Before the Academy Awards show arrives, let’s see a show of hands: am I the only one tired of grungy-faced men who think they look sexy?
Yeah, I know it was originally supposed to suggest a tousled just-woke-up casualness, as if a man had only moments ago tumbled out of bed shirtless and in boxer shorts. But today the five o’clock shadow has elbowed its way into any event with a red carpet, and attacked random men in tuxedoes. Oh, please! Let the fad die.
I have no problem with a well-trimmed beard, goatee, mustache, or soul patch – but celebrity scruff? No. To me it’s acceptable for an actor to employ a grubby face only as a screen character, like Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, but I am annoyed when he shows up for a TV interview looking like an old prospector. I think awards presenters are exhibiting rebelliousness, or lack of respect, to think they can sync “unkempt” with a black tie.
My theory is that insecure men want to emulate heartthrobs, and distractingly gorgeous men want to see how far they can push their fans’ loyalty. Ordinary men think this applies to them as well.
Did you know it’s possible for a man to watch videos showing how to shave the underside of his chin and the hollow of his cheek (using the proper gels, of course)? And that there are websites to help him find doctors who will do facial hair implants? It takes a lot of work to look like you forgot to shave.
Are you shaking your head yet? I am.
OK, Hollywood: stop the madness. Hire a research consultant or someone old enough to know that “5:00 o’clock shadow” came from an era when men shaved before going to work – and wore sandpapery whiskers by the time they headed home. Real men didn’t preen over a face full of stubble before leaving the bathroom to appear in public. They got a close shave and drew women near enough to prove it.
Time to move on, Hollywood. If Don Johnson can annul his first two marriages and divorce his third wife, why can’t other men be brave enough to let go of designer stubble? After all, Sonny Crockett’s vice died in Miami in 1989. May it rest in peace.