By Lucy Ahern
I dig beards. And I’m proud of it. Gone are the days where the main objects of affection were Orlando Bloom types, all squeaky clean and naked-chinned. Bearded brethren can rejoice – a revolution is upon us.
Now I’ve got nothing against nude faces, but it’s time to go back, forefather style, where Abe Lincoln set the fashions. Boys, step away from the Schick! Facial hair is sexy again; the new accessory du jour.
I’m talking Ryan Gosling, Matt Corby (oh don’t groan, he’s baben), Johnny Depp, Chris Hemsworth. Compare clean-shaven Mr Gosling in something like the Ides of March (bit of a dick) or Drive (murderer), to his bearded self in The Notebook (romantic carpenter). I think we know which one is better. And in honour of International Women’s Day, one website even compiled a gallery of the top 25 pictures of that beautiful decorated chin. It’s got devotees. It’s loved, adored. It has an internet shrine for god’s sake. Also, any coincidence that Hemsworth, as Thor, super god of thunder, has a beard? Or Zeus? No, I don’t think so. Them’s some powerful follicles.
Which brings me to my next point: beard = cred. A 2010 study by the Journal of Marketing Communications found that both sexes believe men with beards are more credible and respectable. It’s a bit like glasses for those who actually have perfect vision (or don’t want to wear empty frames á la hipsters). As cliché as it may sound, beards are a sign of masculine bravado and ruggedness. Studies show the ability to grow a beard suggests to women a sexually mature mate – there’s science behind the appeal, it’s not just me gushing.
That stubbly goodness can also say rebellion and cheekiness like Russell Brand, or bring to mind a lovely earthiness. Think folk singers, fisherman’s pants and tartan-clad men with axes, one foot resting on the stump of the giant tree they just single-handedly conquered. Beards are versatile; they can be lustworthy on a huge variety of people and situations. And nothing beats a bearded man in a suit.
Of course, The Beards, Adelaide’s own scruffy songsters, deserve a mention. They’re spreading the good beard vibe nationally, with tunes (doubling as public service announcements) such as Beards Across Australia Unite, No Beard, No Good, and If Your Dad Doesn’t Have A Beard, You’ve Got Two Mums. If you’re yet to be enlightened, have a listen quick smart.
Admittedly, just growing a beard because you can isn’t guaranteed to make the ladies swoon (ahem, Brad Pitt). Not everyone is blessed with the (top half of a) face to get away with it.
But here are some ground rules to help you pull it off.
1. Be confident, but retain some nonchalance; keep a touch of mystery in your mo.
2. Keep it groomed, trimmed and find a nice shape. Avoid excessive length – Gandalf and Dumbledore took it a bit too far.
3. Avoid the realm of the dickhead. Don’t dye it ‘exciting’ colours and DO NOT shave designs into the side. Beard flames won’t make you hot.
4. On that note, god, please god, no plaits. Unless your name happens to be Captain Jack Sparrow.
5. Try to keep food and cappuccino foam out of it. ‘Saving it for later’ is not an adequate excuse.
My main point is this – try it. If you can do it without looking like a murderer, complete creep or your grandfather, let it grow.
Don’t be afraid women won’t like it. We’re no longer afraid of pash rash.
And ladies, I implore you. Don’t ignore the moustachioed man or the bearded brother; he’s full of testosterone, credibility and will in all likelihood be able to belt out a tune. And maybe, taking a recommendation from the wise words of The Beards, You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man.