To Beard or not to Beard?

Men’s facial hair is a hot topic these days.

Beards, mustaches, stubble, five o’clock shadow… it seems that being clean-shaven is just not that cool anymore.

So, what’s driving this latest bit of hairy manliness? Is it ego, is it a male identity crisis, or is it that all the models in GQ magazine are coated in a perfectly coiffed 1/16” of stubble from their chins to their upper lips to their sideburns.  I don’t really know and I only have a limited amount of life history to look back on.

I was born in 1967, so the 1970’s with its big bushy porno star mustaches is the first decade of facial hair that I really have any recollection. The 1980’s, when I was leaving the realm of teenager hood and becoming an adult, seemed to me to be a relatively clean-cut decade with its short, clean-cut business haircuts and preppy clothing. Then the 1990’s rolled in with its Kurt Cobain grunginess and facial hair in all its wild variations started to come back into fashion. Now it’s the 21st century and as I said earlier, men’s facial hair is a hot topic.

So…  what do you think… “to beard or not to beard?” That is the question.

Personally, I hate shaving! No, I don’t just hate shaving, I despise shaving. I avoid shaving as much as possible.  I limit it to, at most, two to three times a week. That whole “Art of Shaving” branding thing… screw that… shaving is just a pain in the ass. Part of the problem is when I shave I look like I’m about 15 years old for the first 12 hours until a little bit of shadow starts to show up again. So I prefer to keep a few days of stubble on my face. I haven’t broken down enough yet to go out and buy one of those electric razors that allow you to keep that perfect amount of stubble on your face at all times.

But believe me… it’s on the list of things to consider purchasing in life.

I’ve grown a full beard once in my life, back in 2002. My Mom was sick and it was one of those life changing events. They say that Men often grow their beards when they experience a life changing event. So, I let it go for about six weeks at which point the itchiness became so unbearable that I went to a barber shop and had them buzz it off. I was hoping they would do a full soap shave with a straight razor and hot towels, maybe even a glass of whiskey on the side. But they wouldn’t, so I let them buzz it off with one of those electric razors that you cut your dog’s hair with… lame.

So, I guess having a beard is kind of a pain in the ass too.

The circle beard seems to be the beard of choice these days in my part of the world, at least. Many people call it a goatee, but I’ve read that a goatee is actually just the chin part of it and when you add the mustache part, it’s called a circle beard. Whatever… it’s popular, even though in many cases, I think it makes people look scary, especially when combined with a shaved head.

My personal beard preference is the Jesus beard. Yep, I think Jesus had an awesome beard, not too long, not too short, and combined with long flowing hair. You have to have a good chin to have a good Jesus beard. Of course, none of us really know what Jesus really looked like so we go with what we see in paintings of him. But you’ve got to admit, the “Americanized” version of Jesus has a great beard.


Barry Gibb had a good Jesus beard.

barry gibb

The 1970’s era Lindsey Buckingham also had a great Jesus Beard. His hair had a little more of that afro look, but still a great beard.

lindsay buckingham

There are plenty of others, but those few stand out in my mind.

So, what’s the verdict… “to beard or not to beard?” Hairy or smooth? Stubble or clean as a baby’s  bottom?

What do you think?

Hairy, inquiring people wanna know!


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34 responses to “To Beard or not to Beard?

  1. No Shave Never! That’s what I say.

  2. Ah, the Jesus beard rocks! My husband is constantly complaining about shaving. I don’t blame him at all. The problem he has is if he doesn’t shave for one day, he has a full beard. And it’s totally annoying, prickly and itchy. I really feel for you guys. But then, us women have to pluck our eyebrows so it all evens out.

  3. Ahh, the Jesus beard is pretty dreamy. And I feel completely creepy for just typing that. My husband just recently shaved his beard and now his face is weirding me out. I guess I got used to the whole Lumberjack look! I say beard away!

