April 3, 2012 § 5 Comments
No, not the fake girlfriends gay men have to keep their sexuality secret (I just accidentally typed “sexcret.” This should be a new word.) I’m talking about the hair that grows on your face, if “you” are a man with the consistent ability to grow face hair.
This is not a beard:
If the mustache, soul patch, and chin-strap bit don’t connect, it’s not a beard. It’s unfortunate furry patches that are obscuring your face.
And I gotta say, I hate the term “soul patch.” I also hate actual soul patches. It’s like having toothbrush bristles sprouting from your chin cleft.
Anyway, my last post (from a long-ass time ago…sorry about that) focused on pretty men who hide their pretty with heinous facial hair and my annoyance/outrage at said hiding. After writing the post, however, I thought that it perhaps gave the impression that I don’t like facial hair. This is untrue; I simply don’t like ugly facial hair.
A recent conversation with some girlfriends started out focusing on what type of men we each like, which soon morphed into debate over beards, with the question being yay or nay (or yay with a caveat <= that last one’s me). Friend #1 likes outdoorsy men that tend to have bushy-ish beards, wear flannel, drive beat-up pickups, and work for environmental causes. Friend #2 likes clean-shaven men that have their shit together. I tend to go for artsy types with close-cropped beards, and I like beards that are kept in check and regularly trimmed.
In fact, in many cases, a good beard makes me more likely to be attracted to someone.
I think a big part of that is that facial hair is a fashion statement, and the way you trim it, or fail to trim it, works to communicate what identity you want the world to recognize in you. So a guy with a close cropped beard that I’d be checking out is communicating, “I’m an arty hipster-type who probably likes Neutral Milk Hotel and whiskey, and who has more than four pairs of shoes and an apartment with a lot of books.”
When I tried to think of examples of this type of beardy man, the first name that came to mind was Matt Berninger, the singer for The National. He’s the frontman for one of my favorite bands; he has a gorgeous, gravelly baritone (I like Justin Timberlake as much as the next person, but why does every current male singer have to be a tenor?); and when I saw him perform, he was drinking from a tumbler that he periodically replenished with a bottle of white wine (I really like it when performers drink onstage; I don’t know why, especially since, as I singer, I wouldn’t want to drink anything other than water or maybe tea during a performance; maybe I just like that they’re less tight-ass than I am).
Also, Matt Berninger’s face looks like this:
Sign. Me. Up. I’m also a fan of this picture of him holding his daughter:
I love the look of sadness combined with sheer panic.
Okay, so the daughter here (and the wife I also know he has) means this one’s off the market.
Well, there’s always George Clooney, a perpetual bachelor. Though the man has skin so flawless that he doesn’t have to wear makeup on camera (What kind of devilry is this?! ), he also can pull off a nicely trimmed beard.
While the above photo from the 2012 BAFTAs is obviously lovely, I’m particularly partial to the below shot, which is more candid and taken while The Cloonester, his father, and some former senators led a protest in Washington D.C. to draw attention to the ongoing violence in Sudan, calling on alleged war criminal Omar-Al Bashir to stop said violence and allow humanitarian aid workers into the country.
Jon Hamm also looks damn handsome with a beard, but I’m starting to think Jon Hamm would look damn handsome with squirrels stapled to his face and a traffic pylon as a hat.
The man is brilliant comic actor as well as a dramatic actor, and he looks like that. Let’s pray to God he can’t sing…
Depending on the man, I can sometimes get behind the “bald head but with a beard” look. Black guys have a better chance of pulling this off; in second place, hipster-y white dudes.
My personal favorite example is Common. Holy hell.
I’m also often greatly in favor of the scruffy look, in which a man doesn’t go full grizzly but rather seems to have lost his razor for the past few days.
Mr. Miley Cyrus (ick), a.k.a. Gale Hawthorne (okay fine, his actual name is Liam Hemsworth) is greatly benefited by this look.
Hemsworth is very pretty (I prefer him with his Hunger Games dark hair rather than the blondish he’s usually got going on), but there’s something about his prettiness that is too smooth, that makes him look manufactured, a la Chace Crawford, although significantly less so (and even Chace’s alien “good” looks aren’t enough to keep his character from becoming totally superflous on Gossip Girl). Some stubble makes Hemsworth’s face look less like it sculpted from plastic by some overworked peasants in China. He looks so good here; keep it up, Gale.
Of course, some men with faces so pretty they seem unreal should definitely not have scruff.
Matt Bomer is unnaturally handsome. My dad started watching White Collar when it first came on (great fluff show — lots of fun), and the first few times I saw it, and thus Matt Bomer, I kept saying, “Why is the Rolex model talking?”
Matt Bomer’s face can handle only the bare minimum of scruff. I think even this might be too much.
John Cho is another example of someone who should always go sans stubble.
Some, though, really do look good in scruff.
ON THEIR FACES.
Pardon me while I go throw up.
