The Threshold of Masculinity
November 3, 2013 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Facial hair on men. Point: "The beard implies a monastic indifference to worldly cares, a hermetic withdrawal from ordinary concerns, and a fixed focus on the higher mysteries, whether divine, philosophical, or the split-finger fastball." Counterpoint: "Enough. It's time we stop congratulating these men for simply presenting a secondary sexual characteristic with no accompanying display of follicular craft or even basic self-control."
posted by paleyellowwithorange (116 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Facial hair on men: Lazy, didn't shave today.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:06 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Missed point: the beards are a good luck charm that will be shaved off in the post season, often for charity: meet a certain donation goal, and they'll shave it off. They don't actually like wearing beards. Its superstition, not fashion.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:08 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


The whole "fuck yeah beards fuck yeah manhood" is mildly irritating to me, as a man who can't grow a beard. It's a weird fashion tic, like people freaking out over trucker hats or khakis or whatever, except with an extra dimension of "men we are men yay men go men". And perhaps because of that, people who normally don't get irritating about how people look get irritating about it.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:08 PM on November 3, 2013 [8 favorites]




My beard takes way more time and effort keep neat and trim and handsome then just choosing not to have one. Have these people been to a barber? Known a barber?
posted by The Whelk at 6:09 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


POINTLESS ANXIETY FOR PAGE VIEWS, THE ENTIRELY OF MODERN CIVILIZATION
posted by The Whelk at 6:10 PM on November 3, 2013 [24 favorites]


Bearded men are awesome. Also drunk and shirtless. At least, after winning the World Series.
posted by adamg at 6:16 PM on November 3, 2013


I don't think there was an exact moment that I knew my girlfriend was the one for me, but in retrospect there is an event that makes it seem obvious. "I just ate an entire pizza," I texted her. "Now my beard smells like cheese."

"OMG I love you," she wrote back.

But I flew too close to the sun. I grew my beard too long. She insisted that I shave it. I capitulated, even though it meant the destruction of vital songbird habitat.
posted by compartment at 6:24 PM on November 3, 2013 [23 favorites]


The thing is, when the beard actually does signify "a monastic indifference to worldly cares", your points and counterpoints are irrelevant. The wearer of the sincere hermetic beard does not care what you think, and therefore does not care whether you think the beard is sincerely hermetic or not. Self-justification is for poseurs.
posted by baf at 6:25 PM on November 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


The whole "fuck yeah beards fuck yeah manhood" is mildly irritating to me,

Sounds like somebody who can't—

as a man who can't grow a beard.

'Nuff said.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:28 PM on November 3, 2013 [16 favorites]


If Big Papi going 11 for 15 (yeah that's a .733 World Series batting average through 5 games) into Game 6 isn't "point" enough for the "counterpoint" crowd, then you counterpoint birds all jump up and show us something better than "Boston Strong." That man was definitely demonstrating, publicly, "a monastic indifference to worldly cares," until right after Game 6. All the Cardinals could do, finally, in Game 6, was intentionally walk him, and so he took those walks, and the beard wearing Red Sox took the Series, and the big man put on his champagne helmet and goggles.

Boston Strong, beards and all, indeed. And the Big Man knows how to dress for success.
posted by paulsc at 6:32 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


"The XX Factor" in general is one of the most terrible features of Slate, and this particular column is no different. Beards are amazing and I have actively encouraged my beau's facial hair development from modest chin strap to the mighty full faced-growth it is today. It is a handsome beard and all men who view it express the deepest of jealousy. If you can grow a beard, there is no question your face would be enhanced by its presence.

(and if you can't grow a beard, then dang, don't be ashamed of your clean-shaven face. Please do not be like my ex and grow something that looks like you swabbed your face with spirit gum and rolled around on the floor of a barbershop)
posted by schroedinger at 6:34 PM on November 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Winter's coming. Gotta protect those cheeks.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:35 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The beard implies a monastic indifference to worldly cares...

My beard usually implies that I was too lazy to shave for a few days and then decided "fuck it, I guess I have a beard now".

On preview: Also what benito.strauss said, a beard is like having a built in scarf during Pennsylvania winters.
posted by octothorpe at 6:39 PM on November 3, 2013


I grew one and then surveyed all the women who knew what I looked like both pre- and post- beard. The verdict was a clear beard victory.

Science!
posted by pmb at 6:43 PM on November 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


but growing a beard would negatively affect my drag coefficient when biking.
posted by hellojed at 6:45 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


... but may keep your face a bit warmer late in the biking season (that is, the immediate time before snow falls). Thus why I am growing one for now.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:46 PM on November 3, 2013


The whole "fuck yeah beards fuck yeah manhood" is mildly irritating to me,

Sounds like somebody who can't—

as a man who can't grow a beard.

