I need some input on physical appearance in the context of academic job interviews, videlicet (I guess in the US you say viz) facial hair. I am contemplating shaving off my beard. What began as an exercise in laziness now has taken on experimental forms and I do want to see how long I can grow it. However, I am getting mixed reactions on my beard (including from myself). I personally find it rather annoying, except for the times I go running by the lake (makes my face warmer, which is important when running in Chicago) and when I want to be cozy (old jeans, flannel shirts, a book and, well, my beard as face blanket). Then, I heard that beards are all the rage for Hipsters at the moment (guess I haven’t been over in Wicker Park in a while). Some of my students told me they liked it, but then those students also live in Wicker Park. At the conference this weekend, someone told me that I looked like an 18th century German thinker with the beard while giving my talk, which, I believe, is in the US still an insult (regarding the difficulty of Hegel’s Phenomenology and such–which was technically published in 1807–but I think the remark was intended to go into the Hegelian/Marxian, hence 19th century, rather than into a Kantian, direction–actually, I have no idea, if Kant had spectacular facial hair at some point). So: I cannot really decide and figured I would make my decision contingent upon the job market.
Should I get some interviews, I wonder if beardless, or very beardfull would be the better way to go. Do schools want young and fresh (i.e. cleanly shaven), or serious and contemplative (i.e. bushy bearded). I guess it depends on the school–for some traditional programs I should probably add a pipe to the beard and for other schools I should shave and show off some of my tattoos (well, actually that may not be the case except for two schools I am applying to that do VERY non-traditional stuff).
So, I may just defer to the majority. Any suggestions: beard or no beard for the job market?