Okay, so I have become much more amenable to chest hair as of late. When I was a teenager, I didn’t like it. I think was largely due to the fact that I was raised with the shiny chests of young Hollywood males, specifically Hayden Christensen. (I was obsessed with him after the second Star Wars prequel. I know; it horrifies me too. Some of my early crushes, like Ewan McGregor at age 10, also due to Star Wars, I still think were spot on. Others, like Hayden, not so much…)
My mother found my attraction to guys with shiny, shaved chests appalling. Choice quotation from our discussions of this issue: “I don’t like bald-chested men!”
Since Hayden briefly pulled me to the dark side, however, I’ve come to prefer chests in their natural state, hair and all. Or rather, I’ve come to find chest hair itself attractive. Assuming his torso doesn’t look like a shag carpet.
Now, when a guy’s chest is all smooth and shiny, my thoughts tend to run as follows:
1) What are you, twelve?
2) You probably had to get that waxed. You chose to get your chest waxed and then went through all the trouble to do it. Yeah…we’re not gonna work out.
That said, I’m not a fan of the deep-v trend and all the man-cleavage, especially when it comes with bonus chest hair. I mean, is this joke:
So to sum up the post thus far: beards, yes, depending on the man. Scruff, almost always yes. Chest hair, yes; hairy man cleavage, no.
One final tip on how to pull of the “I’m a scruffy rake” look. Just look to Bradley Cooper. He knows his look is working…
…but even a face like his can use a little help. Let’s take that scruffy man and add a scruffy dog. Perfect.
March 9, 2012 § 2 Comments
So I have this friend. He’s very pretty. Like, his skin was made by elves and his hair spun out of rose-gold by fairies.
No, not that kind of fairy.
Except…well, okay, that works too.
My point is that this friend has been genetically blessed when it comes to his physical appearance. He has those ice blue eyes that are so piercing they kind of scare you, and his strawberry blonde (though more strawberry than blonde) hair is so silky and perfect that I’ve talked with a number of friends about it, and we have all admitted to sometimes getting distracted just staring at his hair, seeing the light glance off it, watching him run his hands through it — see, I’ve wandered off into a daydream just thinking about his hair.
And this isn’t just a “break me off a piece of that” kind of situation. A straight guy recently made an envious comment regarding this hair, which was basically like, “How is that possible? Come on!”
And yet recently, my pretty friend has been letting his hair grow too long. Whereas he once had that slightly shaggy “I’m an artist!” haircut, he let the bangs grow until he had to sweep them awkwardly to the side in The Zac Efron:
At times, loathe though I am to speak of them, his hair even approached The Justin Bieber:
Even The Biebs has since realized the error of his hairstyling ways, and I don’t think “Justin Bieber!” when I think “someone who makes great fashion choices.”
I’m sure you can imagine, given the mental picture I’ve painted for you, why I recently commented (nicely! casually!) to said friend that his hair was getting really long and asked if he was planning on cutting it (he’s the kind of person I can see going off into the woods on a “spiritual quest” for the weekend and then turning up three months later, not realizing how much time has gone by and surprised people have been worried about him, so I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d just forgot to cut his hair).
But, horror of horrors — he told me he was growing his hair out! To waist-length! On purpose!!! And that he was always going to wear it down because he doesn’t like when men wear ponytails!
I remember that I excused myself from the room to go vomit, but I must have actually stayed, since he then revealed to me that he’s had long hair before and that, in fact, he used to have dreadlocks! He took his straight, shiny, magicked-into-existence-by–woodland-fairies hair and made it into a dirty mass of wtf are you doing, white boy?
At one point when he had dreadlocks, he also had a bushy beard, and when he saw his mother for the first time with these new style choices, she took one look at him and burst into tears. True story. (Also, he said that he no longer grows beards because the beard splits in the middle of his chin and gathers into two points. May I quote Joey Tribbiani when I say, “That goatee makes you look like Satan.”)
Now, my friend has no reason to give a flying #&$% what I think of his hairstyle, me or anyone else — although we are the ones who have to look at him all the time — but his desire to go from “Hellooooo there” to “I think that guy is going to try to steal my purse!” got me thinking: what is it that makes really handsome guys work to uglify all their natural pretty?
It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately since it’s been awards season, and despite the fact that the Oscars are better than Lunesta at combating insomnia, I somehow watched all of it. And all of the Golden Globes. And I think I watched part of the Emmys? Although I avoided the Grammys like the plague because I hate that shit — also, I want Chris Brown to crawl under a rock and die.
The point is, I watch these shows partly out of masochism (who doesn’t love watching mediocre art beating out good art for the title of “year’s best”!) and partly out of my love for fashion. I watch for the dresses, and the hairstyles, and the jewelry, and the shoes, and oh yeah, the suits and other men-type-things.
Unless you’re Ryan Gosling in that olive green suit from the Ides of March premier, or Darren Criss in that cranberry slim-cut, or any other sexy man in a suit that I want to pour into my glass and drink, mostly men at the Oscars (etc.) succeed through understatement, i.e. by simply not doing anything wrong.
If you’re a man at the Oscars (etc.) and I don’t remember what you were wearing the next day, that’s probably a good sign — not an incredible sign, you didn’t wow me, but still, high five for you — a sign that you wore a black tuxedo that fit you well enough, rather than putting on something too crazy.
