FIVE THôT editor and columist Nick Baber is a lover of film, design, futurism, and his cat Boba Fett. Check out his other articles here.
The social stigmas and amount of emphasis placed around male masculinity in our culture can become is overwhelming for a lot of young men. I’m 27 years old and I can’t grow a beard, save for a handful of chin hairs. In all actuality, I’ll probably be close to 40 before I can grow anything like Ben Affleck’s manly facial rug and who knows, by then my hairline may begin to recede and I’ll look more like a poor man’s Jackie Earl Haley with a goatee. So woe is me. I have a baby face and that is that. Or is it?
One of my friends tells me I too, can be a part of the macho crop of furry-faced men, “just check out Minoxidil” he tells me. So I do. Only to discover that Minoxidil is most commonly marketed as Rogaine and requires continued use on the area in which you would like to grow hair.
Yeah, that’s right. If I’m interested in promoting follicle growth on my moneymaker then I’d need to purchase a monthly supply of the stuff, and if I stop using it, I stop growing facial hair. And there’s just something about the planned obsolescence of an iPhone I can deal with but I’m a tad more hesitant when it comes to the idea of growing a beard, only to lose it again due to hereditary genes.
I’ve never met my biological father. I believe he’s of Latin decent, as is the majority of the rest of my immediate family. My uncle was well into his late 30’s if not 40’s before he was able to grow a beard and my grandfather sports a white goatee along with his signature wide brimmed hat to cover up his bald head, once again signaling that I’ll probably go bald before angels ever bless me with the 5’ o clock shadow I so desire.
Thankfully I’m not the only man in the world who finds facial hair, or lack thereof, to be the linchpin of his insecurities. Some men are overtly hairy and I am certainly glad my back doesn't resemble a shag rug. (I helped a friend Nair his back once and it wasn't pretty.) One friend whom I spoke with tells me that he’s always hated his beard and to this I am quite confused because I’ve always been incredibly envious of his ability to grow one so quickly. He tells me that his insecurity lies in the color of his beard, which I realize is quite red compared to his jet-black coif, and that he never lets it grow too long because of this.
And to that I say NAY! Grow that beard regardless of its color!
Of course I say this out of envy. Beard-envy.
But somewhere deep down I know that the ability to grow facial hair is exactly that, and nothing more than a social or cultural insecurity I've taken on in my life. And hey, I always tell myself it's not that bad, after all I only feel left out once a year when No Shave November rolls along, so until then I'll just continue to shave my chin.