FACIAL HAIR MATH* (trigger warnings: man-pelts, pedo-staches, naked Burt Reynolds with his tender vittles covered)


Me prior to my morning shave

Men, we need to talk. I’ve tried to address this issue in my writing before, and I feel like I’m just not getting through. I don’t know why God trusted one of her greatest weapons (facial hair) to the demographic most likely to believe that sweater vests are sexy, but she did. And so through no fault of your own, you have been endowed with a superpower. I understand it’s an enormous burden to bear. I know that the weight of dragging a razor over your face every goddamn day must wear heavily on you, so heavily, that once in a while you just implode and lose your freaking mind. But whether you asked for it or not, you have this gift. You need to learn to use it for the good of all. It’s just like Spider Man’s dad or uncle or grandpa or whatever he was said: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Facial hair can be beautiful. It can. Just ask my biggest crush, Jesus H. Christ. (Little known fact: The “H” is for “Hector.”)

In addition to being able to raise the dead, walk on water, and cleanse lepers, Jesus is also a gifted beard trimmer.
But never should you wear just part of your facial hair. If you are going to wear facial hair, wear all of it. Let’s do some facial hair math. Beard (well trimmed) + mustache (well trimmed) = hot.


Conversely, Beard – mustache = Amish. That Amish beard thing only looks good on Amish guys.

These men are Amish.  You are not. Unless you are, in which case I do wonder how you’re reading a blog posted on the proverbial internets. Maybe my understanding of the Amish and their relationship with modern technology is less than solid.

 Actually, it doesn’t look good on them either, but they ride around in covered wagons, thereby doing their bit to halt this whole climate change thing. Also, they build tasteful, durable furniture from trees they’ve grown and felled themselves, so we forgive them for it. We won’t forgive you for it. Ever. Moving on.

Beard – part of beard + mustache = pirate. You are not a pirate. If Jesus wanted you to look like a pirate, he would have dropped you on a ship in the Elizabethan era, put a rapier in your hand, and suited you up in a snappy pair of leather breeches.

As it is, you are a Home Depot employee in the 21st century. You look ridiculous. Stop it. Or go all the way with it and throw an eye patch and hook into the mix. Unless you’re Johnny Depp. In that case, you can do whatever the hell you want. You are a tormented, brilliant artist. At least half of the movies you make are good. We liked you when you had lethal blades for hands, and that’s not something we always do. (Just ask Freddie Kreuger.) Heck, we even gave you a pass when you decided that a raven was suitable headwear. We will also let it slide when you toy with our minds and hearts by manipulating your facial hair in horrifying, indefensible ways.

My next point. Mustache – beard = pedophile. No one, and I mean no one, ever looked good in a pedo-stache. People say Magnum P.I. did, but they are lying, or legally blind, or both. And even if he did, that was like 1983.

I’m sure Tom Selleck is a very nice man, but you cannot tell me you don’t find this photo at least mildly upsetting.  On one hand, it is a desperate cry for waxing.  On another, it screams “perv” at the top of its lungs.  Did he just jump out from behind a subway map and whip open his shirt like this?  Is a terrified young woman running away shrieking, just outside the frame?

Just because one person managed to pull off the impossible decades ago does not mean you should assume you will be the second man in history to look good in a pedo-stache. Are you going to throw on a white polyester pantsuit because John Travolta pulled it off in 1972 or whatever? Screw staying alive, man.  Some things should stay dead and in the past where they belong, with Aqua Net bangs and powdered wigs and side ponytails.

John Travolta pulled this off.  I don’t know how, but he did.  You can’t.  You won’t.  Don’t try.

What I’m trying to say is your mustache makes you look like a sex offender. When you pull up beside me in a van wearing one of those things, I want to drop my bike and run. I’m waiting for you to whip open your raincoat and scar me for life. If you ever make the mistake of offering a small child a piece of candy with that thing attached to your lip, she will race screaming from the room. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I did, just like her mommy warned her to stay away from creepy men with pedo-staches. Also, somebody probably needs to tell you that sometimes boogers get stuck in that thing.

And trim that shit. Beard + mustache – regular trimming = Grizzly Adams. And how many people have you ever heard say, “You know who I really want to bone? Grizzly Adams.” Zero? That’s what I thought.

He looked like this so bears wouldn’t recognize him as human.  Rule of thumb: If you don’t need to make friends with bears, you don’t need a neck beard.

Weaving lilacs through a beard that could house a small family of ferrets does not count as a fashion statement. And while vermin need homes too (I’m all about the plight of the homeless lice), I shouldn’t have to wonder if they are taking up residence in your beard.

Now I know there are countless women and men out there who disagree with me on all the things I just said, but before you attack me relentlessly, please understand that I am a person who was deeply scarred by various images of Burt Reynolds that were presented to her as a child, especially this one.