'Nuff said.


I agree! The particulars of Rory Marinich's genetics are a cause for scorn, and this is not even a little bit exactly the abuse to which he objects.
posted by kafziel at 6:47 PM on November 3, 2013 [28 favorites]


This dude's ten day growth shown as an example is close to being my five.o.clock shadow, what gives.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 6:48 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am currently enhancing my beardiness, but that's only so I avoid looking like a gray haired, bespectacled Charlie Brown.
posted by Samizdata at 6:50 PM on November 3, 2013


And it's winter, and I live in the Midwest.
posted by Samizdata at 6:50 PM on November 3, 2013


Obligatory youtube link for You Should Consider Having Sex with a Bearded Man (by The Beards of course) (mildy NSFW?)
posted by joz at 6:59 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


but growing a beard would negatively affect my drag coefficient when biking.

I wish you'd stopped after coefficient.
posted by weeyin at 7:03 PM on November 3, 2013 [19 favorites]


"805* Living" is a local 'upscale lifestyle' magazine that has given its back page over to cartoonist Greg Clarke, and for the annual "Guys" issue, he gave us a semi-brilliant "Adventures in Facial Hair"

* 805 being the landline area code that incorporates Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and San Simeon as well as [chuckle] Lompoc and Oxnard.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:05 PM on November 3, 2013


Ahhh, the itching! The itching! The only thing I hate worse than shaving is having a beard, so I shave once a week, just to stave off the itching. It's also a pretty patchy affair overall, and even a month in, it just makes me look like a methed-out hick. I never get a "full" beard - just longer and longer, and itchier and itchier stubble.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:06 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Giving up and growing a beard was easier and cheaper than my old skin care regimen, which was 13 steps and required a flow chart.I believe It was designed by Mario Badescue for maximum profit, do I really need daily eye cream? Why two different moisturizers?

I do recommend the buttermilk moisturizer and the Glycolic Skin Renewal Emulsion though.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:09 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please do not be like my ex and grow something that looks like you swabbed your face with spirit gum and rolled around on the floor of a barbershop

Surprisingly, I did not know I was your ex until just now.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:11 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've spent pretty much my entire adult life going from more-or-less clean-shaven through to 10 or 20 days of growth, when it gets so itchy I mow it down with clippers, and the whole goddamn thing starts all over again. I have a full heavy black beard, and on the rare occasions I shave with a blade or electric razor I look like Fred Flintstone in about ten minutes. I very very rarely shave to the skin, and I very very rarely get beyond three weeks.

I'm with Devil's Rancher: The only thing I hate worse than shaving is having a beard. If I could do away with the whole business I would, in a second. I'd sign up for that before Lasic.

ALL THAT SAID: I liked the Red Sox beard actions and my favorite sub-plot to it is that Koji Uehara, arguably the MVP of their season (shuddup pedants, he's at least in the discussion) is one of the few high profile clean shaven players on the 2013 team, and it turns out he USED to be a beardo.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:15 PM on November 3, 2013


A beard beats the hell out of pseudofolliculitis barbae.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:16 PM on November 3, 2013


When did adults start using the word gross? I can't really take that seriously as a critique of beards.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:16 PM on November 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Stubble looks great but is horrible to kiss. I mean no big deal that you're lazy today Mr. Let's Make Out, but now my face is going to be red and burning for the next 24 hours.

Beards feel nearly as bad without even the virtue of looking good. Plus, how terrible is your face that it looks better half covered?

And if the beard is being grown out of solidarity to a sport's team...is there such a thing as a double deal breaker? I feel bad for female sports fans, who probably feel left out by the beard-growing-with-the-team fad, but honestly, anything that visibly marks someone as obsessed with sports is fine by me because it helps me avoid that many more football/baseball/whatever conversations.
posted by rue72 at 7:17 PM on November 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


I only know my own reason, which is that shaving is a chore and a bore.

I hack with scissors every once in a while.
posted by Repack Rider at 7:18 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've always preferred guys with beards, but I never got past the scruffy stage until this year. It's been fantastic. My boss likes it. My parents approve. Random dudes at street fairs make out with me. I look and occasionally feel wiser. It also enhances two of my three favorite sexual activities.

