Wanted: stylish stubble - Metro US

Wanted: stylish stubble

Ever come to one of those harrowing realizations? Like the one where you realize you’ll never be a pro athlete, an astronaut or rich.My recent one wasn’t so dramatic, but it did take a bite out of my innate sense of masculinity: I will never be able to produce even remotely enviable facial hair.

About three weeks ago I got lazy and let it grow for about four days and realized before I bit the bullet and pulled out my trusty Mach 85, 17-blade super-powered motorized hand razor, that I looked like a 13-year-old trying to grow a beard. Only I’m 29. It just wasn’t flattering.

But at least I came to that conclusion. Back in my U of T days — when drinking was actually a part-time occupation —a bunch of my friends engaged in a beard growing contest to varying degrees of success. I opted out, knowing full well that as a bartender by night, my scraggy face wouldn’t be welcomed in one of Toronto’s highest-profile haunts.

By week two-and-a-half most of them looked like escapees from an 18th century French penal colony. Others totally rocked the beard-and-’stache combo.

Why, then, can some men pull off facial hair with pride while others simply look foolish sporting a goatee, soul patch, moustache, full beard, or worse, some sort of bizarre hair design aimed at making themselves look unique?

“I’ve always been told by women that good-looking guys don’t need facial hair. It’s the guys that need more character that need it,” says Roberto Barbossa, owner of Yorkville’s Salon Escape.

“I find that anybody with really predominant features like square jaws don’t really do facial hair very well,” he adds, pointing to Brad Pitt (when he’s well groomed, that is) as an exception to the rule.

Barbossa feels that the guy who looks like the boy next door is also the least likely candidate for facial hair — he’s just too boyish looking to make it work.

Good-looking guys who need a bit of an edge? Now you’re talking. “Three to four days growth is okay,” Barbossa says of the acceptable growth limits for the average man, adding that good facial hair needs to be trimmed on a regular basis to avoid a Grizzly Adams look.

Think designer Tom Ford, Leonardo Di Caprio at this year’s Oscars, or Johnny Depp at almost any point in his career for positive examples.

“Unless you’re a celebrity or rock star trying to pull off the grunge look, (women will) think you’re just dirty or unkempt,” if one exceeds that four-day growth limit. Think a deliberately rugged Matthew McConaughey, Mel Gibson while filming Apocalypto or you on a seven-day bender (remember those?). Whether on a multimillionaire or the average Joe, wild beards are a scary thing.

Barbossa says facial hair can, however, offer solace and aesthetic salvation for balding men. He feels the less hair a guy has on top, the more the fur on their face can add a bit of intrigue and definition to their appearance.


Men who rock the face fur:

• Brad Pitt (when trimmed)

• Sean Connery

• Tom Selleck

• Burt Reynolds

• Leonardo Di Caprio

• Tom Ford (with a two-day shadow)

• Albert Einstein

• Johnny Depp

• Chuck Norris

• The Swedish Chef

• Richard Petty

• Edward Norton

• Lanny MacDonald

Men who really don’t:

• Brad Pitt (when shaggy)

• Matthew McConaughey

• The Pope (i.e., any Pope)

• Justin Timberlake

• Kevin Federline

• Ben Affleck

• Matt Damon

• Elijah Wood

• Mel Gibson

• Nicholas Cage

• Keanu Reeves

• Ricky Williams (especially in self-loathing mode)

• Me chris atchison/metro toronto

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