Burt Reynolds skinned Tom Selleck and posed on his pelt for a sexy Cosmo photo shoot.
The Burt Reynolds related anxiety I acquired in my formative years was compounded later in life, when I was in grad school. I used to hang out with my friends at this bar called Pals in New Orleans. The bathroom featured a giant reproduction of that Burt Reynolds photo, without the tender vittles covered. To go pee was to subject yourself to severe and lasting emotional trauma. But beer was involved. Lots of it. So there was lots of peeing. That photo haunts me to this day, hence its penchant for popping up in my work. I write about dying fathers a lot. And miscarrying babies. And seeing a mustachioed Burt Reynolds naked. All the things that scarred me for life.


Long story short, I suffer from facial hair induced trauma (FHIT), and it’s not curing itself anytime soon. So think of me, and other people like me, when you set out to use your God-given superpowers. If we can make the New York theatre scene a safe space for Mike Pence, we can certainly at least think about making the whole world, or at least the USA, a safe space for people with FHIT. And if you complain about having to trim your facial hair, I’m going to shove a razor, and a six inch high heeled shoe, and a pair of Spanx, and a tube of lipstick, and an underwire bra, down your goddamn throat.

*Disclaimer: I am not actually a trained mathematician. The equations presented in this blog may not be accurate. Moreover, all of the opinions expressed here are those of the author and have nothing to do with the day to day reality most Americans inhabit, as the author lives in her own fantasy world, peopled entirely with Jesus dopplegangers, all with tastefully trimmed facial hair and well-muscled calves. They go around breaking up fistfights, speaking out against oppression, and generally being Jesus-y/dead sexy. To be completely honest, the opinions expressed in this article aren’t even necessarily those of the author. She probably doesn’t hate your facial hair nearly as much as she lets on. But once she’s on a roll, she can’t stop.

In other news, no actual mustached men were harmed in the making of this blog, nor was this blog inspired by, or directed at, any men I actually know.  Funny story. My daughter and I were people watching. A man had a pedo-stache AND polyester pants. My FHIT got triggered, along with my PIT (polyester inspired trauma—that’s another blog altogether), and I started ranting. Tastefully. Quietly. So as not to be overheard. (Many of my daughter’s and my conversations resemble episodes of Last Comic Standing. She always wins. Her pedo-stache/polyester rant put mine to shame.) And then I figured it was better to write down my thoughts so I wouldn’t risk hurting Stache-man’s feelings. And well, this happened.

Like I said, I don’t really hate your facial hair nearly as much as I’ve let on. Ok, I do. I totally do. But I still love you. Unless you’re an asshole. Like if you’re a racist or a homophobe or a Nickelback fan, I find you as reprehensible as your pedo-stache. But if you are one of those things, you probably aren’t someone I know, or at least I don’t know you are one of those things. Incidentally, if you are a closet homophobe, you should probably not be reading this blog, as I’m liable to post pictures of girls kissing at any given moment.

These are girls.  They are kissing. I wrote a whole book about kissing girls. It won awards. My agent and I were hoping it would get banned, but it never did. It’s never too late though. If kissing girls offend you, please send this link to Rush Limbaugh and tell him I’m trying to corrupt impressionable young minds. At the International Literacy Association conference, they were holding classes to show teachers how to implement it in their classrooms. I actually personally know teachers who use it in their classrooms. True story. So yeah, I’m dangerous. Tell good ol’ Mr. Limbaugh that  Tawni Waters, reprobate author of Beauty of the Broken, sent you.

This disclaimer is going off the rails on a crazy train. I’ll stop now. I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD, but sometimes, I’m sure I have it.  Squirrel!

A rare photo of the endangered sex offender squirrel
 P.S. I did my best to find photo credits for the photos used in this blog.  Most of them were just floating around the proverbial internets and/or were lifted from free stock photo sites.  If you object to me using one, let me know, and I’ll remove it posthaste.  I did find credit for Burt Reynolds, who was famously was photographed by Francesco Skalvullo for Cosmopolitan Magazine, April 1972.  I couldn’t find credits for Grizzly Adams and Tom Selleck for the life of me.  But their photos were slapped all over Pinterest, heaven, hell, and everywhere in between. The John Travolta also was heavily represented in the annals of cyberspace, being credited simply as, “John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever.”





One thought on “FACIAL HAIR MATH* (trigger warnings: man-pelts, pedo-staches, naked Burt Reynolds with his tender vittles covered)

  1. Douglas Williams

    Found this while doing research on the great “Is Burt Reynolds or Tom Selleck the sexiest man alive, and there are no other possible answers” debate of… shit… maybe 1977? This piece didn’t help at all, but it really made me laugh, so thanks for that.


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