Thursday, March 3, 2011

Facial Hair of a Renaissance Man

As I got ready for work this morning, I was faced with a choice: to shave or not to shave. I'd run the razor across my face yesterday, which for some would be sufficient in keeping the follicles from forcing new growth. Unfortunately, my chin is not so docile.

For time and convenience, I opted out of shaving this morning. Let my coworkers judge the stubble on my cheek. Today, I go for the rugged look.

But this predicament got me thinking about a more grandiose question:

What facial hair choice truly embodies the manliness for a man? Is there an ideal style for a true renaissance man? Let's consider the options:

Lumberjack Beard

Full, but kempt, this style is held by woodsmen and indie-folk singers alike. It protects a baby-face from the harsh elements of the Yukon as well as Portland. Coupled with a plaid shirt and a stocking cap, you can chop wood with ease. You can also pick up a guitar and lament the callouses.

Commendable Mustache

Some call this upper-lip protection a creeper-stache, but there is nothing creepy about someone who is man enough leave the face naked, save that space between the nose and mouth. Extra man points go to the gent who can apply a little mustache wax for the Dali-esque curls.

Rugged 5 o'clock shadow

A popular choice for men as of late, made popular by Abercrombe models and that guy who's been on the bachelor three times. Ideal for the man who likes the idea of shaving, but can't handle the rigors of a straight blade on his dermis. Dangerous for those new to the facial hair world, as patchy growth resembles mange.


This style is often associated with french artists, turtle necks and beat poetry, but also has traction with strong silent types of the current day. The goatee that lacks a mustache is less commanding, and gives the appearance of an adolescent with a hormone imbalance.


Great for Abe Lincoln impersonators. Also popular among the Amish. Both are virile and upstanding, yet the style hasn't caught on as much as first envisioned in the 19th century. This option has gained traction among gentlemen in their late teens, as that is all that many are capable of growing. Don't judge, they're modeling after the greats.


Despite the popularity amongst college men, the muttonchops are really most appropriate in the 1970's. Accompanied with a light blue leisure suit, these ear warmers will be a knock out. They are also good for accentuating a strong jawline.

Clean Shaven and Dapper

By far the most popular choice, the clean shave has been popularized by the strong silent cowboys and the sharp tongued businessmen of the 50's and 60's alike. Hemingway references daily shaves in many of his books (while employing much more of a lumberjack do himself). Many of the founding father of America wore their chins bare for the world to admire. The clean shaven man displays a strong jaw, determined chin, and dashing smile.
The Conclusion

There are many other options for a manly man to consider when weighing his shaving options, but it seems from this review that a clean shave is the way to go. 

I guess I'll go home and shave...

Whichever style you choose, make a choice and own it. If your vying for the handlebar mustache, wear that Snidley Whiplash curl with pride. If you're going for a more subtle chinstrap look, keep it trimmed and proper.

What do you think? I encourage pictures of the above styles, or any others worth mentioning. Send the to and I'll post them for all to comment upon. Write in your thoughts on which facial hair exudes the most manliness as well.

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