Sometimes my beard says, homeless hottie or I just ate a glazed doughnut. AB
FOUR years ago, I grew the first full beard of my adult life on a whim. I was 41, and it was neither a fashion statement nor a midlife crisis, but it came at a fortuitous time: the style world just happened to be entering the Postmillennial He-Man Beard Epoch.
It was the dawn of an era, when dewy actors like Ryan Gosling and Jake Gyllenhaal started showing up on red carpets sporting cheek-fringe that seemed to boast, “My cover-boy looks can shine even through this tangle”; when it became obligatory to show up at Brooklyn warehouse parties with the shaggy jowls of an 1890s beaver trapper; when the Unabomber chin mane became unexpectedly chic on fashion runways.
The beard — a traditional signifier of age and wisdom in most cultures — had become a symbol of youthful rebellion (and a different sort of conformity) for the first time since the heyday of Fillmore East. In downtown Manhattan, where I live, the beard was de rigueur for young creative professionals — the sort who readVice, wore shuttle-loom denim jeans and drew their style cues from blogs like Backyard Bill. And that made sense. A beard was the perfect retro-sportsman accessory to go with a scratchy wool plaid shirt and knit cap, a perfect ironic predigital curio that seemed overdue to be brought back into fashion. READ MORE