Right now, I have a very large and unruly beard. It’s gross and annoying and I have a combination of lentil soup and gin (not a great combination, by the way) in it at this very moment. A few days ago in Mexico, I ate a delicious plate of huevos rancheros and got most of it in my mustache. Mustaches, when the owner is lazy enough, are like baleen. I am slowly becoming a filter feeder, slurping what nutrients I can through the tangled web that has taken up residence in front of my mouth. No matter how many times I washed it (once, with no soap and cold water), I smelled eggs, beans, and salsa all day. My current beard is borne of laziness instead of fashion–I am perhaps the least fashionable person I know, and I know almost seven people–and I am annoyed by it, but my trimmers are broken and I keep forgetting to buy more because I’m lazy.
But beards, my male (and testosterone-inclined female) friends, are fun to have. You can stroke them when you’re feeling contemplative. You can pull on them when you’re feeling stressed. You can scratch your face in the morning and think about how great it felt all day. You cannot, however, oil them or style them or wax a twirl in your mustache. That is the opposite of what a beard represents. And for the love of God, don’t shave your jawline. Two fingers above the adam’s apple, you monsters. Even I know that, and I am the least fashionable person I know–and I know almost seven people.
Rob Machado has joined the beard club, although he doesn’t really have a beard. He has a goatee, which, in almost any other circumstance, is simply not acceptable. Rob, however, does the unthinkable: he pulls it off. So much of his power comes from that hairy face, and like he says, “grow a fucking beard, man.”