Beard trend pieces and the art of wank writing


There’s a beard market, plain and simple. Ke$ha likes beards, I like beards, that Williamsburg waitress with the cutout shoulders likes beards, babies find beards fascinating, and you like beards.

This is why every publication that documents trends has written one, two or twelve stories about facial hair. These pieces write about the rise, the fall, the rise and the fall of the beards. They include listings to the best products to maintain a beard, and they focus on what styles are in. They also inspire think pieces that dwell on beard abandonment.

FAB magazine, one of Toronto’s local gay publications wrote a cover story about the subject this week. The story outlined, and I kid you not, that: 1) beards are masculine; 2) there are gay sex apps for people who like beards; 3) the Internet has beards; and 4) there are beard parties. I stress the term ‘outline’ because nothing is really developed on the subject. It’s a puff piece with hot pictures. The history of the gay beard is actually fascinating. The history, as far as we know it, begins with two popular icons: Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde. The beard and the beardless. The calloused and the effete. They are the people we can look to when addressing the origins of a non-twink/twink divide.  You’ll hear discourse about Ancient Greece on the regular, but in truth, the Greeks aren’t really factored into the modern day beard from a gay aesthetics point of view. It’s merely a reference point to look to when discussing the homosexual timeline of hair growth. Later in the timeline, you’ll note that beards were used to “return to masculinity” after a decade of boydom, and you’ll also find that beards were grown to cover up the symptoms of HIV/AIDS. Historically, the beard is important.

Today, there’s no definitive reason why someone grows a beard. Some say “to be masculine,” and others say “just ’cause.” The point is, it doesn’t matter. Some like to tug on beards, others like to make beard rubbing videos, others like the warmth it provides, some people like that it gives them a chin, and others even like the way gobs of ejaculate look in their beards. There are so many reasons for having a beard, so why is it that there’s this impulse to profile the beard  exclusively as this last refuge of the alpha male? And yet, the same gay beard story is told again and again: cool, beard brah! parties! Greece! BEARD POP CULTURE REFERENCE!

These puff pieces that discuss the why—hipsterdom, masculinity—are old hat, and hacky. They add nothing to a conversation that has been written to death. And frankly, just grow your fucking beard for whatever reason you want. And complain about it if the article hasn’t outlined why it is that you yourself have taken the challenge. I’d like to know the what. Are there specific health concerns for growing a beard? If a lost piece of food goes undetected and starts to mold, do the follicles leech toxins? If a guy cums in my beard and he doesn’t feed it to me, what is the best conditioner to get rid of the semen? Are there benefits to brushing my beard every day? What can a “beard conditioner” do that a hair conditioner can’t?

But really, more hot pictures aren’t going to hurt anyone. Throw the latest FAB guys in your Spank Bank and call it a day. And then maybe help me answer the questions above. It’s time the E True Hollywood story of the beard is revealed! Drugs, sex and murder, please.

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