It's been decided: I'm wildly attracted to men with beards. As in the full-on, Grizzly Adams, I-hunt-and-fish-with-my-bare-hands sort of beard. Come on. Wayne Coyne? Devendra? Rivers Cuomo circa Maladroit? Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan? BRAD PITT IN LEGENDS OF THE FALL?
Sure, the full beard has always carried the connotation of some kind of sage—think Socrates, Confucius, Zarathustra, William James, Marx . . . Seriously. Think about it. Zeus is always depicted with a beard. So is Jesus. And his dad. But up until somewhat recently, many also think they were reserved for dudes who live on the street corner around my apartment and the er, unclean.
The full beard fell out of favor in the United States following World War I—theory is, men decided to maintain clean-shavenness during the Great War so that gas masks could properly seal over their faces. But from the 1920s through the early 1960s, beards were practically nonexistent outside such subculture groups as the Beat Generation. The fact that they were popular within countercultural movements may add to the negative undertones guys with beards today get slapped with. You know: bums, miscreants, creeps, skeevs, serial murderers, whatever.
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But after the Vietnam War, hippies, family men, the Beatles, everyonedonned beards again. While goatees and what I like to call the D'Artagnan seem to be more accepted by the masses today, I'd like to point out that the goateed—especially the dudes who shave designs into their goatees—are a squillion times more sinister-looking than the bearded.
So ironic facial hair has been picked up by the hipsters and musicians and such now in the 2000s. Look at My Morning Jacket's Jim James (who has an awesomely unruly head of hair to match) or the dudes in Hot Water Music, who've been doing the massive beard thing since something like 1993. Hell, walking down the streets of Los Feliz or stepping into Detroit or the Prospector, you'll spot young twentysomethings who look like, well, prospectors.
This dude here has opted for the full beard andlong, practically shoulder-sweeping hairdo. He paired it with a forest green Members Only-ish jacket, the white V-neck shirt that's not toodeep (a serious problem these days—we can all do without seeing your carpet of chest hair popping out, looking as though it's about to eat your face), loose-fitting dark denims and some Nike tennis shoes. He's hip without falling into any of the expected trends—the skintight jeans, American Apparel too-deep V-neck.
And his friend only complements it all: the floral mini-dress, simple black pumps and leather clutch, all topped with a gray terry hoodie that makes it all look not too put-together, making the pair stand out from the rest of the unfortunate black-graphic-T-wearing crowd, cheering on the Sublime/Maroon 5 cover band playing in the other room that sounded like they bought a bad Fake Book for every bad, bad song.