Since menswear excellence is often based around less-is-more (or around Tom Ford — everything that man makes is stunning), it’s other parts of male stars’ appearance that stand out to me. Lately, it’s their panic to cover up handsome.
And why? What, pray tell, is wrong with handsome? I’m a huge fan of handsome! Why are you taking the handsome away from me?!
If the media is going to push unrealistic beauty expectations on us at every waking moment, I might as well have some pretty men to show for it!
The Oscar Man Fug that had one of my best friends texting me in horror occurred on the face of one of my all-time favorite pretty, pretty men: Bradley Cooper.
Baby, WHY?! Let’s hope and pray this was for a movie. And we know it’s not actually for the role of Satan because that 3-D Paradise Lost flick got cancelled, thanks be to all that is good and holy.
Others, however, can’t so easily hide behind the “It’s for a role!” defense. Take, for example, Ashton Kutcher, who’s role on Three and a Half Men recently led to his being forced to fix his horrifying face. And by that I mean cut his hair and evict the rodents living on his chin.
Now, while Ashton Kutcher is majorly not my type (and by that I mean that he is astonishingly accomplished in the art of douchebaggery), he does actually have a pretty face. You know, when he allows it to go outside.
That look is okay. The guess-how-long-it’s-been-since-I-showered! look? Not so much…
Christian Bale is another one that I’ve been having trouble with for a while. Look, I know that he’s a very good-looking man. I’ve seen Batman Begins. I’ve seen The Dark Knight. I’ve seen 3:10 to Yuma, and The Prestige, and Public Enemies. I even saw Terminator: Salvation, though I can’t imagine why. I’ve seen Newsies. I’ve even seen Pocahontas, and in Pocahontas he’s sexy as a cartoon!! And yet, when I see him at any public event lately, I can only think, “What did I see in this guy, again?”
Seriously, what did I see in him? Oh right, that’s what:
The movie-star-on-his-off-time-skipping-a-shave-or-two is a pretty common occurrence in tabloid photos/in actors’ actual lives, and that makes total sense to me: if it’s your job to look perfect every moment, I can see why you’d trash the razor and eat entire pizzas given the chance. However, I think this should stop at a point.
Yes, sometimes when I’m working on a paper (graduate school = now I’m a perma-student), I don’t leave my house for four days and I don’t shower or put on makeup or wear anything aside from pajamas or sweatpants, and my bangs are all twisted on top of my head and I get that twitch in my eye…but the point is that after I finish the paper (or happen to look in a mirror), I take a shower and put on some real clothes. Also, though I do frequently grocery shop after I go to the gym and thus venture into public with no makeup, a red face, and sweaty, sweaty hair, I usually don’t want to punish strangers for having to look at me.
And I think, given these recent photos, that Shia LaBeouf has reached the “punishing strangers who have eyes” stage.
If I hadn’t been prompted by the headline to know that this was Shia LaBeouf and you’d asked me who this was a picture of, I’d have replied, “Some homeless guy,” or “A hipster.”
Shia’s not in the upper echelons of “Bring the smelling salts! She’s fainted!” handsome, but he is definitely not bad-looking, and he has this strangely sexy vibe that I’ve never been able to pin down. And if you can look like that bum/painter above or like this:
…guess which look I think you should pick.
Plus, my best friend K has run into him in Burbank and apparently he’s super chill and a great sport, and he dated Carey Mulligan for several years whom, if you read the site regularly you’ll know I totally adore, so I’ll continue like Shia — or as we’ll soon be calling him Shi-Yeti.
But while Shia LaBeouf is a young guy who seems like a bit of a wild card, some of the other “Keep the handsome away from me!! The power of fame compels you!!!” menfolk are less young and far more handsome.
Brad Pitt is potentially the worst offender of all, in that he been hiding his handsome behind bad haircuts and bad facial hair for years, and also because he has the most handsome to hide.
I despise his hair. Despite the fact that he probably has a stylist following him around his house adjusting his hair/clothes, Pitt’s long hair always manages to look like it hasn’t been washed in a few days.
And don’t tell Angie (or the tabloids), but I’d suggest that in the above picture (his official 2012 Oscars nominee portrait), he looks like he’s channeling ex Jennifer Aniston during her early Friends years.
Short in the front, long in the back for no reason? Yep, it’s The Rachel, only without the proper styling — Brad forgot to add the mouse and blow-dry the top with a large round brush! Shame on you, Brad…
Also, that goatee has got to go. My favorite photo from the 2012 Oscars red carpet is the following one, because Brad’s facial expression is admitting what Brad himself refuses to admit: that facial hair is heinous.
We know you’re not 25 anymore, Brad, and that’s okay! We know you won’t look like you did in Thelma and Louise, but you can still look like this:
Or like this:
Don’t let Angelina’s perma-perfect alien-skin get you feeling down about your wrinkles — you’re an earthborn human so you’re going to age, while she doesn’t seem to have that problem.
You’re still handsomer than 99.99999985% of men. Who have ever lived.
Brad, we love you, not as much as we love The Clooney, true, but we love you. So please, bring back the short hair and the clean shave, or even just the short hair!
But whatever you do, don’t go back to this: