Dudes Explain Their Facial Hair Choices

Welcome back to Guysourcing, where a panel of helpful gentlemen answer your questions. This week's question was the following: "What factors influence your facial hair style? How often do you change it? How long does it take for you to get used to a new one? Do you change it based on the preferences of the person/people you're dating? And if you date dudes, what are your facial hair preferences for them, if any?" Below, guys respond.

Recovery

I'm just glad I'm able to have facial hair now. From the time I was in my mid 20s until I got divorced when I was 33 I've always worn a goatee. But after my divorce the stress of the situation caused me to get alopecia which meant that hair would not grow on most of the left side of my face all. The idea of having half a goatee did not seem like something I wanted to try so for the next three years I was clean shaven and I felt naked. I also noticed that I got a lot less attention from women without the goatee, so I am left to think I look much better with it than without it. After three years of therapy and finally realizing that Xanax and not the other medication my doctor had tried to prescribe for my anxiety really worked, my facial hair came back and I'm really happy to have it — even if it, combined with my beer belly means I get cat calls if I end up walking by the local bear bar at night.

Anti-Nietzsche

I'm too lazy to spend time styling the hair on my face (either that or I know deep down that I look ridiculous sporting any facial hair style aside from shaved and bearded). I hate shaving; it's tedious, and I grow a beard pretty quickly. I also hate being clean shaven (I look silly). I actually look best with some stubble, and I'm lucky enough to live in a time when you can absolutely get away with sporting beard stubble of various length without people assuming you're homeless or unemployed.

I've had a full beard, but after a while the upkeep on that gets to be more of a hassle than I'm willing to put in. (It gets hard, for example, to trim the 'stache when it starts growing over your mouth Nietzche-style).

I can, of course, always be convinced to shave now if the stubble is too course and is going to get in the way of bedroom activities.

Brawny

I originally grew my current beard so I could have a profile on a gay site. They kept rejecting my request for about three years, I grew a beard, and voila, accepted. It proved to be so popular with men that I kept it. This is drastically different from my first attempt to grow one in college — I did not trim it often and the reception was 50/50 love/hate. It scared me off for a while. Now I would not trade it for a new car. If a partner asked me to get rid of it — I would at least consider it, maybe alternate beard months with shaven months.

In partners I am fine with them having it or not, but it needs to be neat, full, and short. These beards that dangle like house plants? Not a fan. That being said it can make for some hot action having someone rub their beard on your body. And seeing someone with one lends them an air of masculinity — move over Brawny, there's a hotter lumberjack whose hair is taking over his face!

Beard-flexible

Being in the south, weather influences my facial hair the most. If it's too hot, the beard goes, or it's trimmed down. I'm more lax in cooler months. But most important is a girl's preference for how hairy my face is. I've been told the more beard, the better. I've been told the same thing about a clean shave. The consensus seems to be a few days' stubble, or a light and well-groomed beard, is best. I've had all lengths, and a good comb and shampoo and condition every other day keeps moderate to big beards under control. Also, shave the neckbeard, use a beard trimmer, and clean up the edges. When it's in full bloom, I love my beard being touched and scratched. Parting with a full beard is sometimes relieving, or it can be like losing an arm, but it takes only a few weeks to get one up and running again. It's not emasculating to cut it down, if requested. I've left stubble or beard burn on girlfriends before, so I know a beard isn't always welcome, no matter how awesome it may look. But an ultimatum of "No beard, ever" is too far.

Crowd-pleaser

My girlfriend's really into beards, but I probably won't grow it out. It's definitely the season for it, since few things are more terrible than that ice-cold winter breeze freezing an exposed throat or face, but I've never grown one because a girl asked me to. Actually, more women ask me to shave than anything else. I have an extremely full beard with an array of reds, brown, black and gray that I think is pretty distinguished, but my grandmother, mom and sister all hate it. That actually might be why I tend not to grow it out more than anything else: I like being around them more when they're happy with how I look. If that means not wearing a beard, then so be it.

Words of wisdom

At least for me, the bulk of my facial hair style decisions (sorry, disasters!) were done and over with during high school and early college. I never got too out there, just your multiple goatee attempts and the dreaded few months sophomore year of college when I rocked a pretty impressive soul patch. And by impressive, I of course mean the thought of it haunts my soul to this day. For those of you that continue to allow a friend, coworker, what have you walk around with those 'flavor savors,' you should do your part for world peace and let them know they kind of look like a douche. They'll thank you sooner than you'd think.

Scruff window

So there's this fleeting window — somewhere between 48 and 72 hours after a good, close shave — where my facial hair achieves optimal scruffiness. It's just visible enough to look rugged and devil-may-care, but not so noticeable that people think I'm trying to grow a beard. I should really only go on first dates during that window; too soon and I look irritatingly freshfaced, too late and I look...just...Williamsburg.

As much fun as it is to grow a dirt-squirrel, a soup-catcher or a full-blown walrus-stache, for me it just comes down to practicality. I've never met a girl would prefer to kiss me through what reportedly feels like the business end of a toothbrush, let alone bring that bristly action near her ladyparts. If you prioritize your facial hair over what makes a girl happy during sexytime, you have really warped priorities.

Sideburns

I can't grow a beard, so the entire discussion is academic. Alright, I probably COULD, but not without a serious investment of time. My facial hair is sparse and grows slowly. Once — due to extenuating circumstances — I couldn't cut my beard for three months and I came out of it looking like David Blaine after he exited the ice in Times Square. I guess now that I'm a little bit older, my hair might be a little thicker, but not a lot — I still only shave once a week. I mean — besides that, sure, I'd change it based on my wife's preferences, though I don't even know what they'd be! Other than I guess she likes me kind of scruffy, in theory, but not scratchy — sort of a lose/lose, if you ask me. Even if I had more active facial hair, there is just something you have to be aware of — there is a beard, but then there is a Beard. You know, a sort of monolithic piece of facial hair that substitutes for an actual identity. One minute you are growing your facial hair out...the next, you are crazy eyed lunatic. I guess the one thing I do have is...sideburns? Not chops or anything, but they come down to the end of my ear. Gotta keep those guys around.

Snidely

About a year ago I got bored with my face, so I decided to try to grow my facial hair. It turns out that I can only really grow a mustache and it also turns out that it rather suits my face in a sort of '70s gay porn sort of way which many homosexuals either find attractive or repellent. If you don't like my mustache, then you're probably not my kind of gay anyway, so I kept it. I like anything that gets me a reaction—either good or bad.

These days I really like other guys that have facial hair too, but it's not a requirement. I like anything as long as it's flattering and well kept. Well, except a goatee. I didn't want to sleep with Ben Affleck in 1996 and I still don't want to now.

The funny thing about facial hair though is that it sort of knows what you're used to. I usually only shave the rest of my face once a week, and on day 7, my beard gets unbearably itchy. The same thing happened with my mustache, but after a week of fighting through the itch, it just went away. Now I don't even feel it, except when I stroke it to do my best Snidely Whiplash impersonation, which, strangely enough, has gotten me laid more than once. That means the mustache stays.


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