Beards: highly recommended.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:23 PM on November 3, 2013 [12 favorites]


Ah, so is life again imitating art?... The "beard" as worn by tech-savvy males and the deconstruction thereof is one of those cute little sub-plot-threads within the awesomeness that is... Cryptonomicon....
posted by jkaczor at 7:24 PM on November 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm really fascinated by the amount of beard-hate that some people seem to have.
posted by phenylphenol at 7:31 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shaving irritates my skin, and it's a apainintheass. I started growing winter beards a few years ago for those reasons, and because my girlfriend likes the beard. Last year's winter beard stayed for the summer, and has remained on the face for the fall. It's the longest I've had it. And I'm liking it more than I thought I would.*

When I saw the sox were sporting a variety of beards, I was PSYCHED. (Even more than when athletes generally started sporting dreads. I'm too thin-haired to do dreads. Think, Pickles the Drummer from Dethklok.) The sox's beards made the game fun on a different level, and also brought forth thoughts of early, turn-of-the-20th-century baseball players.

*Pros: It's GREAT insulation against New England winters. It's fun to see that my face is going gray before my head. I can go as either James A. Garfield or Rutherford B. Hayes to any costume event. Strong wind blowing through your beard feels beautiful. My girlfriend likes it! And I don't have to fuckin' shave.

Con: Anytime I stuff a sammich inna my mouf, I chomp down on the sides of my moustache.

posted by not_on_display at 7:34 PM on November 3, 2013


I agree! The particulars of Rory Marinich's genetics are a cause for scorn, and this is not even a little bit exactly the abuse to which he objects.

Dissect frogs, much?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:38 PM on November 3, 2013


Shiiiiit, got a beard like mine it's just a goddamn sin not to share it with the world baby. I'm a humanitarian.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:40 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Eh, I like either/or, as long as, as with all body hair, it is tidy and not full of funky shit.

The only unacceptable facial hair is the puberty moustache that looks like the owner scraped up some pubes from the shower drain and stuck them haphazardly onto their upper lip with some wood glue.
posted by elizardbits at 7:54 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


The beard implies that I hate shaving.
posted by orme at 7:56 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


The whole "fuck yeah beards fuck yeah manhood" is mildly irritating to me, as a man who can't grow a beard.

If it's any consolation, it's annoying to at least one bearded person, too.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:57 PM on November 3, 2013


Ahhh, the itching! The itching! The only thing I hate worse than shaving is having a beard, so I shave once a week, just to stave off the itching. It's also a pretty patchy affair overall, and even a month in, it just makes me look like a methed-out hick. I never get a "full" beard - just longer and longer, and itchier and itchier stubble.

The itching only lasts from about weeks two through three; after that there's no itching, plus no razor burn, ever.

It also enhances two of my three favorite sexual activities.

This is nicely open-ended, so to speak.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:04 PM on November 3, 2013


Heh. Beardos. I hate em. I grew mine because I needed a moustache to cover up the ugliest upper lip you ever saw. And moustaches alone make you look like a cop. It's been 25 years and now it's all white and gorgeous. Gotta keep it neat though, I don't want people thinking I'm some kinda hipster prophet o' god or something.
posted by evilDoug at 8:05 PM on November 3, 2013


According to my chronobarbometer, we as a civilization reach peak tonsorial insouciance in approximately 18 months. Then the pendulum once again begins its slow twenty-year sweep back towards glabrous fastidiousness. Barbonauts, brace for dehispidification!
posted by perhapsolutely at 8:17 PM on November 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Aww, beards. <3 I love beards. If it's any consolation to the men I put in the friend zone in my younger years, puppyishly following my suggestion to grow a beard was an unequivocal improvement for all of them (as for nearly any man).

I like the sports team beard fad. It's precious.

/beardopinions
posted by stoneandstar at 8:17 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some of of us rely on our beards as a means of showing where our necks end and our faces start.
posted by erlking at 8:22 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Beards Are Lazy, Gross, and Out of Control

Ugh, what's lazy, gross, and out-of-control is policing how other people look, goddamnit.
posted by erlking at 8:24 PM on November 3, 2013 [17 favorites]


Biosemiotics, also regular semiotics. Conspicuous consumption & honest signaling. A bit of information theory and a bit of postmodernism. I don't understand all the confusion here.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:27 PM on November 3, 2013


After the Sox won the series (GO SOX!), the players gathered on the field by a dais.

I was seized by a vision that they were going to go up, one by one, get shaved, and then they would ritually bury the hair on the field to guarantee future successful seasons.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:34 PM on November 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Man I wish women could understand for one SECOND what it feels like to endure such TORTUROUS scrutiny about our every lifestyle choice!!! MY CHIN MY CHOICE YOU FACIAL FASCISTS.

