For millennia, facial hair has been celebrated as not only a practical face warmer, fashion statement, and distinguishing feature in police reports and romance novels alike, but also as a personal reflection of character. Sure, some males simply grow one to be "ironic" or to stand out, but those aren't the true men of the fuzz. Here on Soft Nonsense, I've decided to break down the different types of beards, mustaches, etc for not only your viewing and reading pleasure, but also for your education and (in some cases) warning. I will not be covering the generic "beard," "moustache," "goatee," or "sideburns, "as they are all too widespread and general to be truly classified. Instead, I shall hone in on a few, clearly distinguishable styles.
Also known as: The Fancypants, The Waxy 'Stache, The Curly Q, The "MMMMINDEED"
One of the more iconic styles of facial hair, generally rocked only by those over 50, college kids who think they're cool, or 1970's relief pitchers. Automatically gives wearer increased credibility on whatever they're talking about, an air of classiness as well as wealthiness (with a smidge of eccentricity), and a much higher degree of hilarity. Possible supervilliany is also approximately doubled in likelihood.
Examples: Snidely Whiplash, Rollie Fingers, Salvador Dali, Mario
The Soul Patch
Also known as: The Douche Spot, The Beatnick Beard, Flava Sava
Originally popularized by jazz musicians, this style has been adopted near-universally by douches all over the country, if not world. Seems to make the statement "I'm too cool and hip to be bothered to shave ALL of my face." If paired with shaved head, combines powers to become the Super Douche, whose mighty douche powers include a heightened sense of self-importance, a tightening of their "Tap-Out" t-shirts, and the random appearance of unreadable tribal writing on the skin.
Examples: Howie Mandell, stereotypical beret'd poets, That One Guy (you know who I'm talking about)
The Five O'Clock Shadow
Also known as: The Badass, The Heartthrob, The "I'm Too Damn Busy To Shave," The Shmeh
This beard is sometimes the hardest to classify. In the entertainment business, the Shadow often designates a hardcore action hero or "tough boy" romantic interest. In real life, however, it's often a tell-tale sign of someone who simply doesn't have the drive to take five minutes to shave his face (this guy). But don't kid yourselves ladies: you know that, for whatever reason, a man looking fine with some bristle is worth the tickle.
Examples: Indiana Jones (and most Harrison Ford roles), David Beckham, George Clooney, that sexy musician that you would totally have a love child with without divulging his secret publicly
Also Known As: The Pedo, The Creeper
A facial configuration that has, thankfully, fallen out of vogue slowly but steadily for the last few decades in all but the most devoted NAMBLA members. He could, potentially, be a smooth operator with just enough sexual machismo to pull off even the most ridiculous of facial hair choices, or at best someone goofy enough to not care (see: The Handlebar). But for your own good, if a man approaches you sporting this 'stache variation, back away slowly. Just don't turn your back on him.
Examples: Erol Flynn, Westley from Princess Bride (sorry, 80's/90's kids), John Waters, seemingly every movie star from the 1950's, that neighbor whose waking sleep cycle seems to operate from 11pm to 10am, then again at 4pm to 4:15pm for a nude walk through his home
The Rap Industry Standard
Also Known As: The Kanye, Poser Goat
If you've seen any music videos (those moving picture songs you find on YouTube), you've likely seen this bad boy a few dozen times. This shallow goatee/chinstrap combo is the preferred grooming style of a number of artists, actors, and douches for all races has taken popular culture by storm. Can it be to hip hop what the goatee/sideburn combo was to country music? Only time will tell (though it is at least what the Trash 'Stache is to Pedro).
Examples: The Grammy's
The Fu Manchu
Also Known As: The Hogan, The Sensei
The common denominator of those who decide upon The Fu Man (or, conversely, the FU, Man!) is that they are - or fancy themselves to be - a Badass (capital B). As likely as it is that it is not the case, the 5% of the time that they are, in fact, as badass as their facial hair claims they are will make you rue the day you fucked with the Fu Man.
Examples: Worf, Toki Wartooth, the majority of the Hell's Angels, Ra's al Ghul, Fu Manchu, Christopher Lee (while playing Fu Manchu), that one guy from Kill Bill 2, Ming the Merciless, the 'roided out douchebag at the gym
Also Known As: The Hitler
Maybe he's a Charlie Chaplain enthusiast. But probably not.
Examples: Hitler. And also Hitler. Probably Brad Pitt once. But mostly Hitler.
Also Known As: The Scot, The Wild Dog, The Fan, The Van Buren
A style that can be traced back centuries was long the signifier of class and status now generally signifies drunken men from the British Isles (and I'll let you decide which is better). Legend has it that the longer the hair is and the more parallel (paralleler?) it is to the ground, the more ki power the wearer can wield. Moustache attachment optional.
Examples: Sabretooth, that one guy from your history textbook who said something about the Supreme Court or something, soccer hooligans
The Federation Standard
Also Known As: The Spock, the Cosplay
This pointy/swoopy sideburn variation is popular to a very small demographic of facial hair enthusiasts. For you ladies, those who rock it are a special breed: namely huge nerdwads with no lives. If you see this, stay away. Or jump on his sweet, sweet nerd bod and get it on with him to the sound of the Firefly theme song stuck on repeat.
Examples: Vulcans, my next Halloween costume
And yes, Shannon, this was the facial hair post I promised you back in, like, April.