I was very happy on a recent Friday because I had the opportunity to be in a country that actually celebrates Women's Day. Now, you may be thinking that this day is international in name and this means that every country should be able to celebrate. However, this is certainly not the case. Today, I am hoping to write about the lack of Women's Day in America and my observations from Poland on this day.
America has Women's day on the calendar, but that is basically it. The most a woman could expect on this day would be a remark from her husband or son. I believe that most workplaces would discourage any sort of celebrating of this day. This is because in America workplaces generally cannot celebrate anything that separates the workers. So, it is usually discouraged to celebrate any sort of religious holiday or gender-specific holiday. So, unfortunately for the American women, this means that they generally only receive an 'oh wow, it's Women's Day, Happy Women's Day' type of comment from their husbands, sons, or close male relatives.
I am happy to report that I saw the exact opposite of this type of behavior in Poland. Women's Day here seemed like a happy day and I was happy to celebrate. I celebrated by buying some tulips for me female co-worker and for my female students. I also talked about this day quite a lot with my students and I am happy that it still exists today. Unfortunately, it may have communist origins but I believe that it is a rather nice holiday today. I did not buy any pantyhose or carnations, but I certainly enjoyed the atmosphere and celebration of this holiday. When I return to America I will try my best to get more and more Americans to start celebrating this holiday.
Men have beards, or at least most men have facial hair. Some men have facial hair that lends it self to thick and luscious beards. Other men are what we call 'baby-faced', meaning that they cannot grow a beard and they have very limited, if any, facial hair. This is in large part due to genetics and one is not better than the other. Of course, if you want to grow a beard, then you do need to have some facial hair to make it work. Otherwise your attempt at growing a beard will look sad and pathetic. My own facial hair grooming habits have changed a lot since I needed to start shaving. Of course, I can't help but see what other men do with their own facial hair and today I am hoping to shed some light on what I have observed about Polish men's grooming habits.
First, I would like to say that in general Poles, and Europeans in general, are usually more put-together when they go out in public compared to Americans. In America it is quite common to see someone who looked like they just got out of bed. Perhaps they could be wearing flip-flops and something that looks like pajama bottoms. It is a bit of a grisly sight and I am not a fan. However, this is the way many Americans choose to go out in public. I believe that this is not common in Poland, as I have never seen it in all my times here. So, that is sort of the base that we are working with here; Americans can be a little bit sloppy when going out in public, and most Poles seem to be fairly well-dressed and put together.
It is my belief that these general better appearances while out in public have a direct influence on the way Polish men choose to groom their facial hair. Thus far my observations have been this: If a Polish man chooses to shave, he keeps his face clean and tidy and does not allow too much 'sloppy growth'. Also, if a Polish man chooses to grow a beard this beard is generally well kept, neat, proper, and well-maintained. I will say that the Polish beards I have seen have been very tidy, and none have been very long. Sometimes in America you will see men with what we call 'soup-catcher' beards. These beards are long and can extend well into a man's chest level. We call them soup-catchers because it is generally true that when these gentlemen try and eat soup some of the soup will end up in their beards. However, in the Polish case I have not seen these and have seen only clean-shaven or well-bearded Polish men.
It is also my observation that there is no real in between allowed amongst these two styles of facial hair. This meaning that I have not seen many Polish men with stubble. Stubble is when facial hair kind of grows out longer than clean-shaven but shorter than a full beard length. Very rarely do I see a Polish man with stubble. This could be because of the influence of looking put-together while going about in public. It is my belief that this is the case. I generally try and keep my face clean-shaven. I have tried to grow a beard in the past, but it was too itchy, scratchy, and irritating, so I did not last that long with a beard, or my attempt at one. So, no beards for me, but sometimes I am lazy or don't have a lot of time to shave, and during these times is when I feel the difference between Polish and American facial-hair grooming habits. I certainly notice that I am the only person with stubble, and I feel slightly out of place. However, I am certainly not complaining as I like the challenge of trying to look more well-groomed and clean-shaven. So, there you have it, if you see me with stubble on my face don't blame me. Blame my American up-bringing and my lack of time, and I suppose from time to time yes, you could blame me and my laziness, but only sometimes!
Born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan David was raised by his parents with his two sisters and brother.