Monday, March 15, 2010

Epic Beard Man "is epitome of manliness"?

This is some beard-based culture courtesy of some California connections.

The latest YouTube sensation goes by many names -- Thomas Bruso, Tom Slick, Epic Beard Man, Motherfucker.  The original video of his "epic AC transit fight" currently has 4,052,036 views, and the spin-offs - AmberLamps, the "scenes you missed," the exit interviews -- multiply the meme.  It's a video of a fight between a 67 year old white man and a 50 year old black man on a transit bus in Oakland.  The dispute began with an argument over shoe-shining and ended in fists of surprising fury.  See original video here, or check out one of the many news stories and analysis of the meme.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sexy beard binge

A guy -- we'll call him a friend of mine, because he's a good kid, even though I'm not sure we were ever in touch enough to have fallen out of touch -- anyway, a friend of mine, and the first bearded dude tactilely present in my life, was of a generous nature.  He and his roommate hosted many hours of my ST:TNG binges in their room, and he shared his contraband bread loaves more often than he impressed me with his command of the Klingon language (bIjatlh 'e' yImev, haters).  Anyway, he also made me a trustee of his beard, and promised that I could pretend it was mine as often as I want.  And, while the possibility of having a beard surrogate was never fully realized (after all, I couldn't stroke it thoughtfully when I was studying, especially when he was three buildings over), I remember thinking, wow, that's a friend.

Well, sir, you have now been eclipsed.  I have accumulated friends who can feed me beard-related information.
Biggest props go to Kaelin, who published this article about Sean M. Johnson's Beardlove series (there are two).  He's addresses the bear subculture's valorization of "natural" masculinity much more articulately than I have.  Check out this synopsis: "Bears seek to resist and side-step homonormative beauty standards—characterized by smooth, gym-toned bodies—as well as heteronormative assumptions about gay men’s masculinity (or supposed lack thereof)."   Anyway, a great piece about the "productive friction" of  "subversive and troublingly essentialist ways of “feeling” masculine," and my first peek at fellow beard-fetishist/ gender ponderer Sean Johnson.  Kaelin also recommends

Then, Jess.  She's a scientist, so she cut right to the point: a study says that facial hair and geekiness are the two biggest turn-ons for women.

Robert found some evidence that complicated this information.  (Well, his is a from a book published in 1986, citing studies from 1973, so, actually, the two probably don't even overlap.  But go with me here).  This academic examination of "the importance of looks in everyday life" found that, while only 18% of women found beards sexually attractive, they would describe bearded men as "more masculine, mature, good-looking, dominant, self-confident, courageous, likeable, nonconforming, indus­trious, and older than clean-shaven men."  Actually, it contains an entire subsection on beards, so I'm going to tackle that one another night.

To you, friends.