Friday, November 15, 2013

Ask-A-Dude: Facial Hair Edition!

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another edition of Ask-a-Dude!

Remember, you can ask your own questions using the submission form on the right!

Today's question is:

Q: What started out as a sexy two-day scruff on my boyfriend's face has turned into a Unabomber beard he won't shave off. What's the deal with guys and their facial hair?

A: You've heard of Samson, right? Dude was playing poker with God one day, and he was all:
Samson:  Hey, God, what's the difference between prayer in church and prayer in a casino? 
God: I don't know. 
Samson: In a casino, you really mean it! 
God: Ahahahahahahahahaha! Good one, Samson. 
Samson: I know, right? Where's your ante, God, c'mon, you're holding up the game. 
God (antes up): Listen, Samson, I was thinking those Philistines need to learn a lesson. 
Samson: Sounds like it's time for a come-to-Jesus talk. 
God: Ahahahahaha, you crack me up, Samson. No, I was thinking more along the lines of opening a can of whup-ass. 
Samson: That's what I'm talking about. I'm your Huckelberry, God, just give me a weapon, like, oh, I dunno, a rock or a sword or something. Ooh, no, wait, how about the jawbone of an ass? 
God: Whut? 
Samson: Yeah, cuz, like, who fights with the jawbone of an ass, know what I mean? Like, it would be terrifying, like, who's this nutjob? 
God: Yeah, um, okay, let me think about that one. In the meantime, I was thinking I could make you superhuman. 
Samson: Do I get a cape? 
God: No. But you'd be able to pull down temples and rip lions apart with your bare hands. 
Samson: But no cape? 
God: No cape, Samson. 
Samson: Yeah, okay, that sounds cool. 
God: One thing, though. 
Samson: Oh, here we go. 
God: What? 
Samson: Look, no offense, your deity-ship, but every time you make a covenant with someone, you impose these completely arbitrary conditions. It gets kinda weird with you sometimes. 
God: What? Who says that? 
Samson: Oh, I dunno, Noah? 
God: I saved him and his family. 
Samson: Do you have any idea what it's like cleaning elephant poo for forty days? 
God: Do you want the job or not? 
Samson: Don't be mad, bro. I'm just saying. 
God: Look, all you have to do is never cut your hair. Ever. 
Samson: See what I mean? Weird. 
God: Oh, please, like you've ever even seen the inside of a barbershop. Trust me, you're getting off easy, here. 
Samson: What about the jawbone thing? 
God: Oh, for my sake. Fine, you can have the jawbone of an ass. 
Samson: Yiss! 
God (mumbling) 
Samson: What was that? I didn't quite hear you. 
God: I'm also going to make it so you're attracted to untrustworthy women. 
Samson: Whut? 
God: You got any more of this seven-layer bean dip?

All men are like Samson. Our strength lies in our ability to grow thick, luxurious hair. Some evolutionary biologists argue that this is because facial hair broadens the jawline, signaling sexual maturity and dominance. Of course, if that were true, my Aunt Gertrude and her 70's porn 'stache would be the most dominant person in the room.

Maybe we think facial hair is so important because it's kinda like alcohol, a mysterious thing we don't have access to until some threshold is crossed. In high school, we mocked the first kid in class to start growing a beard. In the midst of smooth-faced teens, the Chewbacca-looking dude just seemed out of place. But secretly, we all went back home and "shaved" our peach fuzz in hopes it would stimulate follicle growth. Every year was going to be the year we'd go to school with a five-o'clock shadow (that took weeks to grow).

Anecdotal evidence suggests women like a little facial hair. And that can be a very potent elixir to men. Unfortunately, in our pursuit of the perfect amount of hair to make our SOs swoon, we can spiral out of control very quickly.

Allow me to show you the typical progression of a male trying to appear more attractive to a girl.

Stage 1: A clean shave, a new start. This guy is safe, you can bring him home to the parents.

Stage 2: Just a bit of scruff. Nothing dangerous, just the merest flirty hint of a good time. You can bring him home to the parents but expect a proper grilling from mom and dad asking if he's The One.

Stage 3: Now we're getting serious. This look says, "I donate excess testosterone to charity." Think twice about bringing him home. He might be the nicest guy in the world, but your dad will run a background check and your mother will shake her head and purse her lips, but when you ask her what's wrong she'll just say, "Oh, nothing."

Stage 4: Things are getting weird. Sure, he's got pretty eyes and the thing on his chin is well-groomed. But you can tell from the way he smiles he's starting to think more about his beard pomade than about your relationship. DO NOT BRING HIM HOME UNLESS YOU'RE MARRIED. Dad will shoot him on sight and mom will burst into tears and pound her chest as she screams, "Where did we go wrong?"

Stage 5: Also known as the Zach Galifianakis, this is where the spiral really takes hold. Facial hair has become an end unto itself. It no longer enhances his identity, it IS his identity. All men pass through this phase, during which we experiment with facial hair as artistic expression. Many hipsters get stuck here and never see the light of day again. Oddly enough, you CAN bring men in this stage home to visit your folks. Your parents will immediately recognize that his hair is the central focus of his existence and that he will dump you when you point out that he spent more money on his gold-plated, multi-attachment beard trimmer than he did on your anniversary present. Eventually, either the beard will go or you will. Pray it's you.

Stage 6: Horrific, isn't it? There is no return from Stage 6. This is what happens when men don't have a good support group, friends, a job outside the home, or any human contact whatsoever. Here, the roots of each hair have grown so deep, they've wrapped themselves around the brain, choking it of vital nutrients and causing hallucinations that include hearing the voice of Rasputin say, "Just one more day, dude, you can shave tomorrow." Men who spiral down to Stage 6 must either be committed to a mental institution or made to look at themselves in a mirror for seven days straight. I don't really need to warn you about what happens if you talk to men in Stage 6, much less bring them home, do I? I thought not.

Guys need to have clear external cues to guide them through the different stages and keep from ending up with bat signals on their chins. That's where you come in. Explain that a little goes a long way. Sure, a little scruff is sexy now and then. But the real appeal of facial hair is in the variety it offers. Today he's wearing a nice George Clooney cheek carpet that will look badass in a suit as he takes you out to a nice dinner. Tomorrow he's looking like a mountain man who can chop enough wood to keep both of you warm for the winter. At any given time, he's only a shave away from meeting the parents.

Facial hair can be very seductive, to both sexes. But setting proper boundaries allows men to look and feel masculine without scaring little children (Shel Silverstein, I'm looking in your general direction).

We have to remember, the story of Samson was allegorical, its purpose was to steer men away from untrustworthy women. Or barbers. Or who the hell knows, seriously, that is one effed up Bible story.

Only one man in the history of the world has been able to unlock the secret to perfect facial hair, strike the perfect balance between manliness and being on an FBI watch list. But that man isn't Samson, it's Swanson. Ron Swanson.

Be more like him.

WWRSD? What Would Ron Swanson Do?

Copil's facial hair runs a pub called Beerd. Check for daily Happy Hour specials via Twitter (@Copil).


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