Broader Perspective on Speaker Paul Ryan's Freshly Minted Beard of the House

Leave it to an overly fit, carb-counting mammal with rippling chesticular muscles from Wisconsin to bring facial hair back to the leadership of the United States Congress.

As broadly reported by major media, Speaker of the House, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), grew a sexually dynamic beard over the Thanksgiving break, making him the first bearded speaker since Frederick Gillett left the post to run for the Senate in 1924. It's just one important step in the process of bringing ruggedly handsome facial hair back to prominence in public life. It goes without saying that as a Wisconsin native, Ryan's could be a deer hunting beard -- the opener was Nov. 21 -- or it could have been one of those highly questionable "weekend with your buddies" beard. Or even, perhaps, he lost bet on the Packers-Bears game.

Regardless, it's there, a facial forestry unit in full bloom, and Rep. Ryan is obviously enjoying the chance to be a man in the most public way.

"Mr. Ryan has often waved a big stick in discussing America's lack of 'leadership,'" as AMI Chairman Emeritus Dr. Aaron X. Perlut told The Hill's Judy Kurtz. "And clearly, his newly minted facial forestry unit sends a stark, sexually dynamic signal to the Mustached American community that he is serious about leading and we're willing to listen."

The sad irony, of course, is that the the beard has a long history in public life before it was nearly wiped from the face of the earth by the razor manufacturers in the early part of the 20th century.

Consider the Florida House of Representatives circa 1915. Indeed, it represents not only democracy at work, but a portrait of laser cocksmanship run amok.  There are, without question, spectacular beards and mustaches among this august group.

Certainly times have changes. At one point in this great nation's history, facial hair was a means of demonstrating the gravitas Speaker Ryan is attempting to rekindle, and we can only applaud him for his efforts.

And the Mustached American voting public can only assume that Ryan's beard is just just beginning. Yes, our community has born witness to false starts before. Many leading men -- from the weak-kneed Ryan Seacrest to Carson Palmer to Joe Buck to George Clooney to Estelle Getty -- have grown handsome beards and mustaches only to shave for a new role, never to return to such manly means of self expression.

The true test, however, will be if Speaker Ryan achieves the neatly trimmed full beard and then has the chutzpah to head into Mike Napoli and even Billy Gibbons territory. Now, that would be in-your-face facial hair no president could ignore.

Keep growing Rep. Ryan. Keep growing.