Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beard Envy

Beards are kind of a big deal out here in the Pacific Northwest.  And by kind of a big deal, I mean extremely exceedingly important, and a frequent topic of conversation.  I have never heard the term “beard envy” used with such frequency or genuine sentiment behind it as I have since I’ve been out in Washington.  And as fall has rolled in and brought with it cooler climes, everywhere I look I am greeted with a beard.  I am not even exaggerating when I say that more than 50% of men here have beards.  Of the 7 male students at ACTS, 5 have beards right now; 2 of the 3 men on staff and both pastors at church have beards.  I’m not kidding.  I had noticed it somewhat before, but now it’s EVERYWHERE, like an epidemic of hairy-faced men running around.

The beard culture is somewhat complex, given the variations in stage, thickness, and fullness of beard, as well as how people feel about neck hair, trimming their beards, and comparing head hair and beard hair length.  I have heard from the mouths of more than one guy that they are envious of other men’s beards.  And I have heard from the mouths of approximately no girls that they prefer beards to no beard.  Interesting.  I am a little nervous that the guys will all shave down to just mustaches before we head to Mexico.  Awkward.

Back east, the “scruffy” look, as popularized by Justin Timberlake and Brad Pitt is totally “hot” and “hip.”  Facial hair has cycled back into fashion and in some places is even considered acceptable in business settings.  Out here, it’s not because it’s popular or hip or sexy.  It’s just practical (read- WARM).  And easy.  And manly.  Because there are loads of manly men out here.  Truck loads. 

And you know what, I kind of like it.  While I still think I prefer scruffy to fully bearded, I definitely could handle a manly mountain man.  All you men out there vying for my love, take careful notes.  I’m not quite sure what I’ll do when I go back to the east coast, with cleanly shaven baby-faced guys. It might be reverse culture shock.  I shall leave you with a few (ok, a lot) pictures of some of the bearded men in my life.  Please note the spectrum and variation in stage, thickness, and fullness.  Please vote on your favorite beard.  All the guys want to know whose is the best.  It’s of great importance who is the manliest of manly men. Great.  Importance.

Pastor Tom

Pastor Tony

Keith (newly a daddy!)



Jacob (Interesting view, interesting guy)

Remy (You should see the BACK of his head; he's not in ACTS)

Trevor (Who will also be in Romania!; not currently in ACTS)

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