It's hard out here for a bro.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:44 PM on November 3, 2013 [15 favorites]


I was born old. When I was six, one of my mother's coworkers asked her when I stopped being a child. I spent the first three years of high school sporting a foofy teenage mustache and a lush chestnut-brown mullet that my mother liked a lot (she gave me my haircuts). At a formal dinner for prospective Clarkson University students, the usher asked me if I was an applicant or a graduate. At 29, I am older than 75% of the people at the company where I work.

No. No facial hair. Not ever. No.
posted by Nomyte at 8:52 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


“One of the beauties of the beard is that its lushness is polysemic, lending itself to an interpretive exuberance to match its flow,” Brody writes.

Here in Montana, some of us grow a winter beard because:

1. It's great to stop shaving, particularly when you are at elk camp.
2. It's insulation against the cold.
3. It's acceptable and almost expected for males.
4. Since we have no idea what the word, "polysemic" means, we can just stop shaving for a few months and stroke our beard thoughtfully.
posted by ITravelMontana at 9:05 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, I've had a beard since I was 18, except for 3 months in my very early 20s when I was working at a truck stop and was required to shave for that job. It was the shaving thing which had me continue my job search after finding that job, actually.

I like men with beards. I like the way a beard looks on me, and think that most men look better with facial hair. It's just the way I'm wired.

I'm now 15 months into growing my beard out after keeping it at #2 clipper guard length for most of my life. And I'm having a LOT of fun with the bigger beard. I look in the mirror and burst into a grin. It is a conversation starter for complete strangers. (I am a bit tired of the Duck Dynasty references at this point, but oh well...)

Having a long beard is definitely more work than having a short beard, which is less work than being clean shaven. The shampooing and conditioner routine I used to have for my long hair when I had long hair is now something I do to my face instead. There is a decided amount of brushing and combing which has to take place even before I get dressed because the beard needs to be not much drier than towel-dry if I'm going to tame it for the day. Training my moustache to part and curl up without using wax or some other product to keep it in place has been worth the effort for how it looks, but that, also, has taken quite a bit of time.

I've discovered the miracle of beard oil, which has done more to improve the quality and livability of my long beard than anything else. Less curly, incredibly soft, so well conditioned I can pull a fine-toothed comb through the beard without a single snag. Amazing stuff. I recommend it to anyone who wears a beard, unless you keep it REALLY short. Even my previous #2 clipper guard length would probably have benefited from using beard oil.

I have an excellent barber I visit every 5 weeks. He does good things to the hair on my head, and then does some very mild shaping to my giant beard, mostly in the sideburn areas, to keep the beard headed mainly on a downward path and not going out the sides of my face and making me look all wild and wooly.

A few things I've noticed about having a long beard:

1) it keeps your face cooler during the summer heat. This seems counter-intuitive at first, but your face sweats, your long beard collects that sweat and holds onto it, and then every slight breeze evaporates that moisture. it's like wearing a swamp cooler on your face.

2) it blows around in the wind. Like, I never realized exactly how odd (and vaguely annoying) it might be to have a beard blowing around in the wind. At times I find the wind-beard combination amusing, other times, it's just fecking annoying.

3) questionable beard landmarks arise, things you've never considered before. Like having to pull your beard out from under the shoulder strap of a car seatbelt when you get buckled in. Or finding you've caught a whisker from underneath your chin in the hinge of your eyeglasses. Or the one housecat who likes to snuggle not being in your lap as much anymore because your beard makes his ears twitch.

Anyway, I get that not everyone likes beards. Not everyone likes how they look, not everyone who could grow one wants to grow one. I do try to encourage the growing of beards as widely as possible, but that's largely a selfish impulse of mine, because I like looking at men with beards. I don't think beards are all that symbolic of monastic culture or rebellion or any of that nonsense. Beards are a choice, a choice I wish more men would make, but *shrug* That's just me.
posted by hippybear at 9:44 PM on November 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


The best thing about growing a beard is shaving it off. That one day your skin is so sensitive to the air it feels amazing.

Then you start over and have two weeks of hell before your beard stops itching.

But it is worth it because in 3 months you can have that one day again.
posted by srboisvert at 9:59 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


What's manlier: having a beard or having a very nice shaving setup?
posted by gucci mane at 10:00 PM on November 3, 2013


I have a beard, and have for a while. I shaved it off last week for a Halloween costume, and halfway through was just like OH GOD WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I DONE.

Now I look kind of like an earthworm.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:12 PM on November 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


What's manlier: having a beard or having a very nice shaving setup?

A girl dropped and broke my container of aftershave, and it was a horrible day in my life.

