A Man’s Guide: Facial Hair Etiquette

If he adhered, he'd still have his beard.

Sax Carrby Sax Carr

Listen, guys. I know how cool facial hair is. It's so much fun, there are so many options, a man could go mad. But we also all know that the women and gay men we love are just barely tolerating the scratchy mess protruding from our faces. So, as a man who doesn't remember what his bare chin looks like, here are some tips on handling the subtle balance between some kick ass scruff and a travest-goatee. Let's start simple, with a few basic rules.

First, do not start growing facial hair until you can actually grow facial hair. I've made a fair number of jokes about pubestaches in my day, but the truth is they aren't funny, they're sad. And every time someone goes out with thirty some-odd hairs sticking awkwardly out of his face, it embarrasses us all.

It is rumored that Mr. Williams hit puberty in the 2nd trimester.

Second, you need to figure out what kind of facial hair works with your face. Some guys can pull off mutton chops, but considering you are alive to read this article, you are not one of them. Of course, you could still be one of the twenty five lucky men that can totally rock a handlebar. Buy some fake mustaches and beards, try them on, and see what works with your face. Worst case scenario, if you are ever running from the law, accused of a crime you didn't commit, you'll be prepared.

Also, once you have proper facial hair growing, take care of it. Improper beard maintenance is what caused the popular consensus that beards are dirty in the first place. We gotta change the buzz if we want to keep the fuzz. It's important to note at this point that facial hair maintenance is not easy, especially if you want to have something more complex than the classic beard. If you are not up to doing it right, don't do it at all. Wash your beard regularly. Keep it even, and at a reasonable length. I can not stress this point enough. There was only ever one exception to this rule. Jerry Garcia. Now he's dead. Draw your own conclusions.

This sunovabitch rocked the world with dazzling whiskers and a truck full of drugs.

If it isn't clear why we do this, it's pretty easy to explain. Beards are great, and us bearded men wouldn't give them up for the world. We would give them up for sex, but we don't want to, because they are great. So, in order to get both things we want, we gotta make sure the beard is something the ladies (or gents) want to have rubbed all over them. This is important. Because, if you haven't had sex recently, or ever, the area around one's mouth interacts quite heavily with various parts of their partner's body. Quite heavily indeed. Which I think is the perfect time to bring up mustaches.

Yes. We get it. Tom Selleck had an awesome mustache.  We're all very proud.  Can we drop it now?

Even when following all the rules, it's not easy to pull off just a mustache. Especially now that they are associated so closely with pedophiles and 70's porn stars. The older you are, the easier it is, because like wine, a good mustache needs to age. This is also true of permissible length. On your 40th birthday, you can begin growing your mustache past the top of your upper lip. Any earlier and it's unseemly. Which means trimming at least three times a week. I hope some girls are reading this, because you ought to know what goes into great facial hair. You may think we're not crazy about hygiene, but beards are something we take seriously.

Well, usually.

There is no denying it. Beards are sacred. They spring forth from our face in an explosion of thick and scratchy wonderfullness, and society cruelly demands that we tame them. Let's face it (pun originally unintended, but I'm glad it's there now), we must fight for our right to be beardy. Show your lovers all of the beard's plentiful uses, inside the bedroom and out. Prove to them how sexy a bristly chin sweater can be. And show the rest of the world that you're not a serial killer just because you prefer a trim to a shave. If we persevere, maybe our children's children will be granted the civil right of hairage.

If this article has left you curious, I wear my mane in a respectable trimmed mustache with a narrow goatee, and the occasional rough stubble. The goatee serves to cover up my complete lack of a chin, and the mustache is there because I am not the type of guy who can have a goatee and no mustache without being beaten in the streets. I've found my look and stuck with it since pretty much just after high school. If you've found yours, congratulations! I told you a bunch of stuff you already knew in an amusing way. But if you haven't, isn't it time that you did?