When hundreds of pipe smokers congregate for a pipe show, common characteristics become noticeable, aside from everyone smoking pipes.
Pipe shows have a different demographic from the general population, skewing to a more advanced age with more men than women attending. That's why, at pipe shows, most obvious is the preponderance of facial hair, and I'm not referring to unruly eyebrows with independent and fulfilling lives of their own (of which there are many, generally in even numbers, with some exceptions) or ear hair (it's a cruel joke that our manly ears grow more hair than our heads after age 50), or that greatest of indignities, nose hair, which in some cases should be braided into existing mustaches. It's nice to see so many young people and women at shows now, people who don't have hair sprouting from places we'd rather it didn't, but they're still outnumbered by old guys like me.
There are a lot of beards at pipe shows. Full beards, long beards, short beards, goatees, sideburns and mustaches of all styles are everywhere evident. You can't throw a cat in any direction without it fetching up in one beard or another, yowling in disapproval and clawing for purchase among the follicles. (Sadly, show officers have grown wise to that trick, and I've been asked to retire my cat-throwing arm.)
Maybe our attraction to pipes is a symptom of a general respect for the past.
It's been speculated that pipe smokers gravitate to facial hair because of an inherent appreciation for the traditional: Pipes and beards, wrist watches (and pocket watches), pocket knives and quality pens are all at home at a pipe show. Maybe our attraction to pipes is a symptom of a general respect for the past.
We do seem to appreciate history, with an interest in historical pipe smokers and an attraction to pipes and tobaccos of earlier eras. However, I'm not sure that historical fascination can account for all the acreage of facial hair in our community.
I have an alternate theory: Pipe smoking makes one so content that the idea of shaving seems insignificant. When we're communing with the universe over a bowl of Virginias, as the mysteries of the cosmos unravel before our pipe smoking consciousnesses, when we're contemplating the great philosophical mysteries of humanity, getting up to shave is simply ridiculous.
That's why so many male pipe smokers have beards. All pipe smokers are thinkers, and we have better things to think about than shaving.