My shaving routine has been getting pretty shoddy, actually: now my safety razor's in the shower with a kind-of dull blade. Maybe I should look into spiffifying it up a little bit. A good shave feels nice as all hell.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:12 PM on November 3, 2013


I have a beard. Sometimes I miss being clean-shaven, but the two girls in my life, 6 and 13, have told me this is not an option.

Anyways, Ryan Hurst is my patron-saint for not shaving, since he shows what power is lost when you cut the holy beard.
posted by honestcoyote at 11:01 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


something that looks like you swabbed your face with spirit gum and rolled around on the floor of a barbershop

Also known as "The Keanu".
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:07 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm kinda glad I have to shave for work now, because keeping my skin clean under the thing was next to impossible. I tried a bunch of different shampoos, skin care products of one stripe or another, nothing stopped the flaky, scaly, irritated skin from being just unmanageably awful, and the beard was thick enough that I couldn't even see how awful my skin looked. When I finally gave up and shaved it off, it took weeks for the redness and itching to subside, but now you can't tell that it ever looked bad.
As much as I hate shaving, I hate shedding huge rafts of dead skin all the time a lot worse.
Someday, maybe I will grow a little goatee or something, but probably no more than that.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:23 PM on November 3, 2013


but growing a beard would negatively affect my drag coefficient when biking.

I wish you'd stopped after coefficient.
I first grew a full beard over winter break my senior year in college, mainly out of laziness. I shaved it all off after returning to campus, only to have several people tell me that the beard looked better. With the exception of one road trip, I've had and enjoyed it ever since. But it does "negatively affect my drag". With my long hair, I used to be able to confuse people as to my gender (at least at first glance), even without any efforts with clothes or styling. Now that I have a beard, that happens much less often, and almost never from the front.
posted by JiBB at 11:36 PM on November 3, 2013


I'm really fascinated by the amount of beard-hate that some people seem to have.

Personally I think it's hilarious.

If you see me walking down the street and you find my bare feet, long hair and/or full beard offensive, please understand that I present myself that way at least in part to enjoy the deliciousness of offending people just like you.
posted by flabdablet at 1:16 AM on November 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Beard research.
posted by brokkr at 1:27 AM on November 4, 2013


I'm generally anti- people who feel the need to control how others look. However, I wish I could stop a couple of my favorite actors from growing ill-advised beards between gigs to project ill-fitting images (true indifference doesn't seem a likely motivation for actors; an image of indifference otoh ...). It's probably not a coincidence that my favorites tend to carry beards poorly. They come across as ~rebelling against type, images that have proven to work for them.

There is no reason to judge ordinary people for beards, or assume that they're trying to project a certain image. Let live.
posted by fatehunter at 1:37 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey, dirtdirt: you can have that facial hair removed if you want. If your hair is very dark, you're probably a good candidate for laser treatment. It's not the cheapest thing in the world, but it's not as expensive as LASIK.
posted by Hildegarde at 2:19 AM on November 4, 2013


On the off-chance that no one else has linked to this:

a wee beard-shaving cartoon posted on Imgur not too long ago
posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 2:37 AM on November 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't think beards are that hard to maintain. I just run an electric razor over it every few days. I've never really cared that much how it looks, I just really, really loathe shaving.
posted by empath at 2:54 AM on November 4, 2013


I grew a beard over the summer holidays and when I went to drop off my kid at school several mums in the playground came over and touched it, some without even asking. I knew I was keeping it after that.
posted by colie at 3:08 AM on November 4, 2013


I've had a beard on-and-off (but mostly on) for the last 25 years or so, mostly because I hate shaving and work in a field where I could more easily get away with it. I grew one because I hate shaving, and my spouse likes it, but I used to be driven mad by it after a point and would shave it off before starting over again.
I was kind of glad when beards made a resurgence, but now I'm not so sure; I don't like being part of a trend because of my own stupid pretend iconoclasm. I also don't like the big but ultra-cultivated beard look; it's incongruous. I understand keeping it out of your mouth, or from crawling up below your eyes, or reducing the giant neckbeard, but a laser-like razor line around a big beard makes it look more like CGI topiary than a beard.
posted by Red Loop at 3:42 AM on November 4, 2013


"The World Series ended on Wednesday when the St. Louis Cardinals were defeated by Mumford and Sons," reported Cecily Strong during "Weekend Update."
posted by kinetic at 4:02 AM on November 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


I also loathe shaving, and have a couple of moles situated on my chin and mustache zone- it's inevitable that I slice at least one of them when full-shaving, so I gave that up.

