THE BEARD RENAISSANCE Look around and you’ll spot a new trend growing fast: The Beard Renaissance. No not the beard from Oscar Wilde plays, hairy beards, the ones you’ve seen on Gael García Bernal and Benicio del Toro when they played Che and then trimmed them down for real life. The ones on George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Jared Leto, Blair Underwood, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and those stylish types. As the women who love them, we know that while it’s nice and fuzzy to play with, professor-hot kind of stuff, there is nothing worse than that initial sandpaper rub on the cheek or smelling his facial-man-jungle after a cheesy slice of pizza. Wasn’t it around the time Brad Pitt let his beard go Moses that Brangelina were on the rocks? Come to think of it, all the men in my life have pulled a Jesus Christ on me at one time or another. Lucky for them the vestiges of my Catholic upbringing, my inner Mary Magdalene, finds this look downright hot. (Warning: The Jesus Christ generally turns Moses when things turn biblically bad in the relationship.) I had a gentleman caller whose prickly smooches would leave my face so inflamed from beard friction, it was best not to touch much before I had to leave to the office. Then I had a feminine boyfriend with a thin face who, when freshly shaven, resembled a second grader. I couldn’t wait for five o’ clock to roll around to see him when he looked at least fifteen with his Don Draper shadow. Catching my drift, he went Jesus Christ Superstar on me, both hair and beard, all that dead hair brought back to life—like zombie follicles—and he was ten times more handsome. And though his beard was actually soft on the skin, he also grew more serious, somber, and mountain man eccentric along with it. When we broke up I remember he shaved it all off, free as Lenny Kravitz post his dreadlock dismissal. Before I married a man who looks dashing both freshly shaven and as Yosemite Sam, I rendezvoused with a man who waxed his privates more than I did, and I had to give him the old brush off. Metrosexual or not, my rule is that I don’t want to be with a guy who spends more time on his appearance than I do. Men use facial hair to express themselves, and many times, as painful as it can be on our faces, it can also transform their looks for the better. Long sideburns can balance out an oval face. A round face looks all the more leaner and meaner with a Johnny Depp goatee. A Leonard Di Caprio baby face looks manlier with some fur. Okay, so a beard smells occasionally and makes them appear all hippy dippy to your parents and friends. But yet, the precocious student in me still wants to find an excuse for extra tutoring time when I see a man scratching his scholarly beard. I still purr when I see a man at a bar sporting Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine sideburns.