How to Tell If Your Beard is Stupid

I'm not what you would consider a connoisseur of beards, although I'm rethinking that position because I just now spelled "connoisseur" right on the first try.

(Seriously, that's never happened before. I feel like I should get an award or something.)

Anyway, I've always appreciated beards, but I've never wanted one like the urban lumberjacks and Duck Dynasty fanboys have sported for the last several years.

I've been happy with what I thought was a nice full goatee and mustache, or "moustache" if you want to be all French about it. I've had my little facial furniture since 1991, which means I've sported a beard for more than half my life.

My chin has not seen the light of day since George H.W. Bush was president. Since the Soviet Union ended. Since Kevin Costner butchered a British accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

I even have a scar under all that hair from when I was 10 and rode my bike face-first into a neighbor's mailbox. At least I think I do. It could have disappeared for all I know.

And as a newly-minted beard connoisseur (that's twice now!), I know there are a few dozen styles of beards, some with centuries-old histories and names.

For example, there's the classic full beard, which is, well, just a beard. Stop shaving for a few months and you'll have a full beard. No pretension, no special style, it's just. . . there.

It's the tan khakis of beards. The only thing that takes less effort is to never shave again.

But you should at least shave your neck. No one likes a neckbeard. Men with neckbeards look like they live under a bridge and eat wayward billy goats.

If you trim the sides but grow the bottom out several inches, you'll have a Garibaldi. (Named after the Italian general, not the cookie.)

Trim those bottom hairs so you have a point at the end of your beard, and that's called a Ducktail beard. Or, do a reverse of the Ducktail, and cut out a point in the center of your beard: That's called a French Fork.

Legend has it that if a Ducktail and a French Fork meet, they can join beards and create a super beard that will rule over all other beards in the land.

Then there's my favorite, the Van Dyke, named after the 17th-century Flemish painter, Anthony Van Dyck. It's a mustache and pointy beard, and it looks very distinguished.

I've always kept my goatee trimmed to a point, sort of like a mini-Ducktail, and thought that meant I had a Van Dyke.

But it turns out that's wrong. Almost as wrong as a bald guy with a ponytail.

It turns out that in a Van Dyke, the beard is pointy, but the mustache does not connect to it. My beard and mustache are connected, which means I don't have a Van Dyke.

Round off the pointy tip of a Van Dyke, and you have a Royale beard, which sounds regal and important.

I don't have that either.

What I have is a goatee and a mustache that are connected.

That's called a Circle Beard.

That's it.

Circle. Beard.

Even a building full of accountants and engineers could not come up with a name that's more desperately boring.

In a garage full of sports cars, it's the minivan. It's not called the Chekhov. Not the Rushdie. Not the Evil Spock. It's not a beard named after a mountain, an animal, or a famous Arctic explorer.

It's named after the most common, most boring shape in the world. Hell, it's the shape of the world. Whoever was in charge of naming beards must have let his five-year-old name it, and the little monster shouted the first thing they learned about in school that day.

Calling my facial feat a "circle beard" is like going out for ice cream to a place with 101 flavors and getting a scoop of vanilla.

In a cup.

Still, I'll accept the name "circle beard" before I ever wear the atrocity I just learned about this week. It's called the Monkey Tail beard, and I can't tell if April Fool's Day came early or someone lost a bet.

Take your regular close-cropped beard and clean up all the lines. Next, shave off the left cheek, leaving the right sideburn and — God help me! — a circle beard.

Now, on the right side, shave an inch or so between the mustache and the chin beard. You will have a continuous line of hair that starts at your right ear and circles around your mouth.

Like a monkey's tail.

Just when you thought men had reached Peak Stupid with the man bun, we somehow made it worse.

Someone asked themselves, "What's something that will make me unemployable like a face tattoo, but isn't permanent." And the Monkey Tail beard was — well, not so much born as it was flung.

Men, if you're dumb enough to wear a Monkey Tail beard for anything more than a prank, you deserve every bit of mockery and ridicule heaped on you and your poor life choices.

Trust me on this: I'm a connoisseur now.

Photo credit: InsaPictures (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version here or the paperback version here.