On my most recent visit back to my hometown, my mother brought out an old photo album containing a selection of snaps of her three sons––myself and my two brothers––all taken when we were very young. Offering little by way of explanation, she smilingly asked if I could identify who was who among the three of us in the pictures. At first, I couldn’t distinguish anyone but, after a while, I started to notice something strange. One of the young infants in the pictures had a faint but discernible beard.
As I stared at the open album in front of me, I was engulfed by a stream of confused thoughts. How could a baby have a beard?
It was simply astonishing and flew in the face of everything I had ever been taught or learned from textbooks. Everybody knows that male facial hair appears as a result of increased testosterone production during teenage puberty, I thought. So was the error in the textbooks or in the body of this little bearded boy in front of me?