I do kind of shrug when someone says, "Nice beard!"- I trim it every so often, sure, but the niceness of my beard has more to do with genetic luck than grooming diligence.
posted by maus at 4:23 AM on November 4, 2013


relatedly, in case anyone hadn't caught it: facial hair went chin-to-chin in the 2013 world beard championships in Germany last Saturday.
posted by idlethink at 4:39 AM on November 4, 2013


I've had a goatee for 23 years and after recently being admitted to hospital thought "I'm here for a while let's grow a full beard".
It was glorious and I was a convert.

The anaesthetist for my second op was not impressed, "It'll be safer to shave it off" the evil sleep monkey said. "Hey" I thought "The beard decision was a good one, I haven't seen my chin for 23 years lets shave it all off".

I now look like Gru from Despicable Me and the razors are in the bin.
It'll be a lot longer than 23 fucking years before my chin sees another sunrise.
posted by fullerine at 4:51 AM on November 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why have I grown a beard three times in my life? Because I could, and it made a change, and I got bored with shaving. Jesus, talk about over-analysis. Sometimes things do not have deep hidden meanings.
posted by Decani at 5:08 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know where this fits in to the debate, but I feel compelled to report that Mike Napoli has been spotted tending bar and wandering around Boston shirtless.
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:21 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know where this fits in to the debate, but I feel compelled to report that Mike Napoli has been spotted tending bar and wandering around Boston shirtless.

It fits in the "Boston is the greatest city on earth" debate (which isn't really a debate at all, so secure are we). And we thank you.
posted by kinetic at 5:37 AM on November 4, 2013


I have sort of a narrow ZZ Top beard. I think it makes my face look more feminine, actually. I can't grow long luxurious locks on top of my head, so might as well grow some in front of it.
posted by Foosnark at 6:09 AM on November 4, 2013


Plus, how terrible is your face that it looks better half covered?

I have a pretty weak chin. My face looks better half covered. I wouldn't call it terrible, but there you go.

Plus I have this cool thing where the hair towards the middle of my beard gets blonde and reddish. Oh and both of my kids really enjoy(ed) using it to scratch their head. That right there is worth having it. So's being able to stroke it thoughtfully.

On the other hand, the beard as "Symbol of Manliness" is annoying to me as every other fad that involves something I happen to genuinely like (don't get me started on crappy bacon being thrown on everything). My plan is to go around being quietly happy with my beard, listening to ZZ-Top, and nodding along in agreement with rants about how stupid the idea that having a beard makes you anything but somebody with hair on your chin is.
posted by Gygesringtone at 6:11 AM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


My wife has forbidden me from shaving. I'm 40 but look 12 when clean shaven. She doesn't want to be arrested as a pedophile.
posted by charred husk at 6:13 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Blackadder II was the the only really handsome one. QED.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:16 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like to think that Ke$ha was being sincere when she said she liked my beard.
posted by dr_dank at 6:34 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


And yet no love* for moustaches. Which means more people need to see Al Pacino in Serpico and that no one overanalyses my choice in facial hair.

*Movember is more like hate of moustaches

posted by ersatz at 7:08 AM on November 4, 2013


Shaving is indeed a chore, but I always feel better afterward for it. I think you have to go back about four generations to find a family member who routinely kept a mustache, much less a beard. When I have time off, I'm tempted not to shave, and will go for a few days, but there comes a point where my reluctance to shave is overwhelmed by the desire to see my face freed from the encroaching hairy prison and I reach for my cheap razor and shave victoriously.
posted by Atreides at 7:18 AM on November 4, 2013


This weekend my dad told me he's working on growing his, already zz top quality beard and hair, out long enough so he can put both of them into a ponytail...

'... because they're just a pain in the ass until they get that long.'

I love my dad.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:35 AM on November 4, 2013


I'm generally anti- people who feel the need to control how others look. However, I wish I could stop a couple of my favorite actors from growing ill-advised beards between gigs to project ill-fitting images (true indifference doesn't seem a likely motivation for actors; an image of indifference otoh ...).

I got out of the Navy about two and a half years ago, and until then, had spent my whole adult life in it. One of the first things I did when I got out was grow a beard, not because I didn't care, but because I could. At 18, I couldn't do it, but eventually I grew out some fun facial hair. Over the last few years, I've alternated hair styles and beard/mustasche combinations, and it's fun. Beards do have several advantages, though going clean shaven offers some pretty cool things too.

The point I guess I was going for is that I understand why an actor, that must keep themselves normally in the role their acting out (and usually clean shaven and short haired to aid with costuming) would say "I'm going to grow a beard!" when the opportunity finally presents itself, especially if they know they only have so long before they have to shave it off. Sometimes it's just a great time dressing up because you can, and what is a beard other than a pair of overalls for your face?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:55 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sometimes it's just a great time dressing up because you can, and what is a beard other than a pair of overalls for your face?

