If you ever wonder when you’ll see another beard in the White House, the best answer you’ll get is in a book. The era of mustachioed statesmen is long gone, according to Dr. Allan Peterkin, Pognologist (beard scholar — yes, that’s a real thing) and author of One Thousand Mustaches: A Cultural History of the Mo. Part of the reason: Washington isn’t trendy. “It’s usually authority figures who are kind of determining what’s in and what’s out,” says Peterkin. “So that would be politicians, clergy, and the military.”
That was, of course, back when those people were our only examples. These days while you see beards and mustaches gracing the red carpet, stages, films, and your favorite reality show. So why aren’t they coming back to the Oval Office? Stigma.
That same stubble hate that your mom was beating like a dead horse five years ago still lingers today, especially in a culture where everyone spends their time campaigning and avoiding bad press. Peterkin says that, historically, “here’s a time when the beard is thought to be unclean, when the guy has something to hide, when he’s too lazy to shave.” In D.C., that time is now. Things may change some day, but until they do, take a nostalgic look at presidential facial hair’s golden age.