Pogonophobia? It’s infantile!
Firstborn had her nose put out of joint last year when we were together in a café and a baby at another table kept smiling at me and not her. After last week I now know how she felt because it was then, along with the tall child, that she was the focus of my one year old great-niece’s attention when the best that I got from our extended family’s latest arrival was a look of sheer puzzlement.
Even that was a temporary blip; a minor departure from the infant’s contemplative looks that opined “What is that? Can I trust it? Hmm, I’d better steer clear of it!“. The consensus view was that the little one was a wee bit uncertain about a bloke-with-a-beard (okay, very uncertain!).
My own dear mother once looked at me and said that she saw a wolf’s head, so perhaps my beard and the little one’s upbringing in the shadow of Germany’s Black Forest psychically brought to mind the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, and with it a fear of all things lupine. Who knows? But it was kind of cute, if a little demoralising, to a clearly not-so-great-uncle.
Meantime, Management suggested the experience could inspire the next ALAW, so here goes:
There once was a baby that sneered
When her bristly great-uncle appeared.
Which led him to infer
That she seemed to prefer
Her playmates to have less of a beard.
Postscript: According to the Massive Phobia website it’s a real thing:
“Pogonophobia (po-go-no-fo-be-ah) is the irrational and persistent fear of beards. Its opposite is Pogonophilia, a love of beards or bearded persons.
While beards are often viewed as a sign of ruggedness or manliness, they are also sometimes associated with illness, misfortune, homelessness, etc., leading fearful individuals to think of bearded men that way.
The root word ‘pogono’ is Greek meaning ‘beard’ and the word ‘phobia’ comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning ‘fear.'”