No one liked my high concept Halloween costume idea, baseball cap, sunglasses, beard, t-shirt, sweat pants, water bottle : Celebrity In-between Projects.
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 AM on November 4, 2013


Gosh, who knew? People have opinions about things!
posted by eric1halfb at 8:20 AM on November 4, 2013


I don't wear a beard because they're a pain to grow/maintain, and also I don't need anything to make my fat stupid face look any *bigger*.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:27 AM on November 4, 2013


gucci mane: "What's manlier: having a beard or having a very nice shaving setup?"

Why choose? I use a nice shaving setup to keep the neck and cheeks smooth, and the remainder of my face is hirsute.

I generally keep it trimmed pretty short, but right now the approach of another Minnesota winter is making me contemplate letting it go wild for a few months before the inevitable Spring pruning.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:33 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you see me walking down the street and you find my bare feet, long hair and/or full beard offensive, please understand that I present myself that way at least in part to enjoy the deliciousness of offending people just like you.

That's how I'm starting to feel about my fedora.
posted by malocchio at 8:50 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Potomac Avenue: "Man I wish women could understand for one SECOND what it feels like to endure such TORTUROUS scrutiny about our every lifestyle choice!!! MY CHIN MY CHOICE YOU FACIAL FASCISTS.

It's hard out here for a bro.
"

They're femsplaining, amirite?
posted by IAmBroom at 9:59 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I keep hearing beards being characterized as "aggressive manliness" or whatever but honestly I'm just trying to achieve a Hirsute Professor vibe.

Maybe I just need more bowties
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:11 AM on November 4, 2013


I'm about 6 weeks into a beard for my first time. I'm surprised how good it looks. But it's nearly all white, and little kids stare at me, especially when I wear my red hoody. The biggest surprise is how it made my face look thinner.
posted by Goofyy at 10:12 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes my face looks fat and stupid without a beard, or excessively boyish. I had long hair for awhile and upon cutting the beard was horrified with the look. I'm the kind of guy who always looks better in a beard, whether or not the viewer is a fan of beards anyone who has ever known me enough to be petitioned has confirmed that my duty is to rock the Riker.
posted by lordaych at 10:15 AM on November 4, 2013


The particulars of Rory Marinich's genetics are a cause for scorn, and this is not even a little bit exactly the abuse to which he objects.

Rory said he was irritated that anyone finds beards attractive or masculine because he's unable to grow one. I guess the MeFi holier-than-thou crusade is now taking up cause against letting genetically influenced physical features effect anyone's subjective perception of attractiveness? Truly a bold move.
posted by crayz at 10:50 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, the world is full of people who are really eager to judge men's presentational choices.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:57 AM on November 4, 2013


I've had a beard since I was 16. Shaved it off a few times for short periods, but I get bad infections from ingrown hairs if I go clean shaven for very long. I have several hairs growing out of each follicle, and they are curly. Even tried having barbers do it, but there is no shaving regimen that doesn't end up with me having a beard of infection where the hair is supposed to be.

In other words, I have a beard because I have to have a beard, not because I'm trying to make a statement or for anybody else's benefit. Anybody who has a problem with how I look is welcome to their discomfort, because I don't give a fuck.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:01 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm just glad that my laziness is now fashionable.
posted by josher71 at 11:25 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The first time my husband tried growing a beard, when we were in our 20s, it looked AWFUL, and I complained ferociously until he shaved it off.

We are now in our 40s, and a couple years ago he tried it again. This time around, it looks fantastic! No scraggly patchy mess, and it is gorgeously salt and pepper. He keeps it well trimmed and wears it very well.
posted by MissySedai at 12:31 PM on November 4, 2013


My beard used to grow in a kind of deep orange/brownish in contrast my blond hair. I loved it. Especially as my dad and my brother both cannot grow beards at all.

My wife hates the beard. So I went without for years and years. Now, when I get a chance to grow it out, it has many white/gray hairs in it. Worst of all, what hasn't gone gray has lost the reddish tint and is now just generic dirty blond.

I has a sad.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:52 PM on November 4, 2013


You could make one out of candy corn and wear it on special occasions.
posted by elizardbits at 12:53 PM on November 4, 2013


Or Tandy Porn
posted by lordaych at 1:19 PM on November 4, 2013


I have a beard because I have essential tremor. It's nothing to do with my estimation of my masculinity. I don't want to fucking cut my face. I thought I could solve the problem with an electric shaver, but then I lost the charger for the damn thing. Has anyone ever tried to figure out which replacement charger to buy for an electric shaver? Good luck. And I'm not just going to shell out for another shaver; those things are expensive, and I'd probably just lose the charger again.

