METALandMIRRORS: Pogonotrophy and Pipes

Monday, March 5, 2018

Pogonotrophy and Pipes

Let me help us all out with my blog title...  pogonotrophy. Noun. The act of cultivating, or growing and grooming, a mustache, beard, sideburns or other facial hair.  Now, despite the fancy sound, the derivative of the word pogonotrophy is pogonotomy which simply refers to shaving, while pogonotrophy is the opposite: allowing a beard to flourish on the facial stage.

We went to our local tobacconist today for a meeting with someone who wanted to sell their Rinaldo Bulldog they were no longer happy with.  Our tobacconist said they had the pipe for approximately one year and it had been smoked about three to five times.  What originally sold for $475, he was willing to part with for only $200.  That was an easy sell to me given the pictures I had been shown indicated the pipe was well cared for, and in a wonderful blue hue that I always love - not to mention it was a Rinaldo too!

After seeing the pipe in person, it was everything I had hoped for.  SOLD!  We spent almost two hours at the shop, and during that time we had some very spirited conversation about freehand pipes and our tobaccos of choice.  I came away from that experience today with several more tobacco pipe sites to explore, another fantastic acquaintance my wife and I got to know, and one significant observation for me. Beards!

tobacco pipe pogonotrophy

It just didn't really strike me until I was leaving the store today that a significant majority of the tobacco pipe enthusiasts we see or know have a beard; including myself!.  Now I’m not one for big words as you can tell from my other blog posts, but this was something I could not ignore anymore and had to find just the right word to describe it.  Given my background in data sciences, I was also starting to calculate the percentages of pipes smokers with beards verse those without.  So I was off to determine just what this epiphany of a phenomenon was going to be called.  After some careful pursuing of Websters dictionary, I believe I found the best word to describe it -- hence the blog title.  So I learned a new term if nothing else.

All those YouTube videos I watch of pipe shows, pipe and tobacco reviews, etc., the majority of all the people in the videos have a beard!  All of our local tobacconists have beards as well as the person I bought the pipe from today.  I'm not saying they are full fledged St. Nichols beards, but a beard none-the-less in the categorical sense.  Now I'm starting to see certain characteristics begin to manifest themselves for those associated to smoking a tobacco pipe; aside from everyone smoking the pipes of course.  :-)

I know there are different demographics involved in my simple observation, and my data is heavily skewed to just my local geographic, but there is merit to the pattern.  Age is one key factor I see right away, but it's not the whole equation.  The older gentleman clearly lead with the beards over the younger; however, time will tell if this "tradition" continues.  And perhaps this is just a seasonal perspective I have right now given it is winter.  My beard stays intact until sometime in April when I'll go back to just a mustache and goatee and shave off all the sideburns.  In any case, even that justifies things close enough to a beard.  To simplify this even further, those with any semblance of facial hair smoking a tobacco pipe far exceed those who have none.  And for all the comedians out there, this excludes unruly eyebrows, ear hair (it’s a cruel joke that our manly ears grow more hair than our heads after age 50), or that greatest of indignities, nose hair, which in some cases should be braided into existing mustaches.

My wife and I comment in general that it's nice to see so many younger men and women smoking tobacco pipes now as well; people who don’t have hair sprouting from places we’d rather it didn’t, but I think they're still outnumbered by us more refined aged guys.  I believe pipe smokers gravitate to facial hair because of an inherent appreciation for the traditional.  I'll summarize by saying that our attraction to pipes is a symptom of a general respect for the past, and hopes for the future.  History in the making is headed in perhaps the wrong direction from what I see in the news today, and we need more of our past traditions to find their way into our future to even things out.  All pipe smokers are thinkers...so you know we'll figure it out.

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