This Beard I Have Grown Is Having the Inverse Effect On My Perceived Masculinity That I Had Intended

The bar scene is one of immediate scrutiny and, very often, utter despair. One needs a competitive advantage, a shot in the arm, so the speak. I am that one. And that shot in the arm is hair on my face.

I look like the Brawny Paper Towel Man. This beard is going to be the double-edged scythe with which I shall slay numerous ladyfolk. Just you watch.

Most of the senses come into play at some point whilst navigating the Single’s waters at the local pub. Smell is often trumped by the wonderful aroma of brown liquor if not for the choking fumes of thick tobacco products. But then again, you’d be surprised at how potent a good batch of B.O. can be, and how quickly it can cut through all those other fumes. The sound of a bar is muffled by the inevitable crowd noise coupled with a blaring jukebox[1]. So unless you’ve got the tones of Barry White or Morgan Freeman, it doesn’t really matter (halitosis excluded). If you’re worried about taste…you don’t really have a problem, if someone is willing to taste you. Go play in traffic and die.

Oh! I can’t believe it. Red hair. In my beard. But I’ve been brown-headed all my life! This fire-engine colored surprise only ups my ante.

Your best shot is playing the aesthetic hand as dominantly as possible by sporting a handsome, full, luxurious, wealthy beard. Even for the aesthetically challenged, of whom I know at an explicitly personal level, a beard is known to eliminate all blemishes by way of brilliant distraction. The man who can pull off a beard is a man who needs no additional confidence in a bar scene as dicey as the one I regularly walk into. Often, tis a gamble. And I am a gamblin’ man.

Wow, it’s cold out here. This beard is already paying outside dividends: Warmth. Kind of. This sucker is somewhat straggly, but a worthy ornament nonetheless.

Buyer beware. Like every big play, every Hail Mary, the risk is considerable, with a slightly narrow margin of victory. Beards can come in misshapen, discolored, or just downright unsightly. The whole point of a beard is a sense of august majesty slicing through the otherwise dreary scene of humanity (the bar) and shining like a beacon of testicular luminescence. Or…you can end up looking like a child molester.

This beard I have grown is having the inverse effect on my perceived masculinity that I had intended.

Hooooboy. We could be in a pickle here. Nobody is seeming to reciprocate the sheer testosterone that is gushing from my face. Don’t they know that testosterone is the best penetrating androgen through the air? I’ve got it going on right now. I am all that is man. I am the epitome of brawn and strength and physical prowess and pectorals. Check the F out of this beard! I look like the Brawny Paper Towel Ma-…the Brawny Paper Towel man doesn’t have any facial hair anymore, does he?

I think one girl is furiously texting her boyfriend while the other one is staring me down like a fully-clothed man in a boy’s locker room.

Damage control. STAT. Something needs to be said. It needs to be something ridiculously poetic, but also manly. This is going to be a tough line to balance upon. Poetry is inherently feminine, but I’m needing to ground this beard in a little more masculine-fantasy than sex-offender-reality. I need to be the guy on the book cover with this beard, not the milk carton. You’ve got to be sophisticated, but strong and overt, like Old Spice or Hulk Hogan on a big white steed. C’mon…think…say something witty…say something charming…sweep these ladies off your feet, dammit! Sweep! Sweep!

“I don’t know how much sex you’re currently receiving, but you look like you could sweep the shit out of my floors.”

That was not the correct answer. Ouch town. The girl eye-balling me is now tapping her friend furiously on the shoulder like she’s got meat-eating ferret racing around her sleeve, the friend who has skipped texting and gone straight to calling some guy named Todd’s phone directly. I am totally not LOLing right now. I’m not even LQTMing. This train has derailed and is now rolling longwaise like a flaming barrell through an adjacent neighborhood. Both sides of the tracks, the good and the bad, are now aflame. It is time to abort and hide amongst the other patrons of this wateringhole.

“Where’s the dead man who’s been freaking out my girlfriend and her friends?”

Still in the clear. Thank God.

“Where’s that bearded lady hiding?”


“Is that the person?”

Person? Like I said, this beard beard is having the inverse effect on my perceived masculinity I had intended. But not so much that this guy isn’t going to beat me and my beard into the next building. Which is a double fail.


[1] By the way, what company is still making jukeboxes? Whoever it is must have cornered the dingy-bar-jukebox-market. Home stereos have been around for, I don’t know, the last 50 years or so, haven’t they? These days all you need is a pair of cheap speakers in which to plug one of your likely numerous iPods. “This one has Journey on it! DoN’T sToP bElIeViN’!” Another quick side note, if a girl says she loves classic rock and only lists Journey as her loves of the aforementioned rock, she is lying to your face. Not that Journey doesn’t rule, but when you’re featured in the series premiere of a show about Glee Club, you’re not necessarily in the same ball park as awesome records you find in your dad’s basement.


Published by Zack Stovall

Writer living in New York, NY.

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