by Brian Clarey

1. The woodsman

Somewhere along the line, the Triad became a region of thoughtful, bearded men. They’re everywhere. Most of them favor the woodsman, which is just your regular, average face covering. TCB columnist Jeff Laughlin sports the woodsman, as does about 40 percent of the area’s hipster population.

2. The weekender

No, not the curated list of events we send out via email every week (see for details). I’m talking about the beard that comes when you just stop shaving for a couple of days. Whether it’s deliberate or just lazy, the weekender is rugged, low maintenance and adds texture to the face. This one used to be called the “George Michael,” until the dude kept getting arrested for anonymous public sex. It’s worn by everyone from strip-club DJs to city councilmen (looking at you, Mike Barber), and is the easiest beard to grow and maintain.

3. The Ming the Merciless

You might think that the Ming is not actually a beard, but is in fact a Fu Manchu mustache grown down past the chin. But if you watch the footage of the 1980 sleeper Flash Gordon, you’ll note that the evil emperor of the universe has a chin element to his facial hair, grown long and styled into a twin fork. You can find this one on some of the afternoon drinkers on Walker Avenue.

4. The goatee

Just don’t.

5. The chin-strap

Unlike some beards, the chin-strap serves a purpose: to simulate a jawline on a contourless face. If you’ve got a mug like a pie, then the chin-strap might be for you. It’s most prevalent in nightclubs, Walmart and any restaurant that has an all-you-can-eat special.

6. The neck beard

I have never seen anyone wear the neck beard, in which you just shave the chin and cheeks and let the rest go wild, outside of a university setting — except for that one guy at the market in Sticks & Stones’ parking lot on Saturdays.

7. The subtle strip

You might not know it to look at me, but I am a bearded man. Technically, anyway. Off and on since I was bout 19 years old, I’ve worn a small patch of facial hair underneath my lower lip — I refuse to call it a “soul patch,” though I didn’t always feel this way. It started as a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan — I was 19, remember. The patch is kind of gray now, so you can barely see it. But I know it’s there.

8. The wildman

It take a minimum two years of shaving abstinence to achieve a full wildman, which is basically just a foot or more of hair growing from your face. Not everyone can pull this one off, but a lot of guys around here are giving it a shot. Andrew Dudek, of the NC Beard & Moustache Club, may be the patron saint of the wildman, but it’s attainable by anyone willing to suffer through the itchiest phase of beard growing..

9. The dandy wookiee

If you want the masculine cachet of a big beard, but you don’t want to look like a full-on yeti, you might want to sculpt it a bit with the clippers and scissors to give it some shape. It’s an understandable impulse. But it makes you a dandy wookiee. You might as well tie a pretty ribbon in your whiskers.


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