Suddenly too many young men are sprouting facial hair. Not just the ‘usual suspects’ but also entertainers, sundry sportsmen and particularly members of the Pakistan cricket team. The proliferation of facial hair in our cricket team might have something to do with the flowing beard of our ‘chief selector’ and of course the relatively restrained beard of the new Chairman of PCB.If beards are related to piety and piety to better performance on the playing fields then it seems that the expected result has not consistently been apparent at least as far as our batting is concerned. It might then be worthwhile to perform a relatively controlled test to see if beards really have any effect on professional performance. All players on the payroll of PCB should be randomly divided into two groups. Half of them should be asked to shave off their beards. Which half? Also decided randomly and the person who decides should not know why and the players should not know why. That is as close to a controlled double blind study as we can conduct.The players that are beardless and if they fall into the bearded category should grow a beard. The bearded ones that fall into the un-bearded group should shave off their beards. Any player that refuses to participate should be sent to Pago Pago for bowling action correction and physical fitness regimen. These players should then go through at least ten innings each of a test match or ten one day matches (T20 matches can act as confounding factors). That should provide adequate statistical information. After that a decision can be made if the presence or absence of a beard has any effect on performance. If the bearded ones perform better then every player should grow a beard. If the ones that shave do better, then the matter should be referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology for an appropriate decision.If the result of the study is inconclusive then of course all players can do whatever their fashion sense, conscience or their significant others prefer. And if they all end up with facial hair, the problem will be of recognition especially when they are wearing their batting helmets. Was that Inti, Immi, Ifti, Inzi, Bittoo or Titoo? If it is not piety then why so many beards? If memory serves there was a recent ‘survey’ that revealed women like men with facial hair -beards etc but not just moustaches! So it is quite possible that men that read those sorts of surveys have taken to growing beards.It is important to point out that beards grown for purposes of piety are usually long and untrimmed while those grown for the purpose of attracting ‘admirers’ are usually well groomed and often quite short. The scruffy look popularised in Pakistan by the fugitive former finance minister is in my opinion just that, scruffy.It is important to point out that beards grown for purposes of piety are usually long and untrimmed while those grown for the purpose of attracting ‘admirers’ are usually well groomed and often quite short. The scruffy look popularised in Pakistan by the fugitive former finance minister is in my opinion just that, scruffyHere in the interest of full disclosure I must admit that for almost fifty years I sported a moustache. When I first grew one I wanted it to be like the one worn by Jim Croce. Sadly, Croce died young and becoming bereft of a role model, I decided to fashion my moustache after the legendary Hercule Poirot.The problem with having the sort of perfectly waxed curved up at the ends moustache is that it cannot be maintained without ‘training’. Yes! You have to wax and train the moustache to stay in that position and sadly as a surgical resident in training I had to wear a surgical mask for many hours in a day during long and complicated heart operations.During those long hours the wax would melt and the moustache drooped. As I got trained to do heart surgery my moustache could not be trained to do a Hercule Poirot. So I ended up with a rather mediocre, basic, droopy seventies moustache. And no, I never had the desire to let my facial hair grow. Enough then about me and facial hair trends from forty years ago.I am all for beards that are apparent and don’t grow down the gullet. Today almost all of Pakistani TV male actors are sporting beards. There is however a problem with this profusion of facial hair. So many of them are sporting beards that they all look almost alike now.Here I want to aver most forcefully that I am not denigrating or ignoring our female actors. If any of them have the need, the desire, the ability and the opportunity to grow facial hair, they can do that too. Women actors with beards would be an improvement on Kinnaird College Dramatic Club actors sporting fake facial hair to portray Shakespearean characters.Now some perspective. It is not just cultural mores that determine physical attraction. Biological imperatives also come into play. Women prefer men with thick visible hair because that represents virility. On the other hand men prefer women along the ‘Rubenesque’ lines because such women are most suited for childbearing and child rearing.Of interest might be the story, probably apocryphal that it was Alexander the Great who mandated that all his soldiers should not have a beard. His reason was that a beard made it easier for an enemy to hold a person in close combat and injure him.But then we also have the story of Samson the Hebrew and Delilah the Philistine. Samson was a strong man and kept killing the Philistines often with an unusual weapon, the jawbone of an ass. So Delilah seduced Samson to find out the secret of his strength. The secret of Samson’s strength was in his long hair. Not having read the original story in the Old Testament, I do not know if the strength was just in the hair on the head or on the face too.However in the movie “Samson and Delilah” (1949), Victor Mature who plays Samson probably preferred to have his audience see him looking quite facially clean. What makes me particularly remember that movie is Hedy Lamarr who played Delilah. Hedy Lamarr in my opinion is the most beautiful woman that ever walked the silver screen and as I found out later in life was also one of the smartest (Google her!).To sort of cut a long story short, Delilah conspires to have Samson’s hair cut off. Samson loses his strength and is captured by the Philistines who blind him, chain him and bring him to their temple (bad move). In the temple, Delilah manages to bring Samson where he can hold the columns holding up the Temple. Delilah is now of course in love with Samson so conveniently forgets to tell the Philistines that Samson’s hair has grown back along with his strength. Samson then pushes the columns apart, the roof collapses and all Philistines are killed as well as Samson and Delilah.‘Samson Option’ is the name given to Israel’s undeclared nuclear capability. The idea is that Israel will use its Hebrew bombs only when it its own existence is threatened producing complete mutual destruction a la Samson and the Philistines.The writer is a former editor of the Journal of Association of Pakistani descent Physicians of North America (APPNA)Published in Daily Times, December 5th 2018.