Beard it is.
posted by trip and a half at 1:26 PM on November 4, 2013


I'm still hoping that one day my sideburns, moustache and goatee will decide to join forces. Without the help of testosterone supplements.
posted by moorooka at 5:18 PM on November 4, 2013


...my father’s snarky suggestion, when I first grew a beard, that I might try out for the House of David. (He had to explain the reference to the barnstorming teams—featuring bearded and long-haired players—that were formed by a Christian sect that looked back to ancient Israel

Holy crap, I thought Buddy Rich made that up.
posted by thelonius at 5:58 PM on November 4, 2013


Or Tandy Porn

"You're 8-bit trash," Big Five snarled nastily, before braking down in tears, "But I can't keep my games off of you! Please, Atari never needs to know... but load me! Load me now!"
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:53 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The point I guess I was going for is that I understand why an actor, that must keep themselves normally in the role their acting out (and usually clean shaven and short haired to aid with costuming) would say "I'm going to grow a beard!" when the opportunity finally presents itself, especially if they know they only have so long before they have to shave it off.

This makes sense. Also the last point... so much potential for melancholy. I can see an actor standing before the mirror the day before the shoot, raising his hand to touch the beard, then stopping.

"We had a good run," he whispers.
posted by fatehunter at 8:00 PM on November 4, 2013


I was facial-hair free until I was thirty and never considered growing a beard until I got lazy one long weekend and just didn't shave - and by the next week, I had a beard and I like the way my face looks with a beard. (And, to be honest, I didn't much like the look of my face before the beard, so I wish I'd grown one ten years earlier!)

I've only shaved it off once - making a short film where I was playing Groucho Marx, with painted on moustache. And then I trimmed it into some truly awful facial hair for a 70s party recently.

I'll never shave it off again. You can't make me.
posted by crossoverman at 8:37 PM on November 4, 2013


Beards are trendy right now. In a few years they won't be. I like them on some men--though the fact that I only know two (usually) clean-shaven guys under the age of sixty in my entire extended social circle is kind of ridiculous (This has not always been the case). Facial hair for men tends to follow a similar (though not exactly parallel) cycle as hair styles for women. We're in a giant beard and long straight hair phase right now. In a few years we may be back to skinny mustaches and spiral perms and the devotedly hairy will stay beardy and the ubiquitous urban lumberjack continqent will maybe start wearing powdered wigs or pleated trousers or really anything other than skinny jeans and plaid shirts. Who knows?
posted by thivaia at 9:38 PM on November 4, 2013


I WANT TIGHT WHITE STOCKINGS TO SHOW OFF MY MEATY CALVES.

MAKE THIS HAPPEN, FASHION.
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 PM on November 4, 2013


Check out this shaving cream. that's what I'm talking about.Shit has organic calendula extract. Why can I only get like Barbasol and extreeem koolshave gel at the Duane Reade but they got like 5000 eyeliners. Let us have like half an isle at least Duane Reade.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:45 PM on November 6, 2013


On the off-chance that no one else has linked to this:

a wee beard-shaving cartoon posted on Imgur not too long ago


That shaving cartoon, redone in live action.
posted by hippybear at 5:25 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was too young to remember, but I'm told that I was scared when my Dad grew a beard. It seems odd, because I remember seeing pictures of us together when he had it, and I was smiling in all of them. including the one where I'm sitting on his lap. But he shaved it and then picked on me about it for the next decade.

On the other side of the coin, a bearded friend of mine recently shaved for a show, and his nine-year-old daughter, who had never seen him clean-shaven, ran screaming when she saw the strange, small-chinned man in her father's clothes, picking her up in her father's car.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:20 AM on November 7, 2013


I have perfect vision. And once, way back when, I had a full beard for well over a year. My boss hired me with the beard and had only ever known me with the beard. One day, a year and change into my tenure there, I decided to shave it off.

The next day he comes into my office, stops, and says "did you get glasses?"
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:44 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heh, when I shaved off my depression beard and went to the bar without my glasses, the Long Time Bartender Friend kinda squinted and went " Did you ...have work done?"
posted by The Whelk at 3:45 PM on November 7, 2013


I always say to people who shave off their facial hair, with a bit of alarm in my voice, "Something has happened to your face!"
posted by hippybear at 4:55 PM on November 7, 2013


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