The Facial Hair Handbook claims to know what’s going on inside a guy’s head based on the amount of scruff he has on his face
Do you have a thing for guy’s with beards? I do. A hint of scruff, some stubble or a five pm shadow is downright sexy (also painful for your face, but we’re talking aesthetics here, not semantics). A completely clean-shaven face has a baby-faced look that makes me think ‘boy’ instead of ‘man.’ My first boyfriend, Patrick, is the only person I’ve ever dated who could get away with that clean close shave, but he looks like Prince William, and when Wills sports stubble , it’s as wrong as Kate Middleton would be if she dressed like Miley Cyrus and sported feather extensions.
That said, a new book has the skinny on what a man’s beard says about his personality. The Facial Hair Handbook is basically a guide for guys written by two-time world beard champion Jack Passion. Yes, there really is a competition for beard growing. Hopefully you don’t go for guys who resemble Rip Van Winkle, but keep reading, and you might find out why you’re attracted to a certain type (and that goes for both man and beard).
THINK: George Clooney, Zach Galifianakis, Joaquin Phoenix
This look says ‘alpha male.’ “With his mane, the lion presides over the jungle as king. So does [the fully-bearded] man,” says Passion. “If the beard is solid, subtle and sharp you’re looking at self-actualized enlightenment, the pinnacle of manhood.” Clooney, is, of course, the alpha male in question.
Apparently Galifianakis’ mountain man look is working for him as well, “Maybe he’s a little granola, but in a good way: Your kids will eat organic,” says Passion. “[In fact], the beard is the male equivalent of child bearing hips.”
Keep in mind though, that facial hair has to have some sort of structure or else the guy is just going to appear crazy. A full, natural beard “can signify virility, shyness, mania or laziness,” depending on how its worn, according to Michael Ames, author of The World Beard and Moustache Championships. In Phoenix’s case, this untamed beard is a sign that he may be a little nuts.
Think: Blair Underwood
What a goatee-wearer is actually saying to you is ‘I’m old.’ It’s true — a guy with a goatee either is either geriatric or unaware that he’s aging his face (or an old soul). ”The goatee is a mature style … so on a younger man, maybe he’s saying he’s got something to prove?” says Passion. “On an older guy, he’s saying, ‘I’ve earned the right to wear this,’ and simply by wearing it, he has.”
Think: Zachary Levi, Jon Hamm, Adam Levine
This is the look I generally dig, and apparently, I’m not alone — this overall scruffy situation is beloved by many, many women, but according to Passion, we should be wary. “Assuming this isn’t the beginning of a beard, overall scruff could say a few different things, so look at the jeans,” he advises. “Designer? He’s in it to get laid, plain and simple. Covered in oil paint? Artist, probably living off parents’ vast old wealth … a gold digger’s jackpot.”
Think: Kevin Jonas, John Corbett, Robert Pattinson
Oh God. Stay away from a dude with sideburns if you aren’t into all any kind of Eat, Pray, Love BS. Because it’s a non-committal style, it could be indicative of “a man finding himself,” says Passion. “Not yet willing to grow out a beard, [this guy has] begun to let his sideburns grow in to test the waters.”
Sideburns also act as a highlight to the overall scruffiness we find so sexy. “Once the purview of rebels and bikers, sideburns are the new goatee,” says Ames. “Every guy’s got them.”
Think: Chris Daughtry
Ew. Although I love Daughtry’s music, I think he should probably get rid of this gnarly look real fast. A man with a strap “probably spends an inordinate amount of time making other things that are fine to begin with look perverse, too. For instance, import cars,” says Passion.
Think: Jason Schwartzman, Orlando Bloom
Although I think mustaches look creepy and borderline pedophilic, Passion says that a guy should get kudos for rocking this odd look. The ‘stache is “the only difficult part of a beard, making it hard to eat, kiss, etc.,” Passion notes. “For a man to voluntarily take on the hardest part of the game … it’s a sign [that he] bows to no challenge, least of which being the number of negative stereotypes that so unfairly haunt the mustache.”
Think: Geraldo Rivera
This guy is a perfectionist, and keeping himself fit and groomed is very, very important to him. “The handlebar says that this man is willing to groom [his facial hair] to perfection. A great compromise in which case everyone wins,” says Passion. Though, “sometimes [this style is] the mark of a hipster in denial.
SOUL PATCH or FLAVOR SAVOR
Think: Bruce Springsteen, Jack Black, Apolo Anton Ohno
This guy might think that Seattle is the place for him – circa 1993 when Singles was popular, that is. “If worn alone, this guy is surely fond of the ’90s,” says Passion. “With another style, like a mustache for instance, the flavor-saver is an easy way to get bonus points.”
Think: Jackson Rathbone, Matthew Broderick
“When done right, massive chops can be regal. When done wrong, few things look as much like a dead animal on your face,” says Ames. In terms of the man spotting the chops, as Twilight star Rathbone does, “Assume he’s detail oriented, because to keep any style like this groomed, it takes work. This man is also not afraid to let it grow and express his wild side,” explains Passion.
STRANGE FACIAL HAIR or PATTERNED FACIAL HAIR
If you want a guy who’s always seeking attention, then date a dude who wears a designer beard. Otherwise, stay the hell away. “Unless seen in competition or exhibition, weird designs are a desperate cry for attention. Facial hair is marginalized and (unfortunately) exotic enough as it is, we don’t need this kind of stuff hurting the cause,” Passion says.
Think: Tom Cruise, Justin Bieber
As a facial hair aficionado, Passion does not approve of this look. “Call mall security and let’s find this little boy’s mommy … Oh, what’s that, young man? You’re 31?” he asks, mocking the clean-shaven man. I’m with him. It’s nice, sure. But would you ever want to be referred to using the world’s most boring adjective? Exactly. Bring on the scruff!