A friend of mine, Alissa (whose Masters of Friendship tumblr can be found here), sent me a link the other day to the website Beard Rock. The website’s tagline is “Music and sounds made and enjoyed by people of the hirsute persuasion: A style of music made more attractive to the bearded listener because of its apparent discord with the hairless majority.” This website amused me and inspired me to write a post about the rise of the Beard Culture and how I became part of it.
Perhaps, I was too young to remember but up until the last handful of years beards did not seem as popular as they do now. The only people I could remember who grew beards were professors and professional athletes, primarily hockey players during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The popular style of the time was to have a goatee or to be clean shaven. It seemed to me that beards were only options for Lumberjacks, Grandfathers and unemployed hacks. The stigma was this; to get anywhere in life you needed to have short hair, be well kept and clean shaven. I was led to believe, that if I had a beard I would be an undesirable derelict.
I had bought into that notion for a long time, but then things changed. I was 22 and coming out of a complicated relationship that had its share of ups but more often downs. It had dawned on me that I cared too much about what other people thought or wanted out of me. I had reached that moment of clarity that told me I needed to do the things that made me happy and not let others dictate who I was. So as I started to do some soul searching I unconsciously began to neglect my shaving habits.
In the past, I had dabbled a little in facial hair. I had tried the goatee, the really thick sideburns and even the moustache-less beard but never really attempted the full beard. After a few days I looked in the mirror and thought to myself, “Damn, I really like how this is looking maybe I should give this full beard thing a chance.” Granted, I had only a few days growth and didn’t quite have the robust moustache-beard connectors. However, for the first time in a while I felt like the person who was staring at me in the mirror was the real me.
That was three years ago and not more than a few days have gone by where I have not had a full beard. I think I have only been clean shaven twice since then; once before my trip to San Francisco to visit Reo and to go as “Aladdin Sane Era” David Bowie for Halloween. As hokey as it sounds, my beard is the representation of me being me.
Right around the time when I was having my Beard Nirvana, the culture at large started to become more beard-centric. You started to see the rise of Indie Rock and the hipster scene with the traditional beard/plaid t-shirt combo. Celebrities like Zach Galifianakis started to hit the mainstream and there was a sudden boom in beards. Conan O’Brien grew one, The Handsome Jon Hamm dabbled with one and even Ira Glass decided to get in the mix.
So that is where I think we are at now as a society. Slowly, more and more men are willing to take that bold step and grow a beard. Furthermore, I think that a beard really speaks to what a man is about. On occasion you will get the random lazy guy who just hates shaving, but more often than not, a man who grows a beard is displaying some of his finest qualities for all to see. It is not easy to grow a beard, it takes time, patience and care. A man who is willing to meticulously grow and maintain a full beard, is a man who will love and cherish those around him. Most importantly, he is a man who is committed to a cause and willing to fight for it!
One last note to drive the point home. Take a look at the career of Brad Pitt.
Movies in which Brad Pitt is clean shaven -Burn After Reading, Troy, Meet Joe Black, The Mexican
Movies in which Brad Pitt has a beard/facial hair - Babel, Snatch, Fight Club (even though it is a small goatee), Twelve Monkeys, Se7en & True Romance.
One of my favorite things about the Internet is the abundance of gifs. You would think in high-speed/broadband world that we live in, with the ability to link and stream video anywhere, that gifs would not be as popular or prevalent as they are.
Thankfully, I live in a world where like-minded people enjoy stripping away all context of TV shows/Movies and making hilarious gifs that are funny to fans but also breed curiosity of those who have never seen the show/movie. For instance, I have never seen an episode of “Bones” but I can surmise from gifs, posted on one of my favorite websites Videogum in the Open Thursday TV Thread, that it is a show about bones, science, and crime fighting involving a Deschanel sister and that guy from Angel/Buffy.
So I thought I would post a handful of my favorite gifs that I have come across (as of today)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
James Franco “So Good” Spiderman 3
Anything with Tina Fey dancing
And of course, anything with Ron Swanson