An Open Letter from Alexa Day to Some Men with Razor Allergies

Michonne is about to offer Rick a choice: "You shave it or I will."

Michonne is about to offer Rick a choice: “You shave it or I will.”

Gentlemen:

I know you don’t necessarily like to talk about it, but I can tell you’re paying attention to the latest in men’s style. You might not be walking around in the newest runway looks (and thank you for not doing that), but no one wants to look like they’re stuck in the grunge era. I know the idea is for you to look like your most authentic selves, even as you’re taking cues from the tastemakers out there.

I’m presuming this is where all the beards are coming from. The beard is hot right now. There’s a lot to be said for the beard. Once it’s … well … established, it promises the right woman (or maybe just a bold woman) a lush, soft, wonderful sensory experience. It’s possible that I myself have rubbed my very own face against a bearded cheek once or twice and been all the happier for it.

Hey, girl. Raffi Asdourian took this picture to show you how the beard is done.

Hey, girl. Raffi Asdourian took this picture to show you how the beard is done.

And of course, as the beard is taking hold of your faces, we ladies get to enjoy the various stages of wiry, sandpapery goodness. All of that is delightful. That sound it makes under your hand, the bad boy appeal of it, the exfoliating effect it has on our faces — I’m not going to complain about that. A healthy start on a beard also makes you look just a little older. Not that you guys care, but that shadow of a beard is the only thing that makes Zac Efron look old enough to handle the things some of us want to do with (and to) him. You understand.

But it’s time for some of you to shave. It’s past time, honestly.

I’m not talking to those of you who have taken the beard to an artful extreme. I’ve seen the men who have cultivated their facial hair the way a designer shapes a topiary, with the mustachioes and the handlebars and the tendrils that spell out words. That sort of look takes effort. There’s the attention to the hair itself, and then there’s even more work to make the designs come to life. Those guys are working at that look. Nothing about that is casual.

I’m talking to those of you who are using the recent beard trend as an excuse to stop shaving. You guys need to stop with that.

I can only imagine how much easier it is to get through life without shaving your faces. But you guys are hiding your faces behind a shapeless mass of hair. You don’t look like you’ve invested time, effort and product into a luxuriant, touchable, work-appropriate symbol of masculinity. You look like you don’t have access to running water. You look like you’ve stopped caring. That’s not what the beard trend is all about.

The well grown beard accentuates the shape of a man’s jaw. It makes his lower lip look full and tempting. It sets off the color of his eyes. In short, it should make us want to touch you.

Ben's got a lovely frame around that trademark smirk of his.

Ben’s got a lovely frame around that trademark smirk of his.

If you look like Rick Grimes during the worst of the zombie apocalypse, or like Brad Pitt during his flirtation with homeless chic, women will by and large try to avoid you. Sure, there’s a whole mystique built up around civilizing the wild human male. I get it. But for the most part, we want you to give us a head start and get that beard under control.

So would you look in the mirror, please? Be ruthless. Ask yourself if you need to shave that.

Or check out how the rest of humanity is looking at you. Are we glancing at you shyly and then looking away? Are we gazing at that face and stroking our own cheeks? Or are we staring at the floor and quickening our pace?

And then shave if you have to. Hey, right after Rick shaved (hello, during zombie apocalypse), someone popped up to offer him a haircut. You gonna argue with that?

You’re welcome.

All the best,

Alexa Day

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8 thoughts on “An Open Letter from Alexa Day to Some Men with Razor Allergies

  1. You make me laugh, Alexa. “…(T)he exfoliating effect (the growing-in beard) has on our faces….” 🙂 As I’ve been married to a bearded man for several, uh, decades (winces), I can vouch for every one of your points! Every now and then he decides to go beardless, and I say, “Nooooo! Grow it back!”

    • Yeah, he doesn’t get to shave that now. That’s a radical change! Unless you want to come up with a permit system with an application so you know in advance. That’s something people do in long, healthy marriages, right? 🙂

  2. Yeah, not a fan of the beard. It can be nice to look at, if groomed properly, but I’m not a fan. Funny because my dad has had a beard as long as I’ve known him. This article was hilarious, Alexa and I had to share several times. 🙂

    • When I was a little girl, my father actually shaved his off because I wouldn’t hug him! It was very prickly, as I recall. I feel awful about that, after all this time. I’d like to think I’m a little less hard-line, but … I can’t think of a way to finish this sentence. 🙂

      Thanks for spreading the word! Some of these dudes need to rediscover the razor.

  3. Great article, Alexa! You are my “tell it like it is” heroine! I am a big fan of facial hair IF it’s obviously cared for. Guys! Make a commitment to your beard and groom accordingly. The whole, barely there thing just makes me a bit crazy. Either grow a beard or shave it off! And if you have a beard, don’t let it go all ZZTop wild either. Shape and trim. Keep tellin’ it like it be, Alexa!

    • You raise a point that I should have included in the letter: it’s important to know when to let it go. I mean, it’s never going to happen for some guys, and that has to be okay, too. The patchy, uneven look is awkward for everyone.

      Shape and trim is right! I met some competition beardfolks when I was bartending, and one of them told me a beard should be more difficult — possibly much more — than not having facial hair at all. That sounds about right to me!

  4. I’m with Denise – my husband is not allowed to shave off his mustache – after forty years I wouldn’t know him. (Hmmmm, that might not be a bad idea after all.)

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