It's that time of the year again, the glorious month where I grow my Octobeard.
Usually, when I grow a beard, it's a very organized process. I plan and I trim and I shape. I use Just for Men Beard Formula to get rid of what I call the Miller Half Moon (the gray inverted arch that grows on the bottom of my chin, making me look like Dennis Miller). I brush out the knots and I even out the length. All of this work results in a beautifully designed beard, sort of like James Brolin's.
When I grow an Octobeard, on the other hand, I do nothing. I leave my beard unkempt and wiry and gray. I let it blossom like an unencumbered weed. Eventually, I start looking like Rick Rubin or Zach Galifianakis.
Why, you may ask, do I grow the Octobeard? First, I want Winter to know that I'm not afraid of it -- if the weather gets unseasonably cold, I'll have an extra layer of fur to protect my mug. Second, I have to be prepared in case I decide on a Halloween costume that requires facial hair -- if I want to be Serpico or Mr. Whipple or Captain Lou Albano, I won't have to use that synthetic shit. And third, I grow the Octobeard because I can!
Facial hair is the one thing men have that women don't (other than penises, prostates, testicles, chest hair, and an appreciation for Maxim Magazine). Sure, some women, mostly of Israeli, Italian, or Middle Eastern decent, have facial hair. They are, however, encouraged to get rid of it (by the way, I recommend waxing over bleaching any day - nobody wants to kiss a hairy lip, even if it is blond). And, no woman (except maybe some circus freaks or morbidly obese senior citizens) has facial hair to the extent that men do.
So, we cherish our facial hair. We embrace it. We experiment with it. I've had a mustache, a goatee, a vandyke, a soul patch, and mutton chops, and that was just last month. Facial hair allows us to assert our individuality and it allows us to look ridiculous. Those are two things men love.
To some, having facial hair defines them. What would ZZ Top be without their beards? What would Scott Ian be without his billy goatee? What would John Oates be without his mustache? No hippie worth his weight in weed would be caught without some sort of beard. Suburban dads who worship MMA fighters usually favor the close cut goatee. Mustaches are the staple of cops, cowboys, and queers.
If you're not a cop, a cowboy, or a queer, mustaches are funny (unless it's an ironic mustache which has been played out by hipsters from Williamsburg). Offering mustache rides is ALWAYS funny. Y'know what else is funny - guys that don't have any hair on their head that make up for it on their face. They look like they're upside down. I also enjoy laughing at guys who can't grow facial hair. They ARE less male. They're the same guys that don't have chest hair or an adam's apple. Sad, but also funny!
In addition to being the butt of endless jokes, facial hair can be very useful. It can cover up zits and moles and pock marks. In my humble opinion, Bill Murray should have as much facial hair as he can find. If one had a cleft lip as a child, facial hair can cover that up too, just like Stacy Keach. Strangely though, Joaquin Phoenix has chosen to let his cleft lip exist naked. Not a good move. Facial hair can also eliminate the need for such commonplace nuisances as face washing, nose hair trimming, and tanning.
Good facial hair is hard to come by. I once got into a fight for admiring a dude's facial hair at a bar. He thought I was clowning him. I wasn't. I admire lots of men for their facial hair: Kenny Rogers, Burt Reynolds, George Michael, Abe Lincoln, and even Adolf Hitler. The Hitler mustache is on its way back. Sure it's got some PR problems, but if you call it The Chaplin, you can rock that shit hard!
Good facial hair is also found on the non-famous. This guy is sporting the half beard. Nice! I'd like to popularize cheek polkadots or the underbeard. I'd also like to shave everything off, then grow it all back, dye it orange, and become Alf. Alf knew how to wear his facial hair. Some people don't.
A facial offender is a guy who wears his facial hair in such a wrong way that he should be stripped of the privilege of growing facial hair. Aging hipsters that sport the soul patch are facial offenders. Tools with Backstreet Beards (beards favored by The Backstreet Boys) are facial offenders.
The Amish are facial offenders. They have no style, so don't try to look like them. That means you, James Hettfield! Wearers of the business beard are facial offenders. If it looks good at work, it should be shaved. Anybody with a Todd Palin goatee is a facial offender. Tight goatees are to the nineties what mustaches are to the eighties. They're relics of a bygone era that should not be brought back until they can be ironic.
I, fortunately, am not a facial offender. Also fortunately, my wife likes me to have stubble at all times. Essentially, I'm always one step away from growing facial hair. How sweet is that? Now, I just have to get creative and one day, I may make it into The Facial Hair Society. Dare to dream!