This is rather Pittsburgh-centric as it was originally published in the April 2013 issue of Queerburgher. Just know that Shadyside = Chelsea = West Hollywood = anyplace upper class and queer).
I went to the Jeff Mangum show in Oakland a few weeks back. It was real good. There were lots of dudes there, and 75% of them had beards. I joked to my friend that the evening’s must-have accessories were a beard and a girlfriend. I wondered if, in some cases, their girlfriends were their beards.
We have no way of knowing these things. But objectively speaking – and also speaking in an objectifying manner – many of them were utterly fuckable. Beards are sexy. I have a beard, because I think it makes me look sexy. But in these modern times when facial hair in the GLBT and hipster community is rampant, it’s important to appreciate the sexiness of the shorn man.
You will find many of these men in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. In fact, you might even say that in Shadyside, this type of man runs rampant, like a herd of hairless cattle in Nylon running shorts, charging down Walnut Street and smashing into the windows of the Apple store.
We’re generalizing here, a lot, so let’s continue with that and just say that there’s a Shadyside man, a metrosexual sort of fellow who actually does spend fifty dollars on a t-shirt, for some reason. This man, be he queer or unqueer, probably works out at a gym. He probably has Craigslist Missed Connections written about him being at the gym, by a guy who looks like a gayer version of him. He takes pride in his appearance. He spends a lot of money on it. He primps and preens. He’s sexy and he knows it.
And, he shaves. His face. His chest. His neck, his back – perhaps even his pussy and his crack. He takes on traditionally feminine characteristics. He emasculates. And god help me, there is something that is just so sexy about that.
I mean, I get the appeal of the overgrown man. The man who is self-assured, confident. Manly. The man who doesn’t care; who knows you’re going to be attracted to him and is going to do whatever he wants to you. He holds the cards. He holds a big, hairy dick. His chest is a carpet one can curl up upon, like a pussycat on a bearskin rug. But what of a slippery lady-man, with skin that is oh-so smooth, stroke-able and poke-able? What of two-day stubble, the ritual of shearing and regrowth, the lushness of rich creamy lather whisked away by the steely edge of a blade? What, I ask you, of Daniel Craig?
We may judge the men of Shadyside for their consumerist tendencies. For isn’t it easy to assume that, in a world where everyone is out for your money, people have been sold a look and a lifestyle that requires them to deny their primate heritage and purchase products (such as razors, Nair and anal bleaching treatments) so that they might conform to a certain look? Perhaps, but we all make choices and concessions in this life. We are all doing our best in our little slices of corporate hegemony.
And besides, passing judgement is for the birds. Let us merely raise our glass to the men of Shadyside for all that they do to make themselves beautiful, and remind them – and ourselves – that there is nothing quite like the sensation of a beard rubbing against a shorn taint.