwellian plot against normalcy..


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