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"Some beards are grown for charity and some for fancy dress …"

If you have a goatee, shave it off. It doesn't matter if you've had it for years, it just has to go. Can you remember the last time you saw a goatee and thought to yourself, "Hey, that really looks distinguished and I sure wish I had thought of that"? No. You really can't remember that moment. The last time you had a thought like that, you were wearing pleated trousers.

Nope, this is the year of the beard. You want a beard. You want a full, luxurious beard so thick and furry that the only way to adorn it is with pretzel crumbs and twigs. There are several reasons you want a beard this year and they are as follows:

1. Every rock 'n roll hero has gone through a pensive period when the only way to convince their fans that they really meant what they were working on was to let go and devote more energy to their music than their grooming, meaning necessarily that George Michael and The Backstreet Boys did not grow beards. (Don't let groomed and sculpted facial hair fool you. Those weren't beards. They were face-framing beauty aids, working in the same context as foundation and blush. No, those weren't beards at all.) Beards are for Pete Townshend, Dave Grohl, Ted Nugent and even that guy from Built to Spill. Beards are serious business.

2. A furry face is a warm face and a warm face gets results. Do you know what Santa looks like without a beard? He looks powerless. A beardless Santa couldn't make a reindeer roll out a meager marshmallow of a poop after a full bale of alfalfa, much less make it fly. Without a beard, Paul Bunyan's big blue ox is small and dun, more suited to plowing a community garden than clear-cutting forests. So, craftsman and woodsman both know that a beard can enchant animals and give them other-worldly powers.

3. Women supposedly don't like beards. Who gives a shit?

4. The last time you were in touch with the animal you truly are, you were cutting your fingernails. Well, hopefully you were cutting your fingernails and not paying somebody else to do it. While a warm furry face can enchant animals, it can also prove fearsome to other humans. Many Arabs are required to grow beards. Many Jews are required to grow beards as well. Middle-eastern people grow beards. It's the only cool thing they do.

5. Chief Brody killed the shark in Jaws but he didn't get in the water with the shark - Hooper did. Hooper got in the water with the shark and miraculously managed to live. The beard probably saved Hooper's life in the movie but in all fairness, Hooper kills the shark in the book. Depending on which version you choose to follow, beards either protect us from sharks or kill them outright.

Don't cheat yourself out of the opportunity to announce yourself this year with a beard. Make that impression. Look confidently into the eyes of friends, co-workers, family and lovers and know that they are picturing you whaling the frozen waters of the arctic, battling hobgoblins with a broadsword, parading the steppes of central Asia on a worthy charger, solving the riddles of the split atom or just simply hunting through briar patches in search of quail eggs in your free time.

(Please take careful note that a beard does not begin or belong in your ears, on your back or emanating from your nose. You will still have to take care of those areas as there will never be a calendar year when those hairs will be acceptable.)

-William Cadillac Donovan

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