    • Well, apparently we have lots of votes for the popularity of the Jesus beard so I think you can feel okay. Your husband’s face may look a little different not only because it’s beardless, but I found when I shaved mine off, the skin underneath had become so incredibly smooth from no sun, no razors, no wind, no elements, that it looked a little weird too

  4. Cheryl

    Love the Jesus beard! But it has to be kept neat. My husband has the scruffy look going on. He only shaves about 3 times a week. I like him with a full beard the best though. My son has had a goatee (or circle beard) since he was 16 yrs old (he’s 24 now). I kept complaining that he didn’t shave enough so one day he came out of the bathroom with the goatee. I swear he only shaved half his face to bug me! LOL! But now I can’t imagine him without it. The one thing I really hate is the “pot scrubber”… you know, when you guys shave and only let the hair on your chin grow… and grow… and grow… I can’t stand that.

  5. bigsheepcommunications

    The stubbly look seems to be big in Hollywood these days, but I just don’t get it. Either shave or don’t shave, you know?

  6. Pingback: On Religion and Pop Culture |

  7. It is a poignant connection you draw between the fashions of religion and pop culture. We thank you for your contribution to Beard Related Studies!

  8. Love Jesus, love Lindsay Buckingham and love Barry Gibb.

    And yet.

    I’m not a fan of the beard. Maybe it’s because my husband can’t grow one yet.

  9. I have the circle beard – like it – though it doesn’t save me from shaving, Actually it is more work than a clean shave. The Jesus beard is good, but not for me…. but I also let the top grow, too and it’s kind a wild and fun. I am past the time when I worry what people think. So, if ya wanna – let it grow, baby!

    • Clay you make an excellent point. Sometimes its just not worth worrying about what people think. That could apply to many things in our lives. And I agree that having a clean trimmed beard is probably much more work and effort than shaving!

  10. I had a beard when i was young but would never go back to it again.

  11. i would go full-tilt Santa if I could, but a neatly-trimmed circle is more appropriate to the clinic job. If I were still working hospitals, I couldn’t have any facial hair at all, not even sideburns. FACE SHAVING SUCKS.

    • It is interesting how lots of workplaces frown upon facial hair. I guess in places like hospitals and food service it could be a sanitation thing, but seems like there were times in our history when beards were much more common than they are now. In any case, I agree, face shaving sucks!

  12. GOF

    You’ve gotta go the beard. Preferably a Jesus beard which will develop into a ZZ Top beard as you ‘mature’. You’ll save $867 in razor blades over a lifetime and protect yourself from skin cancer of the face. Case closed. 🙂

  13. Richard Wiseman

    Hi buddy.Good to see you back. I was born in 1965 and I’m with you on the beard thing. I hate shaving, but I don’t look good with a beard. I do one of those thin line beards with a narrow goatee now and again and that suits me a little, but takes a too much trimming. Anyway you’re right beards are in, but we’re having a late sixties /early seventies retro style thing… next up it’ll be flares, ‘high waisters’ and tank tops once again.

    • Cheryl

      “…we’re having a late sixties /early seventies retro style thing… next up it’ll be flares, ‘high waisters’ and tank tops once again.”

      NOOOOOOO! Dear God! Please say it ain’t so! I hated those things back in the seventies and I’m not going to like them any better this time around!

      • Richard Wiseman

        Maybe that’s the Mayan apocalypse – the return of ‘Starsky & Hutch Style’ – All together now – ‘Come on silver Ladeee’ – sing along now….

  14. Val

    I’m not a beard-fan but if I were a bloke (which I’m not) I’d probably grow one in the winter to keep me warm! How about that? Then you can shave it off when the warmer weather hits?

  15. I don’t like beards. They look good on some guys and even on one trans girl I saw. The stubble look can be hot on guys with full eyebrows. In the end, I want to kiss smooth, naked skin. I personally think you look like a no-beard man, but you should probably plan your face around what your wife likes.

    • She’s prefers no beard, but doesn’t seem to care that I usually run around a few days unshaven. That’s my preference too, guess I’m gonna have to get one those stubble razors. As to whether I have full eyebrows or not… I don’t know…

  16. My friend- sorry catching up now. Too NOT beard. I like the stubble but though, so go a diet that electric razor. X

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