Book Review: The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face

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Our introduction to Dr. Allan Peterkin happened a few months ago when we were lucky enough to interview the physician, author and professor and ask him several semi-serious questions about being a man with facial hair; the pitfalls, the perks, the women… ahhhh, the women.

“The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face” piqued my interest in being a man again. Since the divorce, the flame had certainly flickered. I got my hands on a copy and the book is fantastic. It is the de facto quick reference guide on personal style in relation to facial hair ever created, and I am including “The Bible” in that generalization as well.

Dr. Allan Peterkin and Nick (side) Burns toe the line between tongue and cheek humor and historical analysis beautifully. You didn’t know a beard could be “historically analyzed,” did you? Read on, young brother.

The book is an easy read, weighing in at 142 pages comprised of five chapters. But so much ground is covered effortlessly that it could easily be 500 pages. In terms of usefulness, it could be 700 hundred pages. In terms of making you a better “beardsman,” it could be 1,000,000 pages; imagine the size of that book.

“The Bearded Gentleman” opens by addressing the age old question about beard growth in chapter one, “Should I Shave or Should I Grow?” It also attacks myths associated with beards and shaving head-on, leaving the reader with an authoritative answer on things we want to know, but forgot we wanted to know them.

Then, if we were to remember that we wanted to know them, we’d most certainly forget when being in the physical presence of a man with that breadth of knowledge, a man like Dr. Peterkin.

For instance, the number one myth about facial hair and styling is that shaving more actually makes hair grow faster or thicker. In fact, it does not have either effect owing to the fact that, “Facial hair is dead. It just seems thicker when it’s short. When you shave a hair, a once fine point becomes a blunt end, which feels thicker to the touch.”

Aren’t much for the book learnin’ Cletus? Well, calm down, fella. There are 50-plus pages detailing every style of facial hair you can think of, with pictures.

The weird shit that hipster was rocking on his facial canvas when you were in line at the post office the other day? Yeah, there’s a name for that. It’s called the “Garibaldi Beard.” From the “Freddie Mercury” to the “The French Fork,” there are images of each, alongside descriptions of how to achieve the look.

The book also addresses the social stigma associated with facial hair and what is socially acceptable in a classic Q&A format. For example, “Both my dad and my dentist now have goatees. Should I shave mine off?”

“The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face” is the perfect gift for the man in your life, or your mother-in-law who rocks a grey-haired goatee and is seemingly oblivious to it, though it makes everyone else around her so uncomfortable, they can’t even stand to look at her.

To order the book, click here. To write Dr. Peterkin a “Lust Letter,” check out his site here.

  

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Interview with Champion Beardsman Jack Passion

Former rock musician and current author and entrepreneur Jack Passion has been making an admirable living off of something most men actively remove from themselves on a semi-daily basis. Author of “The Facial Hair Handbook” and multiple world champion “beardsman” in the “Full Beard, Natural” category, Passion is a star of the IFC television series “Whisker Wars” and was most recently featured in Morgan Spurlock‘s new documentary “Mansome,” executive produced by Ben Silverman, Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. I recently got the chance to briefly interview Passion via email.

Ezra Stead: First of all, and I’m sure you get this all the time, how long did it take you to grow your beard to such length and fullness?

Jack Passion: I’ve had this beard for almost exactly nine years. I keep it trimmed, but this length would probably take 3-4 years to achieve. My book’s first law is “Healthy Man, Healthy Beard,” and I attribute the thickness of my beard all to my diet and health. I also take VitaBeard, the beard vitamin, which is very easy and helps quite a bit.

ES: Would you ever consider styling it in some weird, unique way, in order to compete in “Full Beard, Groomed” categories, as opposed to “Full Beard, Natural”?

JP: I have done styled categories in the past. I already look silly enough as it is, and the products required for those designs ruin the hair. When you see the German beard-styling masters with their beards un-styled, the beards don’t look great. I view the beard as a natural thing, and so I like to present it naturally and care for it naturally.

ES: My beard doesn’t seem to grow past about two inches. Are there any special techniques or products you’ve used to encourage yours, or is it pretty much all genetic?

JP: A lot of it’s genetic, but facial hair changes a great deal as you get older, so don’t give up hope! I mentioned VitaBeard, which has really changed the way I grow facial hair for the better, but I would also recommend waiting, as your beard grows in cycles. In your case, maybe it’ll plateau at two inches for several months before starting to grow again.

ES:How did you get involved with the documentary “Mansome”?

JP: I wrote a book called “The Facial Hair Handbook” and had won a few world titles in beard competitions, so when Morgan Spurlock’s team needed a beard, they came to me.

ES: Why did you decide to “quit and renounce music”?

JP: This is a long conversation, one that I absolutely love to have, but one that is outside the scope of “Mansome” and male grooming. Perhaps another time?

  

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