Over the past few years there has been an epic outbreak of pseudo beards affecting a high percentage of young men between 20 and 35, and quite a few older ones too.

The scruffy, unshaven look has become epidemic. It’s clear that most of our young male population has given up attempting to shave at all and because full beards appear to be beyond their metabolism, most of them look like potential terrorists and you can’t tell them apart.

Why do they do it? Is each one attempting to obtain a blessing from some latter day Isaac by turning himself into ‘an hairy man’, a Jacob wanting to be an Esau without the aid of a goat skin? Do they think it’s sexy; that girls will fall over themselves in the pursuit of the hirsute, preferring an unshaven, whiskery bloke rather than a tidy one?

Brides are becoming unable to differentiate between the groom and the best man. Police identity parades have become less than useless and passport photographs questionable. Actors on television have become very difficult to identify, and I’m sure that the TV companies are taking financial advantage of the situation by using the same actor for several roles in the same programme.

Looking around a City restaurant, I had the uncanny feeling that I’d walked into a biological experiment. Every young man was wearing the same dark suit and every one had not shaved for about two weeks! They were all clones.

Before more of our children approaching manhood have to suffer from this disfiguring affliction, the Government needs to take immediate action. I suggest a tax on facial hair, say £10 per millimetre per annum, the issuing of free razors, and the appointment of chin counsellors operating from GP surgeries.

Only when the clean-shaven look returns to fashion will I then be able to tell which of my grandsons is which.

  • Alfred Levy is retired. He now paints, writes and runs an art group for U3A. He lives in Ilford, Essex.