Facial Hair—As Seen on TV

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As someone who was facial-hair free for the first two decades of his life and has occasionally re-embraced that appearance (often without intending to do so, but that’s a story for another time), I certainly wouldn’t dismiss anyone from going after a nice, clean-shaven look. All it takes is the press of a button on your remote control, however, to see that many of today’s TV stars are quite happy to sport a ‘stache, grow a goatee, or cultivate a beard.

Given that my livelihood involves praising and, as often as not, criticizing small-screen programming, this can sometimes prove to be a problem for me, and depending on your viewing habits, it’s possible you’ve experienced this same situation: you watch a show, you see an actor who’s carefully farming his facial hair, and you find yourself thinking, “Say I wonder if *I* could pull that off…”

Unless you’ve got a professional stylist in your corner, the probable answer is, “No, you can’t,” but there are certain styles that still continue to breed amongst the general public as a result of having gotten significant television exposure.

Here are just a few:

· The Obsequious Interviewer’s Beard. It’s a given that you should be well-versed in movie trivia if you decide to adopt this look, but the most important procedure surrounding this beard is regular conditioning, as you will find yourself stroking it in a contemplative manner whenever anyone is speaking to you. Nobody likes beardruff. (You know, dandruff of the beard…?)

· The Reality-Show Beard. Yes, it’s scraggly. If you’re trying to survive for some reason or find yourself in a race that one might choose to describe as amazing, then you’re not going to have time to keep it neat and trim. Still, it has a certain rugged charm to it. NOTE: This beard is only included under the presumption that, at some point, you’ll want to tighten it up a bit…and when you do, might I suggest – particularly as a result of contractual obligation – that you might consider using Gillette products? I hear good things about the Gillette Fusion ProGlide…

Gillette TV· The Alternate-Universe Goatee. It’s a longstanding staple of science fiction television that, should a show’s characters ever find themselves in an alternate universe where everyone has a counterpart; the counterpart of one of the clean-shaven male characters will sport a goatee. Growing one of these is an instant opportunity to do things different from the way you ordinarily would, and it also provides you with an instant out: just shave and say, “That wasn’t me! It must have been my counterpart from that other universe!” Works every time.

· The Bad-Ass Cop Scruff. You have to walk a very fine line to be able to get this just right, because if you’re not careful, you might find yourself with the better part of a beard before you know it. In addition, a nice-looking wardrobe goes a long way, as raggedy clothes will transform a bad-ass into a bum in most people’s eyes. Lastly, those who aren’t fond of sunglasses will need to practice their steely stare to accomplish maximum bad-assery.

· The Hawaiian Private Investigator ‘Stache. When it comes to TV-inspired facial hair, this is the trickiest of all looks, not to mention the most expensive, as you not only have to be able to look good wearing Hawaiian shirts, but you also have to be able to afford to drive a Ferrari 308 GTS. To date, only one man has ever successfully pulled this off. I can’t quite recall his name, though. I want to say it might be Thomas something…

As noted, these are just a few of the facial-hair looks that you can find up and down your TV dial…if, y’know, your TV happens to be thirty years old and still has a dial…but whether you choose one of these looks or go for something from a different realm altogether, be aware that your results will vary wildly. Just because you can reproduce the beard, goatee, or ‘stache down to the last whisker doesn’t mean that it’s going to look the same on you as it does on them, so once you’ve shaved it into what you perceive to be perfection, examine your new look and treat it like a network executive looking at a TV pilot. Ask yourself, “Do I deserve to be picked up or passed over?” If it’s the latter, then you know what you need to do: wipe the slate clean and start again from scratch.

Hey, that’s show biz!


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