Just Say No … To Beards

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Just Say No   To Beards Joaquin Phoenix1 288x445 jpgFor the last time, beards are not attractive.

There seems to be a strange and inexplicable preponderance of men growing enormous grizzly beards.

Sometimes, men do this for the right reason. There is only one right reason, as was suggested by a friend of mine, and that reason is “to become a pirate.” Becoming a pirate is a great idea, and these jolly fellows do seem like the kind of people who would have large unkempt beards (also, scurvy). The other explanation for growing a beard, which is not quite right, but at least understandable, is a desire to cover up part of your visage. Beards are a great tool for men with glaring facial difficulties. For instance, if a man had no chin, or bad acne, or a weird birthmark on his lower jaw, then by all means, he ought to grow a beard, which is the equivalent of slapping a paper bag or shrubbery on half your face. (It often puzzles me that so few productions of The Phantom of the Opera feature the Phantom sporting an enormous beard.) However, some other men – some otherwise good looking men – seem to grow facial hair under the mistaken impression that beards are attractive, and they will look more attractive because they have them. They are wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong.

This isn’t a subjective thing, either. I admit, I may be less into men who look like they’re going out to chop down some beautiful rainforests and not replant than some women (i.e. blind women) but then, we each have our own stylistic preferences. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all, except when it comes to beards. In defense of this I present a list of men with beards and men without.

Men with beards:
Santa Claus
Osama Bin Laden
Abraham Lincoln
Creepy Wilderness Man Tom Hanks in that movie with the volleyball
Jesus Christ
Karl Marx
Ernest Hemingway

Men Without Beards:
Cary Grant
Any male model in a given woman’s magazine
Jude Law
Young, Attractive Robert Redford (or rather, Jay Gatsby.)
Mr. Darcy
Cato the Younger – the sexiest man alive, ever.
Younger, friendlier looking Tom Hanks in movies with other people, not volleyballs.
Alexander Hamilton, our most attractive president that never was president
F. Scott Fitzgerald

The difference between the two lists? Well, women may have strong feelings about people in the first list, but they do not generally find them attractive. They certainly do not lust after them. Many women seem willing to go on at length with me about, say, Cary Grant, but when Karl Marx comes up in the conversation no one is ever all “Oooh! Now there’s a good looking man!” And I am certain that, regardless of his political views, if he were a good looking man it would be mentioned. I guess Jesus Christ could be considered attractive but I think you’d be seriously surprised if anyone mentioned it. You would be downright shocked if someone confessed to having a crush on and/or wild fantasies regarding Jesus (well, you’d be shocked, but to be fair you’d probably also find her a really, really interesting person, at least I would. Ditto Santa Claus.)

This is because the men with beards are not good looking, and more than that, the beard/no beard comparison says something rather vital about how they manage their time. The men in the beardless list seem like they had time to maintain their personal appearance and therefore, probably also have time to spend seducing and lavishing attention on women. The men in the beard list, however, seem to have very little time, often because they are on the run from American CIA operatives. Shaving your beards will send an instant message to women – not just that you have a jaw line but also that you have time to spend with them.

But it’s not just the fact that they’re ugly that bothers me. If it was just bad judgment on the part of the beard grower, I think I could deal with it. It’s the inherent issue of gender inequality in beard growth that really gets my goat. Men have a teeny, tiny portion of their face which they’re required to shave once a day. Teeny. Tiny. Meanwhile, women are expected to shave the entirety of their legs at least every other day. If a man decides he’s too lazy to shave that teeny facial portion people will just assume he’s growing a beard and accept it. If a woman decides she’s too lazy to shave her legs, then all of a sudden she becomes the weird hippie girl who doesn’t shave her legs. Nobody would ever just assume that a woman was lazy; they’d assume she had some odd political cause of which she was upholding the principles. That’s not fair.

So you men out there, you men with the grizzly beards, today, change yourselves for the better. Today, say that you’re going to strike a blow for gender equality, and also, physical attractiveness. And just say no to beards.