As you might have expected, I get a lot of mail from the readers at 25twofour. Some of it is positive, some is negative, and most of it is sexual. I figured I’d share the best of it with you guys this week and try and explore and answer some of the best queries from my readers in the first ever Beard Bag:
Beardman, why is it that you only seem to focus on the negative aspects of beards, and not some of the positive feedback guys are getting from rocking beards. I mean, look at Brian Wilson of the Giants, that dude is pretty much living off of his much heralded beard?
Chris “Big Daddy” Bezeg, Toxic Bridge, NJ
You make a great point Chris. There are a number of guys, in professional sports and elsewhere, that are applauded for both their professional prowess as well as their cheek pelts. This is great, but it’s not enough. Beards are still looked down upon and discriminated against in many aspects of our current society, most notably sports, and my missions is to seek out those who seek to commit injustice toward beards, and right that injustice. As you can see from columns so far, there’s plenty of injustice to attack.
As for Wilson, he leads what has become a large group of relievers moving toward greater and more grandiose facial hair. Dyed beards? Check. Epically huge chin growth? Check. But keep in mind, Brian Wilson is one of the best closers in baseball. He’s winning, and the Giants, are winning, so the beard looks trendy, and people have decided they like it. One bad season, however, and the look might be vilified. People might even blame the beard if things go bad. The whole trendiness of reliever beards reminds me of a quote from savvy veteran Crash Davis in the movie “Bull Durham.” Upon noting the gross state of his protégé’s sandals, Crash remarks: “You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press will think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.” Right now, Brian Wilson’s beard is “colorful.”
Beardy, two of the best players on the New York Rangers, Brandon Dubinsky and Brian Boyle, decided to grow playoff mustaches in lieu of beards. Your thoughts?
Leah Nelson, Raritan, NJ
Leah, hockey is the one sport where one could argue that playoff beards are “played out,” and you gotta respect the guys that want to mix it up and create something new and awesome. Without that push for creativity, John Axford would still just be some guy, and not a legend. Last year, growing out the old school sideburns helped Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks win the Cup. It didn’t work out as well for Dubinsky and Boyle, as the Rangers were already bounced, but they’re an 8 seed and sometimes it’s a good idea to try something a bit different from tradition in order to get some good luck going. Mustaches are NOT beards, for the record.
Beard guy, just trying to understand your position on beard discrimination. Are you claiming this is a long-held view harbored by societies all over the globe just now being addressed for the first time, or are you of the view that this beard conspiracy is a relatively new trend that continues to become worse each year?
“Big” Jim Clare, Aiken, SC
I don’t know if either of those positions encompasses my view per se, but I can tell you that your first position is certainly not within the realm of possibility. Beards were a celebrated institution in many cultures for eons. Look, at Zeus, head god of the Greeks.  Even in this country, beards were commonplace and quite popular for large swaths of time. Back in the day we’ve even had presidents with beards, like compromiser Rutherford B Hayes, as well as our greatest president Abraham Lincoln, who once grew a beard to help him win a presidential election. Whatever the case may be, at some point in the 20th century, the faith in beards was lost. I hope that America can regain that faith.
What do you think about men that like to style out their beards? Should a man always go “au natural” or can it be appropriate at times to sculpt, gel, and cajole your beard into a certain look?
John Summers, Marin County, CA
I cannot speak for all men, or even all beards, but in my book trimming is generally ok. Styling, however, borders on heretical. I mean, is it Halloween? Generally finagling with a beard is just a bad idea. Granted there’s someone out there that has dreaded their beard into a cage around their head that would disagree with me, but a beard is at its zenith when it is flowing free. I will say that if you’re really going to “jazz up” your beard do it right and get the specialty oil that is meant for beards. No Garnier up in that mane.
I know this isn’t really a question about beards, but, uh, wasn’t that article that dude wrote about the Heat suddenly becoming real contenders this week stupid?
-Brian Fox, Halifax, NS
Yes, Brian, it was. It was very stupid. But keep in mind that article did come out on 4/20; quality control may not have been high that day; or rather, it may have.