Stubble Is Trouble

Oct 18

JustinStubbleOscarsI hate this stubble thing. At the Oscars and all trillion other award ceremonies, good-looking guys like Justin Timberlake look like they’ved been marrooned on a desert island — for a very short period of time — then plunked into their tuxes before they had a chance to shave.

Am I the only one who doesn’t like the look? Please say no.

All the stars are into it: indeed, they wear it like a badge of honor, and aren’t considered cool if they’re clean shaven. A beard is okay too, sort of. (There is a fine line here.) But a silky smooth and totally hairless face is so out.

We’re talking about men, here.

I think we can safely say that women should always be stubble free. There are products for that, girlfriend. Or circus sideshows if you need employment. And even Angelina Jolie would lose some of her luster if she sported a five o’clock shadow.


ClooneyStubbleBut it’s fine for Brad, not to mention Leonardo, Colin, Jude, Justin, Johnny, or the Georges, Clooney or Nicholson. There must be a Hollywood hunk out there who uses a razor regularly, but I can’t think of one. Can you?

Some men — mad or not — like dishy John Hamm, don’t have to work at it. It’s reported that Hamm can sprout stubble while the cameraman is changing the lenses.

But most men have to work hard to achieve the permanent stubble look. I always wondered how. And why. Because I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. It looks dirty to me, and worse than that, it’s neither here nor there. I like a man’s face to be here, preferably, but I can live with there as well. I just like to know where I stand.
A prominent stylist is quoted in the NYT as saying. “Stubble is always in fashion, especially now going into the colder months.”

Really? Always?.”Since when? How old is this stylst?

Hasn’t he ever heard of the famous barroom ditty . . . SHAVING CREAM?



It goes like this:

“I have a sad story to tell you
It may hurt your feelings a bit
Last night when I walked into my bathroom
I stepped in a big pile of ..





shhhhh . . . aving cream,
be nice and clean. . . .
Shave ev’ry day and you’ll always look keen


The song was written by Benny Bell in 1946, popularized by Dr. Demento in the 70s and “covered” by no less than Weird Al Yankovic. Although innumerable versions are still sung drunkenly in saloons across the land, I guess no one believes the words any more.

Oh well. All things must pass, in the words of George Harrision, the Bible, and my Aunt Loretta. And like it or not, clean cut is out and stubble is in— I mean really In. The Times ran a very thoughtful and un-ironic article about what a guy has to do to achieve this look. If you thought that only women jumped through hoops to stay in fashion, listen up:

Some guys achieve the stubble look by careful timing. They figure out which date is most important for them to look stylish on, then, unless they’re Jon Hamm, they shave 2 or 3 days before the big event. But that’s not all: they have to remember to clean around the edges because, as a stylist who works for Conair says, “Neck scrub is a no-no.”

Wait a minute. Where did all these men’s stylists come from? Is the male of the specials becoming as much a slave to fashion as women? And what’s Conair got to do got to do with it?


Only that they manufacture stubble trimmers, not beard trimmers, designed to reduce facial hair — but god forfend not get rid of it — to a mere shadow. One product is called the I-Stubble.

I stubble, you stubble, we all stubble. How about a phone instead.

And if you don’t care for Conair, there are other manufactures, like Wahl and Norelco with similar products. They seem to cost about $60 bucks or less, so it won’t break the bank. But it takes time and thought to enter the world of stubbledom..

Because like many fashion trends, it’s harder to look as if you’re not trying than it does to look like you are. You shouldn’t come across as too neat or clean. Or “keen” even.

I still don’t get it.

So I ask again, and I’m pleading here, folks: Am I the only one who finds this look cloying, annoying, and photo destroying.

Is it time for the clean cut to quit?
Or have we all stepped in a big bucket of . . .

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