Don't Fear the Beard
After having my heart broken by a lady in the late ’90s, I grew the most disgusting woman-repellent trucker mustache in an attempt to make my face say what my mouth couldn’t: “Fuck off!” For the first few months it worked brilliantly, until Johnny Knoxville emerged with his jackass of a mustache and I found myself in a sea of unintentionally ironic handlebars. I shaved. A few cold SF winters prompted the growth of more facial hair, but while I have the hirsute ability to grow a full thick beard, I couldn’t get past the itchiness of the first several weeks and have never been a fan of the perpetual five o’clock shadow. In fact, the fair-weather facial trends of late have left me siding with the all-or-nothing policy. While I’ve chosen the baby face, the 12 dudes I photographed and talked to for this story have gone for the whole hog, and done it with style.
Most of the men in these photos have had beards for almost as long as I’ve known them, and looking back over the past 20 years that’s no small feat. Their beards aren’t part of a trend, their beards are them.
Bicycle mechanic, swimmer, singer, guitarist“I have had this beard for eight years. I grew it to look like a thinking person.”
Owner of Dear Mom“[I’ve had the beard for] 12 years, I guess. I’ve only shaved it three times, I think, and immediately grew it back. I honestly find it undesirable and grotesquely unpleasant to rub a hot razor blade across my face every day. Or any other part of my body (and yes, I’m hella pro-bush). I know that makes me sound like a hippie. I’ll spend $150 on a haircut but no way am I gonna shave every day.”
Bassist, Silly Pink Bunny, Clamper, Vanimal, smut peddler, record collecting elitist, music gear snob, and lackluster DJ (on the second Friday of each month at Iron & Gold)“I’ve had a beard since ’97, when I was 20ish. I grew it because I’m lazy and my skin gets really irritated by shaving. I was inspired by my now deceased father and two incredibly talented artist/skateboarding pal – Shawn Greene and Jeremy Fish.”
Artist, radical dude“I’ve had a beard since I was around 18 – as soon as it grew in, basically. This current one is almost two years old. Shaving sucks.”
Photographer, artistGrew a beard “because it got cold.”
Photographer“I've been growing this particular beard since the latter months of 2011. I'm generally a clean shaven fellow – scalp and all – but every year around wintertime some innate biological alarm goes off and I get the urge to join the ranks of the hirsute. Outside of my annual facial hair growing tradition, this beard was also inspired by a case of heartbreak from a failed love affair. I needed something new to obsess over and talk about at dinner parties.”
Creative director (McCalman, left)Bearded for six years. “After a bad breakup, I was too lazy (and angry) to shave, and a few weeks later I had a full beard (for the first time). Voilà!”
Raconteur (Jost, right)“I’ve worn a beard since October 2007. The guys at the winery where I worked all grew ‘harvest beards’ for the grape harvest/crush. I liked it enough to keep it!”
Executive director of Vapor Room Cooperative“I’ve had my beard consistently on my face since 2003. Next year it will be 10 years old. I’m lazy and hairy, so shaving daily was not an ideal situation for me. Having a beard is awesome.”
Photographer, apartment building manager“I’ve had this particular beard since last July but they come and go. I grew it for no particular reason – why not?”
Coffee maker, artist“I’ve had the beard since I was 20 or so, but only a couple times has it even got remotely close to the length it is at now. Once about four years ago it was pretty long, but a demanding sister made me cut it off for her wedding. Lame. Current length is about 4–5 years old.”
He grew it because, “It's sort of hard not to. Plus most dudes can't grow anything even close to what I have, and even if they could, they probably couldn't own it as well as I can.”
If you’re toying with that permanent five o'clock shadow look, stop it. Put away the razor, clippers, scissors, or whatever grooming device you’re using and grow that beard out. Giants opening day is just around the corner, so you’ll be in good company.