For those of us who came of age in the 1970s and 1980s, the moustache has remained a fashion style strongly associated with creeps, while the beard was the choice of the sensitive new-age guys our moms took up with after they divorced our dads. Neither brings back fond memories, but as facial hair has been resplendent in fashion for over a decade, we’ve learned that some styles are worse than others. And with us in the midst of Movember, we thought it a good time to look at five facial-hair choices we urge you not to have.
The Pervert (Michael Cera)
Above all, what moustaches bring to mind the most for many folks in their 30s is sweaty, awkward, angry weirdos trying to catch peeks up women’s skirts on shopping mall escalators. For some reason, this look is accentuated most horrifically if your moustache is sparse but untrimmed and extends just to the edge of your upper lip. There’s nothing attractive about looking like a vacuum technician whom decent people wouldn’t leave their kids alone with.
The Chinstrap (Does any celebrity have a chinstrap? There’s your first hint!)
Compared to the Pervert, which harkens back to the grossness of another era, the Chinstrap is the look that says “Today’s Ugliness.” We recall first seeing it on some fans of Nu-Metal groups like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park in the early aughts — impotently enraged young fellows angry at everything, who looked like they’d rather beat up a stranger than look inward to figure out what was wrong with their feelings. If you want to look like an emotional troglodyte, that’s your business, but we don’t recommend it.
The Extended Sideburns (Elijah Wood)
Sure, sideburns can be manly sometimes, but there are different kinds of manly. One helps doddering old people with their groceries, saves kittens, and stops fights. Another wears neon Bugs Bunny tank-tops and zebra-print Zubaz, and flexes his muscles while stopped on his motorcycle at traffic lights. Likewise, there are short sideburns (never longer than the lowest point of your ear’s opening) that indicate secure and subtle masculinity, and there are really long sideburns, which scream your desperation for teenagers to finally believe you’re older than them and stop picking on you.
The Soul Patch (Kevin Costner)
Are you Bruce Springsteen? No? Damn. Ok, how about Dizzy Gillespie? Really? How long has he been dead? Alright, in that case, please don’t do this. Unless you’re well known for either your down-to-earth modesty or your quirky genius, it just looks like you’ve got food on your face 24/7. Oh, and just to be sure: if you think you’re known for down-to-earth modesty or quirky genius, you’re not. Shave it off.
The Dust Bunny (Joaquin Phoenix)
Sure, you can have a beard. Even a big beard (Zach Gafilianakis wears his well). But for the love of god, son, buy a trimmer. Walking around with a face full of cotton-candy fur tells the world, “I couldn’t be bothered to spend three minutes not looking like a Persian cat’s ass.” There’s a reason you change out of your shirt when you drip mustard on it. That’s the same reason you’re supposed to trim your beard: because looking like a slob is a sad thing to do by accident, let alone on purpose.