Sunday, July 10, 2011

adventures in facial hair

Most people who know me know I have a penchant for growing facial hair, and luckily, it's something that as man, I'm not too bad at. I grew my first beard during my senior year of high school -- it was an Abe Lincoln-style chinstrap. It's barely visible in this photo:

Who are these kids? At the time we were collectively known as the Manhattan Project. This was taken during the recording of our terribly mixed album, The Night Was Sultry (a high five to the person who can tell me what movie that is from -- no Googling).

It wasn't until the mid-'00s that I dared growing a full beard.

This wasn't my first beard but it's from that first beard era. Notice the matching bass guitar (christened the Bumble Bass) and bass drum.

A year or two later I ended up attending a college with a strict honor code that severely limited my facial hair options. But the honor code didn't prohibit all types of facial hair; it did leave me with one option: the mustache.

Here I am with Jeremy Enigk (on the left), one of my musical heroes, at a show in Pocatello, Idaho, of all places. I forget the dude's name on the right (Jeremy's guitarist for that tour).

I started growing the mustache as a joke. But after some time it grew on me (get it?!) and I began to legitimately like it. I remember getting so many compliments from guys, "Dude, awesome mustache!" To which, my response never varied, "Thanks, why don't you grow one?" "Oh, I can't grow a mustache," or, "I could never pull it off like you."

I posted this photo on and my good buddy Jeff (light blue t-shirt in the top photo) left the following comment, "It looks like you're having a vision of the day when everyone has mustaches... and you're liking it... a lot." From my Colorado days. I miss that hair.

Now, I understand that some men out there, bless their hearts, cannot grow facial hair. To these men I extend my sympathy: you're missing out. But to the latter, those who can and have wanted to, but are scared because they "could never pull it off," I extend this invitation: just try it. Maybe you can't pull it off, but you won't know till you try. (You might look like an idiot or chi-mo for a few days, but at least you'll know.) If you're worried about what others think, if you're worried what girls will think, remember this: if someone is judging you by a piece of transitory facial hair, they're not worth your time (such was the wisdom imparted to me by a fellow mustachioed student when I lacked mustache confidence).

One of the greatest things I acquired from adhering to the BYU-Idaho honor code was a deep love for the mustache (which, I admit, was not the intended effect of said honor code).

In closing, one of my favorite beards (circa 2008), and one of my favorite people.


  1. every beard i see is like a tall drink of water after spending time in the droughted (yes, droughted) land of Provo, Utah. i appreciate any blog post (or anything for that matter) that pays homage to something i love so dearly.

  2. Throw Mama From the Train. Though I was there for said recording, so I don't know if that's cheating.

    Also I'm one of those who can't grow a full beard. I have two blank spots the size of 50 cent pieces, one on each cheek. Maybe someday I'll be as manly as you.

  3. Beard brother!

  4. r. -- I. love. your. comments.

    Katie -- Beard card! (That just seemed like an appropriate exclamation.)

    Danny -- You still win. I've procrastinated it for so long, I need to make a trip to Austin.

    Trevor -- I have admired and been inspired by Denton facial hair for years. Thank you.

  5. After growing a beard for the first time this year, I'm not sure a razor will ever touch my face again. I think the Jews were on to something.

  6. i just love this. all of it. and hopefully you always know of the love i have for your facial hair. people need to learn how to embrace mustaches and i'm pretty sure you're the perfect man for the job to get them there!