As a child of the hairy men 70’s who began having romantic relationships in the 90’s, I believed all men would always have short hair and clean faces like Tom Cruise and Jason Priestly, that shaving was masculinity’s call to arms; a ritual done each morning in a tight, white towel with legs spread slightly apart. By the millennium, follicles on men’s faces began sprouting again; then partying like it was the 1999. Sideburns and goatees as fashion statements seemed they were here to stay, a modern alternative to their father’s Che Guevara beards. The men I dated, both Latino and non, all donned some kind of scruff, for I was blessed with Fridaesque eyebrows, a thick black mane, and other parts that need constant managing, so that I generally prefer my men to be more hirsute than I am. Ultra smooth, hairless men just remind me of my old Ken doll. His slippery chest and nether regions never did a thing for me.
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.
Really, ladies, men need to be men, and I personally draw the line at the idea of any man in my life accompanying me for a full body wax. White robes and slippers, eyeing gossip magazines together at a salon just seems wrong. Yes, let him pluck or shave those out of control whiskers, wherever they may grow. But if your man is growing a fuzzy sweater on his back instead of wearing one, and you’re invited to the pool party of the century, then escort your beast to a local house of waxing. It’s a jungle out there, ladies, and until we get back to the days of Top Gun smooth, the best you can do is gently, without roaring, let your lion know how to keep his fur in check.
FOR THE HAIR-PHOBIC
Gentle suggestions for how to urge your man to groom more:
Telling your man how to groom himself is a minefield that needs to be navigated carefully. Thomas P. Farley, editor of Modern Manners: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Social Graces says, “It can’t be that you simply don’t like beards; it needs to be presented more gently, with a little humor.”
• ‘I just love kissing you, I could go all night, but your stubble is chafing my sensitive skin.’
• ‘Wow, your beard is like my hairstyle, maintenance-needy! Ha! Remember when you trimmed it for that wedding? You looked soooo hot.
• ‘Honey, I can still smell that five cheese pizza we ate fermenting on my face, I can imagine that your beard does too. I’m going to wash my face before getting into bed with you, I’d love it (suggestive stroke, caress) if you did, too.’ (walk away)
5 Methods For Male Hair Grooming:
• Beard Trimmer: If he’s sporting a virgin beard, chances are he doesn’t own a beard trimmer yet. Buy it for him. Quick! Before he morphs into Wolfman.
• NAIR: For first timers, Nair for men is cheap and hassle-free. You can do it a home and it’s much less painful than waxing. 15 minutes and you can rinse it off with him in the shower.
• Chest and Back Waxes: While you can do it at home for cheaper with any drug store brand, you may not want to be the person causing him the pain of removing the wax strip, cause he’ll hate you even more. Best get a professional to do it.
• Cosmetic Scissors: These handy little scissors work wonder for weedy eyebrows, nose hairs, side burns, weird body hair growths. Perfect for a quick fix-him-up at home or on the road.
• Electrolysis and Laser Hair Removal: When he’s serious about removing embarrassing hair, these are the best investments for permanent hair removal. Electrolysis is ultra safe and old school, but will take longer. Lasers take less time, but are more expensive, and should be done by a certified doctor.