Josh Brolin beard

photo: Getty

I am often told by friends and lovers that I have strange taste in men. In the boy department, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin easily rank in my top 15. You can have Drake and Kanye and that buff guy with the cat face who may or may not love Miley Cyrus. I prefer a disheveled hunk of man whose face I can climb like Mount Everest. Or, in the words of a friend who prefers partners of a more feminine variety, a man that “looks like he smells like woodsmoke and wants to hurt me.” Yes indeed.

I am in good company in my love for hairy gentlemen. We have Ke$ha on our team, obviously, but there’s also Daenerys Targaryen, Angelina Jolie, Betty Draper, Disney Princess Belle, and anyone that had a confusing attraction to Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (to see Tom Hardy in his full craggly, slurring glory, check out the unbelievably violent Lawless). Ke$ha seriously gets me, you guys.

But let’s backtrack. I was in high school when I became aware of man-scaping. Maybe it’s because men between the ages of fifteen and nineteen rocking a full beard were generally in the minority, and felt self-conscious about their luscious chin locks in a sea of smooth cheeked prom kings. Or, maybe we can blame the still-popular-in-2006 Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch for featuring manboys as smooth as marble statues on their iconic blue and white shopping bags. Or deep V tees. It was too early for Justin Bieber to be influencing the loins of my female contemporaries, but something in the water made all my teen love interests shave. Everything. I am all for fighting a double standard and grooming as you want to see groomed, but what can I say? I love me some man hair.

photo: Wenn

photo: Wenn

If you’re going to be with a man, be with a man. When I graduated, I tore my eyes from hairless rock stars and set them on the likes of Jon Hamm and Henry Cavill (yes, he shaved for Man of Steel but have you seen his chest?)

Face scruff is the masculine equivalent of almost universally flattering long chestnut hair extensions for women. Weak chin? Beard. Baby face? Beard. Not being taken seriously at work? Beard.

And, like long, freshly washed hair is kryptonite for dudes, ladies love beards. I’m not saying I am always rendered speechless and stupid by a well coifed mug. HOWEVER, throw a puppy or a small child in those hairy arms, maybe add a flannel and a few splinters of wood in that beard from the pile he just chopped down himself, and lord help me if my feminist heart doesn’t just go all to butter.

I can’t even rank beards in order of hotness. They are like jewelry for women, so personal and identifying. Rocking the full metal Viking beard screams of confidence, and valor, and a man that enjoys stout beers, smoking pot, and women that can fill out a 1950s wiggle dress. Unkempt beards say, “I am so full of the manly spirit that I pull off questionable facial hair, and also ironic denim wear.” An accessorized beard ala Khal Drogo is best paired with some kind of royal warrior title, or, at the very least, lots of rum. Scruffy men are the wild cards that could be anything from GQ subscribers to heartbreakers on parole. Beards are the windows to the soul!

“But, Mandie,” you say. “My man friend just can’t wear a beard. We live in sweltering Florida, and he’s in the military, and it tickles my nose, and he gets cat hair stuck in it.” There is a solution.

Chest hair.

Yes, the second sweater. Sure, there are limits to the places male body hair should go. But, let’s say your life is in danger. Do you turn to the Timberlake lookalike in a too-tight suit, clean shaven face, and blonde locks? Or the rugged hunk of man who can keep you warm purely with the majestic force of his chest fur. THE SECOND ONE.

Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief, photo: Wenn

Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief, photo: Wenn

Beards, like nerdy spectacles, are trendy. But chest hair cannot be faked or tamed into submission. You men that suffered in high school locker rooms for your majestic pelts, let them be free! The world is full of strange girls that watched too many Cary Grant movies in their formative years and are now suckers for fur. Neck scruff is also totally having a moment. Look at model Ricki Hall.

The Don Drapers and Alcides of the world do not have time to minimize their glorious man forests for the sake of vanity. They are too busy creating groundbreaking ads and terrorizing vampires and generally sexing up blondes. A voracious chest forest says I am a man and I have no time for your shenanigans.

I imagine, as a man, not shaving every day would be desirable. Again, more important things to do. However, to truly be a weapon of sex and power, a beard (and neck scruff) must be well maintained. A well groomed beard proves that (A) the man in question has some innate sense of style (the line between religious person and hipster is not so visually distinct) and (B) probably possesses a collection of painfully hip grooming products. These bespoke pomades and implements include beard conditioner, old-timey straight razors, and moustache wax. A man who appreciates good packaging AND can tackle a bear? Yes please. Include a pit bull and I’m yours forever.

In summation, big hair is back. Just look at Cara Delevigne’s eyebrows. If women have liberated themselves from the toils of tweezing, let’s make 2014 be the year of the hairy man. Together, we can teach the world to love the hair.

Who’s with me?