Friday, March 12

Facial Hair and Romance

A couple weeks ago, I went to visit my son and give him his birthday present. Cash, of course, and an I ♥ Beer t-shirt. He’s a man of simple pleasures. How he got to be twenty-four when I’m only thirty-two is one of those freaks of nature we’re not going to go into here.

One thing I noticed however, was that his usual scruff, a kind of goatee, had morphed into a….beard? sort of. It was still the same goatee, but on sideview it hung off his chin by several inches. And since I had a grip on his chin like any well-meaning mother to examine this bit of facial hair, I had a close-up view of the “in style” for men. I tugged on it a few times to make sure it was attached. It was. And still earned me that same Moooooooooom I always get.

I then saw a picture of Brad Pitt…remember him? Gorgeous, scruffy, adorable Brad Pitt. Look at the latest People/Us/Tabloid magazine. He has a beard. And a scruffy one. And suddenly Brad Pitt looks like my Grandpa did. And definitely no longer a fantasy object.

Not my kind of thing. But, what if it’s the new wave of the future? What if our heroes suddenly need to be sporting lip and chin hair? That’s a whole new dimension to writing characters descriptions most of us probably haven’t dealt with.

And his rich, bushy beard tickled her smooth ivory skin like a herd of wooly caterpillars, leaving little red bumps and she shuddered delicately as she saw the remains of what looked like oatmeal in his beard.

Um..ok. So I might have to work on my descriptors a little bit eh? But you know what I mean. We do write about the hairy chested or the (as my friend Jen says) smoooooove chested man in the love scenes, so should writing beards and mustaches be that much more difficult?

Why yes, it is.

First of all, because the beard disguises the lips, sometimes even the teeth. The noble jaw, the lantern jaw, the dimples, the dents. Facial expressions simply disappear under a morass of hair.

Not to mention hair up-keep. Ever eat with a man with a full beard? They eat with a napkin in one hand, stroking food out of the wee beastie. And then! They ask you to tell them if there’s anything in it! Augh. Some things I simply don’t want to consult on, but it seems to be the male equivalent of “honey, does this make my butt look fat?”

If the new beard/facial hair/mustaches are here to stay, are you prepared to write about them? Or just pretend it didn’t happen, the same as that awful I-can’t-see-what-his-butt-looks-like-because-he’s-wearing-jeans-four-sizes-too-big fashion trend?

For me, I want to see my hero’s face. And his butt. Preferably in those tight Wranglers. Yum.




  1. Yuk! Yuk! Yuk!
    Facial hair just grosses me out. Whenever I pick up a book and the hero has a mustache or beard, I put it down. I just can't get into it.
    For all the reasons you mentioned, and more.

  2. No beard. No mustache. Ick!!!! If it can make someone as hot as Brad Pitt look awful, think about what it does to the average man! I say romance leaves this awful trend in the dust.

  3. Okay, devil's advocate here...I like beards, I like scruffy. I am a child of the 1960s, which was all about beards and scruffy and long hair.

    Writing about it could be a different thing, of course. And, Carrie, you are so funny!

  4. oh i don't mind me a little stubble....a little scruffy....but boy full beard look with several inches of hair bothers me....but would bother me more about how to write about it....with mustaches you could always say the ends of his mustache curled up, but the full beard blocks the whole face....and losing those brad pitt dimples is a heartbreaker. =)

  5. You crack me up! I agree with Christi, if a scraggly beard can make Brad Pitt look well, pitiful, than how does an average guy stand a chance.

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  7. I don't have a problem with facial hair as long as the hero doesn't look like ZZ Top. Nice, neat, trimmed mustache and beard. Hmmm. Could make some of the love scenes interesting.

  8. You crack me up, Carrie!

    I like the husband's 'goat' as he calls it...but he keeps it trim. Actually, come to think on it, the goat is actually just a little scruff...and me likee a little bit of scruff! Full beards? Bleh and double bleh!