“Who is that awesome guy with the neckbeard?”

So I recently moved to a part of Brooklyn just south of über-trendy Williamsburg: epicenter of all that is currently hip as all hell, and will soon be rendered passé when it is adopted by the mainstream.

All this riding of trains with little-straw-hatted, skinny-jeaned hipsters hiding behind classic aviators made me realize that my brief stint in the neighborhood gives me the chance – nay, the REPONSIBILITY – to step across the precipice into that dangerous space of the “fashion forward” and start my own trend for 2009.

But I consider it a reasonably good fashion day if I manage to NOT wear patterns with stripes, or if the color of my shirt somehow syncs up with the accent in the pattern of my shorts. So ME contributing a fashion fad seems unlikely.

So I looked at my other options for fads. What to drink? What to do on a Sunday? No, think more personal. After ruling out “pubic topiary” and tongue tattoos, a stroke of genius hit me… Let’s bring back the neckbeard!!

After a few beers with Clight and some friends, the idea sounded even better, so with this blog I officially announce the return of the neckbeard.

“The return, Irish?” you question disdainfully. Oh, return indeed. The mainstream media and conservative historians may have tried to wipe it out of the annals of the historical record, but the mighty “throatbush” has a proud history atop some of the most famous larynxes of all time.

It’s a little known fact that the now famous chin-strap beard of Abe Lincoln began as one of the mightiest “bushy bowties” that ever there was. Lincoln trimmed the throat (and allowed the sideburns to grow in) only after a poll result (later found to be faked by a mole in the Lincoln camp) suggested that the most trustable part of a man was “the visible protuberance of one’s Adam’s Apple”. Alas, the neckbeard did not, and has never since, made it into the Oval Office.

Then there is the famed bushranger (Americans: read “western outlaw”), Ned Kelly. Often depicted with a full faced beard, this was merely an assumption of the artists of the day, because of the famous steel helmet Kelly wore at his last stand. But the diary of a Glenrowan barmaiden from the previous evening paints a different picture of the national hero’s visage.

“In he strode, the gentleman highwayman, clean-shaven of face, yet woolly of throat, and all of the womenfolk did swoon. I felt a flutter inside me that no other sight has ever brought upon me. Oh, heavens, those whiskers.”

In more modern times, George Clooney went into a stalemate with a Hollywood studio about a film which set him on a desert island without rescue for many weeks. Instead of the traditional “Grizzly Adams”, Clooney wanted to play the role in a splendid neckbeard – his character keeping the face shaven with a clam shell sharpened on a rock, but letting the neck grow wild.

Sadly, Clooney’s style & class was stifled by the conservativism of the studio execs who said that the “homegrown turtleneck” did not test well with focus groups. The parties reached an impasse and the film went ahead with Tom Hanks as lead. Clooney’s role was played by a volleyball.

So, there you have it guys. Presidents. Tough guys. Hollywood superstars. Be inspired!!!

Go. Grow. But let your face show.


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