Last week Anthony Clavane exhorted us to ban the beard
As an actor facial hair is doubly useful - for you can go up for bearded parts as well as unbearded ones. A beard can come off in the flash of a razor but growing one takes time, so if unbearded you could lose out to the bearded actor.

To cite, as Anthony Clavane does in many of his instances, facial hair as unclean is but to emphasise how much cleaner men with beards must be. If they aren't that is not the fault of the facial hair but its owner ... who would probably be unapproachable anyway.

Peter Porteous

Chichester, W Sussex

(A grey-bearded member of British Actors Equity, 31095)

Utility, not style or rebellion explains my having a beard for most of my adulthood. I scorn equally the pitiable slavish mass of shorn sheep and those who affect facial topiary. Not shaving suffices. Maintenance is a daily head/ face/neck shampoo and intermittent general shearing. Once a hospital doctor, now a GP, on duty for days and nights at a time, my appearance is unchanging.

Notorious anal retentives such as Thatcher, Perot and Disney are no ornament to the pogonophobic cause. Shaving, hairstyling, cosmesis and couture, all vulgar superficial artifice, evince greater psychopathology than does accepting unfeigned reality.

Dr Steven Ford

Haydon Bridge, Northumberland

Do we need beards? Yes! Given that we now often go clothed unisexedly, the main indicators of masculinity are testosterone-induced beardedness and baldness.

I cannot understand how men who would go berserk at any other slight on their masculinity and potency spend enormous amounts of cash, time, emotion and general angst on trying to cover the bald skull and shave the hairy chin - how illogical can you get?

Come on, real men are bearded and tend to go bald, and we love them!

Ann Duncombe

Menstrie, Scotland

May I point out that despite the calls for clean-shaven faces, those of us in the Handlebar Club find there is a liking by very many female members of the populace judging from the interest and compliments that we receive. Among questions frequently asked are "Does it tickle?" and on one occasion in Eastern Europe I was asked just that by a young woman in a crowded restaurant. I then dutifully held the young lady in an embrace in order that she could determine the answer to such a kiss. This met with a roar of approval from all the customers and I enjoyed the added benefit of a complimentary bottle of wine from the manager.

David Stones

PR for the Handlebar Club

Wembley, Middlesex